In the 1989 film ‘Field of Dreams’ Kevin Costner’s character was told by a mysterious voice from nowhere that "if you build it, he will come". It seems that Google has taken a leaf out of this book in it’s approach to website ranking.
Google is currently making in the range of 500 changes a year to its search algorithms, first through Google Panda and Penguin and more recently Hummingbird. No one knows exactly what these changes are but Google has been very clear with their intent; they want website ranking to be driven by well-written, authorative and respected content.
What Google wants from you
Google’s search algorithms are ultimately asking 3 important questions about your content: ‘Are pages well written and do they have have substantial, quality copy? Are your pages fresh and about hot topics? Have you made sure your content isn't ‘thin’ or ‘shallow and lacking in substance?’
If you can answer ‘yes to all of these questions, then they will reward you. To paraphrase ‘Field of dreams’, "If you build it, he will come".
What if my content is not well written?
You may have gotten away with poorly researched, badly written, even plagiarised or duplicate content in the past but be warned, your chickens are coming home to roost. Google has made it clear that it’s focus is on building meaningful experiences for site visitors and bounce rates, time spent on sites and individual pages are major ranking factors. If you don’t have a relationship with a good copywriter, now is the time to start looking. Good copywriters are worth their weight in gold, great copywriters are priceless.
What has been will never be again
Many organisations have previously achieved their rankings to what Google now considers ‘Spammy’ ranking techniques, such as purchasing links. Thanks to Google Penguin those days are now over.
What is Google Penguin
Penguin is a part of Google’s overall search algorithm that looks for sites that are deemed to be spamming Google’s search results but somehow still ranking well. Google Penguin focuses on sites that may have purchased paid links.
What should I be focused on with content?
As the golden rule says, ‘Do good to others as you would like good to be done to you’. Be generous with the content you provide on your website. Spend the money to have content written properly. Make sure it’s well researched and beneficial to those reading it. Ask yourself if it makes visiting your site engaging and empowering. Is it enjoyable to read or is it like wading through wet cement? Would I be happy to read this content myself? Am I prepared to come back and learn more about this at a later date? Would I recommend this content to friends and colleagues?’ If you can honestly answer ‘yes’ to these questions, then you’re well on your way to building your ‘Field of dreams’. Google will come and so will those with whom you so desperately want to engage.