by Kelly Googe Lucas, marketing & social media manager
In an effort to keep sites from gaming the search engine optimization (SEO) system, Google announced at SXSW Interactive that it is currently in the process of adjusting its algorithm. Matt Cutts, head of Google’s Webspam team, discussed how the latest tweak will help websites with genuinely good and valuable content rank well. Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land transcribes (and he states it’s not 100% word for word) Matt’s comments for us:
“What about the people optimizing really hard and doing a lot of SEO. We don’t normally pre-announce changes but there is something we are working in the last few months and hope to release it in the next months or few weeks. We are trying to level the playing field a bit. All those people doing, for lack of a better word, over optimization or overly SEO – versus those making great content and a great site. We are trying to make GoogleBot smarter, make our relevance better, and we are also looking for those who abuse it, like too many keywords on a page, or exchange way too many links or go well beyond what you normally expect. We have several engineers on my team working on this right now.”
What all this means is that those websites that over-optimize their SEO in order to rank higher, while offering no worthwhile content, will no longer rank as well as those that perhaps aren’t as optimized but offer content that is truly valuable to the reader.
So does this mean you’ll get penalized if you invest in extra help in search engine optimization? No, not if you are a legitimate business that offers authentic, valuable content that keeps your readers coming back and prompts them to continue clicking within your site. This is about diminishing the rank of link farms and the like, not making it hard for those with good content who also invest in professional assistance with their sites or take the time to cover their SEO bases.
President of Zimrock Marketing, Chris Zimmerman, says that having quality, unique, compelling and useful content will always help your site show up naturally in a search. He also states that when others share your content, a strong social signal is given to Google that your site is worthy of rank. “The emergence of social relevance is also playing a part,” says Chris. “Through the years, many blog networks or ‘farms’ have sprung up allowing bad posted content for the purpose of having back-links. These are the main targets of Google’s actions.” He says that by following the three Es of content – being educational, enlightening and/or entertaining – when sharing with your community, you can build a strong, lasting search rank.