Produce authentic, original content that provides value to your visitors, or else you may find yourself disappearing completely from the top search results in Google!
Back on May 20th, Google Engineer Matt Cutts announced that their latest algorithm update called Panda 4.0 was “rolling out”. The main focus of this latest update was to make the algorithm better detect true authority, in the sense that many websites will copy content from other sites. And Pando 4.0 is designed to do a better job at detecting the original source of the content.
Search Engine Land did a great write up about the impact of the previous versions of Panda update and how it negatively impacted a website that was producing original, high quality content. While simultaneously, sites that were scraping (copying) content from this authoritative site were still ranking well in the search results.
However, when Pando 4.0 was released, the original source (or site) of the content seemed to have regained all of the losses from the previous update, and the sites that were copying the content fell off the front page of Google.
By all measure, it seems that Google is getting better at detecting not only the original source of content, but also rewarding sites that are producing high quality, authentic content.
So how does this all tie into the #1 SEO mistake that website owners and bloggers are still making today? It really boils down to two things:
#1) SEO’s, website owners, and bloggers are still copying content from other sites, and also from pages within their own sites. I’ve seen several websites over the past year that simply add a new title and new meta data to new pages of content, but then duplicate content from other pages within their site. This is something that simply will not work anymore. And if it is still working for your website, then I’d argue that it’s only a matter of time before the algorithm catches up to your site and starts degrading your authority.
#2) Website owners and bloggers are not focusing on highly quality, informative content production. I still see website owners and bloggers producing content with search engine rankings in mind – not user experience or “visitor value” in mind. Producing content that is not authentic and does not provide any form of intrinsic value, simply will not cut it in today’s age of advanced search engine algorithms. You have to produce content that adds value, because ultimately this is the type of content that people are searching for in Google. If you don’t add value, then Google is getting very good at making the decision to not show your website to those who are searching.
Now, can you still copy content from other authoritative sites or produce content that’s less than stellar? Sure, but you cannot expect to reach the front page of Google, and certainly not the top 3 search results in Google, for any of your targeted keyword phrases. And if you are doing it, and you are getting top search results from it, then I’d argue that you are probably targeting keyword phrases that do not have substantial or competitive search volume anyway.
As SEO’s, website owners, and bloggers, it’s imperative that when we write and produce content, we do so with your audience in mind. Ask yourself the following questions before you hit “publish”:
- If I were the visitor to this page (or post), would I find it valuable?
- Does the content answer a question, solve a problem, or provide authentic insight into a topic?
- Is this content something that other sites would find valuable enough to link to?
If your content answers one of these questions, or a similar type of question, then go ahead and hit publish.
If it doesn’t, and you are simply publishing content to try to game Google’s algorithm, then I’d strongly recommend you find a different strategy.