If you have taken a look around some of the bulletin boards over the last couple of years, you’ll probably have seen many plaintive cries for help. It seems that Google’s Panda and Penguin updates have hit the rankings of many sites, and they are looking for a “Panda expert” to get them back up onto the first page. It seems they think that they can wave a magic wand, put in some clever keywords and play around with their link profiles – and everything will be okay.
Real World Perspective
In the real world, people want to be entertained, informed and motivated. They don’t want to read three paragraphs of text with the phrase “stainless steel dog dishes” repeated 45 times. This is what the Google updates are really about. According to Google, they are “designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites – sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful.” In other words, Google wants high-quality content, and it is using all its technological muscle to bring that about.
This is not about Google trying to dictate what websites do just because they can. Google’s primary product is a set of links to relevant and useful information, and if they can’t provide that, then they risk becoming irrelevant themselves. So, it’s no use hoping that things will change – Google will continue to put a relentless focus on promoting content that its audience wants.
What does this mean? Well, it doesn’t mean that keywords aren’t important anymore. Google encourages the use of keywords to help it figure out what sites are about, so that they can provide the relevant information that its users want. What it does mean is that you need to focus on producing content that is helpful to your audience, makes them feel interested and keeps them coming back.
Actually, this is really a return to how things used to be before the Internet got going. We never used to sell or get a following by repeating the same poorly written, meaningless phrases over and over, because it’s completely useless. Search technology may have been playing catch-up for too long, and people exploited it as a result, but now we are getting back to fundamentals. You have to be on your game, and if you are, you now have the opportunity to rise above all the garbage and get your message across. That’s a good thing.
Quality Across All Channels
The same thing applies to social media. For example, take a look at videos by Cydcor on YouTube. They don’t talk a lot about their sales outsourcing business, but they do show you their corporate culture, and how they work with charities. They engage you, and make you want to find out more.
The point is this. Rather than focusing exclusively on the mechanics of search engine optimization – and this is still important – think about how you can get your audience to like you and how you can bring them value. You know what your visitors want. If you don’t, then you probably should get an expert to help you find out.