The Google Panda update has really made people stop and take stock of the content on their website. Content for the sake of content is going out the door. What’s now needed is content that grabs a reader’s attention. The term ‘quality’ content is often bandied about – and it’s not a term I’m overly fond off since one persons view of ‘quality’ is going to be entirely different to someone else’s. Perhaps we need a new word to describe content – how about engaging, since that appears to be the most popular type of content.
Do you write engaging content? The kind of content that readers may share with others? That is becoming the benchmark for content now, not how many links your content acquires. Why is ‘sharing’ an important metric? Sharing implies that your content is worthy of being recommended to others, and since people first starting selling way back in the caveman days, recommendations have been the most sort after marketing prize. Search engines like Google have long understood this principle, using links as the recommendation currency. It has taken them some time to find ways of collecting social data (sharing) and incorporating it into the search algorithms.
Google’s Panda update really tried to remove low quality content from search results replacing it with more up-to-date and more ‘engaging’ content. Article directories and similar content farms all took a big hit in search rankings. Sites that had content that was regularly shared appeared to gain boosts in their search positions.
The lesson for all website owners, particularly those who run a business from their website, is to try and produce content that grabs people’s interest. Instead of volume, it will come down to that all important ‘quality’ component – better yet, engaging effect. From a small business SEO perspective, it will be interesting to see if, in twelve months time, the mantra is not publish more content, but publish content less often ensuring it is topical, what readers are looking for, and yes – engaging. How engaging is your content?