Quality Content Becomes More Influential than Keyword Density for SEO
Google makes several hundred changes to its algorithms for calculating the ranking of the pages it displays in its Search Enquiry Results Pages (SERP) every year. Most of these are small adjustments that most users won’t even notice. Occasionally though, they do make changes that will affect the page rankings in dramatic ways. Recently they have focused on areas that they hope will improve the relevancy of their search results.
One very major change has been that Google, and some of the other search engines like Bing and Yahoo, have downgraded the rating for pages with too many ads. The crawlers are now looking for sites that have a good balance between content and advertising. This will reduce the page ranking of pages that are just crammed with ads and raise the SERP ranking for pages that have information with more value to visitors. Recent upgrades to the Panda Algorithm that was rolled out in 2011 have improved Google’s ability to identify high quality sites. The next development is heading in the direction of examining how the content of pages uses words like synonyms to detect more original content and to weed out the spam filled pages, crammed full of keywords. There is also more of a focus on the content on landing pages, now that crawlers are better able to detect quality content and give it precedence over ads and pushy marketing slogans.
An important change being implemented is an improvement to the freshness update feature, with more stress being given to news and current affairs in the SERP ratings. While some have worried that this will adversely affect the page ranking for much of the ‘evergreen information’ on the web, Google says that just as long as the pages are regularly updated, they will keep their SERP rating for valuable content on the site. The rise in the use of mobile devices, and the increase in the number of searches that have a geographic location as one of their parameters, have put more focus on local searches. This means location keywords will be given further weight in the coming versions of the search algorithms by all of the search engines.
Recently, Google has come under a bit of criticism for giving extra weight to content from Google + as a means of attracting more members to the site. However, the general importance of information on all of the social media sites is being given more consideration by Google now. This can be seen in how it is beginning to affect the SERP rankings. This means that a web page with a large number of Facebook likes or Twitter followers will see an improvement in its SEO to reflect this statistic.
The general direction that this all dictates for good SEO revolves around keeping fresh, high quality content that users value enough to share on the social network sites. The obvious ambition is to reduce the number of pages that have little value. These pages rank well because they have been overstuffed with keywords. Other sites should see an improvement in the relevancy of the SERPs in the coming months. It also means that websites that offer real value to their readers and which are maintained on a regular basis will be the ones that are on the front page of the search results in their niche. As the search engines continue to improve their algorithms for calculating the relevance of pages, it is going to make businesses focus more on their online content. Sites will need to ensure their content is engaging and offers quality information that people are actually looking for in order to keep a good SERP rating.