In the world of the Internet and SEO, a common phrase that is heard everywhere is, “content is king.” When it comes to web site rankings and popularity, accepted content development practices must be followed. Nowhere else does this apply more than on every web page of every web site in existence. This is true because of the massive changes that have taken place in the search engine algorithms that are forcing webmasters and content writers alike to supply only original, relevant content. The famous Panda and Penguin updates that started a few years ago, and now even more algorithm changes targeting web spam, have literally decimated thousands upon thousands of web site rankings by lowering the site’s rankings to near non-existence or removed them from the search pages altogether. Of course, this means financial disaster for the owners of those sites who have monetized their sites, or at the very least, caused a once vibrant site to disappear from their usual first page listing on the SERPS (search engine results pages).
Content must be unique and original
A very common reaction to a site’s rankings being lowered is that the webmasters were sure their content was unique, original, and relevant and they should not have been targeted. That could very well be true. Assuming it is true and the content development practices are on track with effective SEO, one important point to remember is not to panic. Once the updates run their course and if a particular site that truly does meet the necessary requirements for quality content has been affected, the rankings will eventually recover. Patience is key here. On the other hand, if a site is poorly organized, contains evidence of spam, has too many AdSense ads, or has too little relevant content, the update just might be deserving. The reason for all of these changes is simple, at least from Google’s point of view. All search engines, especially Google, keep their reputation as a leader by providing searchers with relevant, current, unique, and original content. Too often in the past, webmasters and content writers were accustomed to using “Black Hat” techniques (technically dishonest techniques from an SEO standpoint) in order to gain higher rankings in the search results, but eventually the content was deemed to be of poor quality. This made the search results pages less effective and not indicative of the product that Google was trying to provide. Naturally, as any good business owner would do, they made changes. These changes were implemented via the original Panda/Penguin updates. The results that Google and others are looking for is a quality search product that provides only relevant and useful information for every search made. The updates were designed to filter out the poor content and provide only the best to its readers. Going forward, more stringent updates are sure to follow, and for good reason.
Write for your visitor first
It may take a while for all webmasters and content writers to come to terms with the updates, but from an SEO point of view, one point remains. That is, to provide only unique, original, and relevant content on every page of your web site. Another important point to remember is to always have your web site structure organized for the visitor first by making sure the site navigation is easy and it makes sense. The search engine spider appreciates good structure, too. If the spider cannot understand what your site is about because the site map and/or link structure is confusing, your rankings will suffer as a result.
Superior content development, as you can see, is crucial to a web site’s success. Not only is original and unique content rewarded by the search engines by giving the web site higher rankings, the process used to create great content is and always will be one of the most important keys to web site ranking success. The result of superior content development simply cannot be underestimated, especially when the content itself is ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the web site.