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July 2013

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Why content is king and original content rules
As Google changes, so goes the internet world


By Kim Jackson

You know that with today's marketing, content is king. And thanks to algorithmic changes Google made last year - mainly Penguin and Panda - original content rules.

That's a big change from how Google previously searched and ranked websites. Before the most-recent changes, website page ranks heavily relied on substandard content.

Change #1: Panda destroyed content farmers
That changed more than two years ago, when Google released its Panda algorithm - called the 'farmer' update because it targeted 'contenting farming' sites that created huge amounts of low-quality content that often ranked high in Google searches.

Panda also targeted websites' duplicated content - from their own or other sites - and pages with very few words. When Google finds a site with lots of duplicated content AND thin content, it can be demoted. In fact, this can happen even when only parts of a site are duplicated or have thin content.

Many of the companies that were hammered with Panda two years ago still have not recovered to their previously high rankings before the algorithm change.

Penguin killed keyword and link-building schemes
Then in April 2012, Google waged war on webspam - a search engine optimization tactic that works against Google publisher guidelines by using specially designed web pages to spam Google search results.

This algorithm, which became known as Penguin, killed page ranks for websites that used tons of keyword stuffing and abnormal link-building schemes. Penguin is based on a page and keyword level, and not the site itself. Yet if links have been built around anchor text keywords that all connect to the home page, the home page itself won't rank for a number of terms.

Again, low-quality content was at the heart of the algorithm, as many webmasters believe Penguin targets links that used keywords as anchor text from low-quality content sources - such as article writing sites.

Good content keeps people returning to sites
With another round of website losers that are struggling to return to their previous high rankings, you get the idea: It pays to have original, high-quality content.

After all, content is the engine that drives the internet. You can visit the most-beautiful website that's ever been designed, but if the content there isn't useful, practical or valuable, you move on to another that is; you don't care what it looks like, as long as it's reliable information. And when you find those sites you can count on, you return to them over and over again.

Relevant and engaging content usually results from a well-thought out and implemented content plan, that spans a company's website, blog(s) and social media posts. Editorial calendars are created for all media - including your e-mail marketing campaigns - keeping in mind the overall objectives for publishing in the first place, from branding, to establishing authority or growing the business through more leads.

Whatever your reasons for having a website presence, and regardless of how many pages you have - whether five or 5,000 - your content must be good. It helps if it's original.

How to keep people on a site
It also must be grammatically correct and free from errors. I can't tell you how many times I visit a website, only to see errors in the first sentence of the page. I immediately look for another source.

And I'm not the only one. Most people I've talked with say they jump off a site when they see misspellings or bad grammar. Some think the content was outsourced to another country. Some suspect sites with multiple mistakes are phished, and therefore not credible. Others assume the companies offer nothing of value. Whatever the reason, those sites lose future clients - and possibly, their search engine page rankings.

Panda and Penguin algorithms aside, you can't go wrong when your content is original. Write for your audience and their interests, and you'll be fine. When you stay focused on who you're writing for, you'll organically gain more traffic and loyalty.

Oh, and you'll probably enjoy higher page rankings, too.

Kim Jackson, marketing and content strategist with Writingwerks, specializes in website, e-newsletter and e-mail marketing drip campaigns. For nearly 20 years, she's been helping clients ensure their marketing communications are useful, practical and valuable with their own clients and customers. For more info: Kim@writingwerks.com or 303-242-5367.





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