The way that Google is determining your search engine rankings is growing smarter all the time.
The search engine has recently rolled out updates such as Panda 4.0 to make its algorithms harder to manipulate. It was done in response to certain types of optimisation, known as black hat SEO. This was when people would write ‘spammy’ or over-optimised website content to drive low quality sites to the top of search engine results. Google hopes that these updates – which make their algorithms more complex – will ensure its search engine is only ranking top quality websites.
What we know from these updates is that, in order to crack down on the amount of over-optimised content that is often poorly written, having natural and high quality writing is now a big part of SEO. It is one of the most essential ways that the search engine is separating the good from the bad to ascertain what are superior sites in each field. Simply put: the importance of great content cannot be overstated.
What does Google consider to be natural and high quality content?
Content cannot simply exist to please the Google bots anymore. Using awkward keywords which you hope to rank for in contexts where they might not fit, or stuffing the page with too many exact matches of your keyword, could see you penalised by the search engine. Its updates make these kinds of SEO techniques easier to detect.
Each page must therefore be as natural as possible. Doing this requires that you have content readers will find informative, understandable and of value – not just content for the sake of having content. The writing on your pages must also be totally original as Google penalises sites with duplicate content (we use a number of premium tools to ensure this never occurs, even by accident).
Most importantly, however, your content must demonstrate a watertight knowledge of the English language. Flawless spelling, good structure and correct uses of grammar are now essential to ranking well on search engines. Making sure you know your semi-colons from your colons and your hyphens from your ellipses could be the difference between appearing on the first page or the second.
Does this mean SEO is irrelevant now?
Not at all.
The emphasis on good, natural content does not mean the traditional techniques for optimising websites are no longer important. The tools we use to research keywords and monitor their density are still crucial. After all, what is the point of writing great web content to attain a high ranking if Google can’t determine what it is even supposed to rank? Other methods of SEO, such as building good quality links to your website to determine authority, are still vital as well.
The challenge that the likes of Panda 4.0 poses is that web content must now combine these optimisation tips with academic quality content. The content on your site must be both studious and written with a thorough understanding of how Google’s bots crawl webpages (e.g. making sure your headings, paragraphs and image tags all explain to Google what your site is about). Having just one or the other is not enough anymore; excellent writing and knowledge of Google’s algorithms must now work hand-in-hand.
What is Pixus doing about it?
As we continuously review our SEO techniques based on Google’s updates, the content writers at Pixus have been looking at new ways to ensure our clients’ websites show up high in Google searches post-Panda 4.0. Similarly, we remain focussed on writing strong, informative and professional content.
If you wish to discuss the content on your website and how we can make sure it’s helping your business reach customers, get in touch with Pixus today.