Content Marketing

What Google’s War On SEO Spammers
Means For Brand Publishers

It’s been a bad couple of months for SEO-content spammers.

First, in early August, Google changed its algorithm to reward high-quality, “in-depth articles” by giving them a prioritized place in search results. It was a deliberate move by Google to reward publishers that take the time to craft high-quality, long-form content, and the latest in a string of efforts to reverse the flaws of its PageRank algorithm, which often rewarded low-quality, keyword heavy “SEO writing” over genuinely valuable articles.

Last week, Google delivered another blow to those that rely on low-quality, SEO-optimized content when it announced that all searches would be encrypted from now on.

What does that mean? In the past, website owners were able to see the search keywords that led users to their page, and SEO-content spammers relied on these keywords to tell them which words to load up on when they cranked out content. Now, that’s no longer the case.

There are various theories on why Google did this: Google says it’s all about privacy; others think it’s about protecting their SEM advertising stream. But for brand publishers, that debate is largely irrelevant. What does it mean for them?

I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication.”

Well, if you’re a brand publisher that’s investing in high-quality reporting and other multimedia content, it’s darn good news.

It’s no secret that search has been a flawed way to discover content, and that readers are increasingly turning to social media instead, but search remains a huge traffic driver, and an important way to attract new readers. Content farms who game search engines with massive amounts of substandard content have long reaped most of the search rewards. But as Google grows smarter, the content farms are drying up.

Someone has to take their place and receive that traffic, and with these recent developments, Google seems dead-set on making sure that high-quality content creators benefit.

Want more proof? Just turn to the words of Pandu Nayak, the mastermind behind Google’s Panda algorithm, who wrote on Google’s search blog earlier this year:

“I’m happy to see people continue to invest in thoughtful in-depth content that will remain relevant for months or even years after publication. This is exactly what you’ll find in the new feature. In addition to well-known publishers, you’ll also find some great articles from lesser-known publications and blogs.”

(Hat tip to Copyblogger).

That last part is key. It’s not just The New Yorker that will benefit, but brand publishers too. For a while now, we’ve felt that the long-form content arms race is about to escalate. This makes us even more certain.

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Image by Chungking
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