Tuesday 16 June 2009

Quality Content is King on the Internet

Staying at number one in Google search can be fraught with anxiety. We know how hard it can be to get to the number one position on a search engine results page (SERP). It can take a hell of a long time and the best SEO that you can apply or you just might get lucky but, frankly, there is no luck on the internet as it is all controlled by those algorithms. What is particularly interesting is how, do you stay at the top once you are there and if you got to the number one position quite quickly but then disappeared, what happened and why?

In my experience the key is this. Google can track what we do off the page. Here is a possible example. Say your web page is at the top of page one of SERP. You built it a few days before it hit page one number one. Then after two weeks it has gone to page 5. What is happening, in my opinion, is that Google is measuring the amount of time people stay on the new page. Google measures what happens before, during and after the visit to the page in question and in so doing is able to tell how valuable the page is to visitors.

If visitors consistently arrive, stay a short time and then search again, the page is not, on the face of it, providing the information that it says it should. Google of course knows the search keywords or phrase so can measure that against the title and content of the article. If visitors stay on the page for longer than average and then perhaps go to another page from the same website and then off the internet that would indicate that the page has satisfied the market and that the website has as well. Google is measuring the quality of the content through visitor behavior.

This then, once again, tells us the obvious really. Everything that we do on the internet as website creators is very secondary to the quality of the content. Google can measure the quality of your content through its algorithm. Above all else the business that is Google needs us to build meaningful and excellent content to satisfy its customers. It knows where it is. However, and this is a big however, although good old Google is very good it is not perfect and it gets it wrong sometimes. One weakness, I think, is that a good page that is short but nonetheless provides the answer to a question may fail just because visitors can read, digest and get off quickly. Algorithms will have weaknesses.

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