WHY SEO IS MORE ABOUT QUALITY CONTENT MARKETING IN 2018

The internet is louder than ever, and it is getting louder with each passing moment. Conventional SEO wisdom narrates us that we need to up the volume to be heard – higher word counts more fresh content, more domains. And it used to be true.

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The internet is louder than ever, and it is getting louder with each passing moment. Conventional SEO wisdom narrates us that we need to up the volume to be heard – higher word counts more fresh content, more domains. And it used to be true. As recently as 2005, black-hat SEO practices were fooling Google – for example, by overlaying solid-colored backgrounds with the plain text of the same color to make the impression of more content on a web page.

But Google’s algorithms have developed over the years. In 2014, Google’s IQ score consisted of 26.5. By 2016, that IQ score had almost doubled to 47.28.

A 6-year-old child, whose average IQ of 55 is smarter than Google. Still, that is higher than Apple’s Siri (23.94) and the IQ scores of Microsoft’s Bing (31.98) – and it is no wonder why. There have been nearly three million search questions and counting since you started reading this. The more data that Google parses, the better it gets at returning related search results.

HOW DOES MODERN SEO CUT THROUGH THE NOISE?

The primary answer to this question is the same as it has always been: Modern SEO tries to establish a high connection in as many of Google’s ranking criteria as possible. What is important to understand is that those criteria have improved since 2015, and SEO has improved with them. More than ever, they are on the side of quality.

Let’s talk algorithms.

Below are what we observe as the eight core Google algorithms that all content creators should be focusing on:

HUMMINGBIRD (FOUNDED AUGUST 22, 2013):

This fascinating algorithm allows Google to contextualize search questions precisely. Hummingbird uses natural language processing to discover searcher plan, by trying to understanding the meaning of a query.

PIGEON (FOUNDED LAUNCHED JULY 24, 2014):

Pigeon uses Google’s core ranking criteria to location-based results. Otherwise, it forces local companies to step up their offsite SEO game and inspires them to become listed on relevant business records.

MOBILE (FOUNDED LAUNCHED APRIL 21, 2015):

Do you remember Mobilegeddon? It happened in 2015, and it certainly changed the internet. Personal web pages that are optimized for mobile now receive a ranking boost; those that don’t will suffer in SEO.

RANKBRAIN (FOUNDED OCTOBER 26, 2015):

Hummingbird’s intellectual little brother, and Google’s self-proclaimed third-most powerful algorithm. Since 2015, RankBrain has classified superficial content by using machine learning to actually summarize a website’s pages in the index and consequently use those summaries to align them with search queries. Otherwise, it concentrates on the overall user experience and macro purpose of existing page – and it gets better as it goes along.

PANDA (UPDATED JANUARY 12, 2016):

Panda, initially founded in 2011, was increased to a core Google ranking algorithm in 2016. It now scores content by evaluating indicators of plagiarism, duplicate content, thin content, keyword stuffing, and spam.

POSSUM (FOUNDED SEPTEMBER 1, 2016):

Possum geo-targets the addresses and the searcher of a business. Curiously, Possum has increased search rankings for many companies that are located outside of a city area where a search is directed. In a way, this makes sense. A person isn’t confined to a city when they are searching for a service, especially not in B2B (business-to-business) markets. Still, this is all about location, and location.

PENGUIN (UPDATED SEPTEMBER 23, 2016):

Since 2016, Penguin (initially founded 2013) has run in real time, continuously, as part of Google’s core set of algorithms. It down-ranks content that uses inappropriate links and anchor text to spam and manipulates web users.

FRED (FOUNDED MARCH 8, 2017):

As Google’s agent, Fred “gossips” on web pages that couch commercials in shallow, thin or meaningless content. This forces companies to make sure that banner and video advertisements are going with by high-quality content.

Now let’s see how SEO has reacted.

In three words: Quality is in.

Google’s algorithms know real collateral when they see it, so content for SEO requires to be clever and engaging but also backed up with robust web design and UX (because RankBrain somehow sees all).

Companies are on board with this trend. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 89 % of companies now follow content marketing, which is more than it was. More importantly, 76 % say they value quality over quantity.

Quality content is harder to produce. It takes more effort, time and talent because it is not a numbers game. It requires:

CONTEXT:

With Hummingbird calling the shots, understanding and providing to user intention is more urgent than ever. Loading up on keywords will not cut it anymore. You need stories, information, and facts, well-executed review, landing pages that are short but memorable. Remember: Google’s self-proclaimed purpose is to give people the gift of relevance. Good content will be rewarded with strong SERPs (Search Engine Results Page) positioning and higher click-through rates. On the flip side, they will spot a volume play from a mile away.

VARIETY:

Predicting the many search-query repetitions your target audience uses is essential. But we are not just talking about a diversity of language. You also need shareable assets like infographics and videos that people want to link to and set in blog posts. Every link back to your multimedia content pushes the needle. Not to mention, just because people search with words does not mean they are searching for words (e.g., cat videos). Google made that distinction a long time ago, and so should you.

MOBILE:

The other fabulous thing about visual media is that it looks great on a mobile phone. Bite-size, engaging graphics and quick-hitting “how-to” videos are excellent for snacking on the train ride home or while waiting in the elevator. Strong multimedia collateral is no replacement for a mobile-optimized website.

SOCIAL:

At 83 %, social is the most generally used content marketing tactic. Why? Your social and content are in a symbiotic relationship. Social supports your content, and your content makes engagement on social. Take away one, and you destroy the other. But together, they are like jelly and peanut butter, Simon and Garfunkel, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Spongebob Squarepants and Patrick Star (this is a quinceanera, after all).