23
Mar
11

Content Isn’t Everything….

….it’s the only thing.

I mean, really. With the launch of Google’s newest update (codename: “Panda”), that’s what all the SEOs are talking about. Content, they say, is now the most important site element!

Newsflash. Content has always been the most important site element. And always will be. What’s more, everybody has always known this. Remember “Content Is King”?

Then why all the buzz now? Simple. Almighty Google has declared that content is the new backlink. You gots to have it, if you wants to play. And not just any old content, either. According to the Goog, it’s got to be

  • Original
  • Useful
  • Substantial

Which all just another way of saying, “C’mon people, if you’re not making the internet better, you’re making it worse.”

Original
Your content must be unique to your site. No more copy and paste, no more sitescraper bots, no more one article published to 500 different domains. There are some important exceptions (like using manufacturer’s descriptions in your product copy), but for the most part, if you didn’t write it or commission it exclusively, it ain’t original.

Useful
And why not? If you go to the trouble of putting information out there on the web for all the world to see, why shouldn’t it be in some way—any small way—worth somebody’s time. This doesn’t mean every word on every site has to be deeply significant. Just in some way useful. Informative. Provocative. Funny. Cute. Entertaining. Nasty. Instructional. SOMETHING.

Substantial
All of this useful, original stuff also needs to be something more than twelve words and a pass-through. For text content, there really isn’t any sort of word target (despite what you hear from a few SEOs) but there should always be enough to make a complete point, or thought, or at least a full paragraph. Images can be substantial all by themselves, but the criteria is very subjective. Does an image standing alone in the center of a page accomplish anything? If not, well, maybe you should consider filling up the space around it with some meaningful commentary. Or something.

I guess the true upshot of all this is:

Nobody really knows what Google means by “original, useful, and substantial.” But they’ll damn sure know when it’s not there.


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