As part of my daily blog reading, I came across this interesting post from SEOMoz’s Rand Fishkin the other day. He’s got a feeling that what he describes as “passion” is influencing search results in Google and frankly, I find it hard to disagree.
The sites he discussed were mostly blogs that were ranking pretty well for mildly competitive terms, but what’s interesting is that they didn’t really have much – or any – “traditional” SEO in place. There were no optimised meta tags, there wasn’t really what you’d describe as keyword density in the content and they generally didn’t have huge backlink profiles. What they did have, however, was content – original, fairly well written content, and lots of it.
I can see that sites like this tend to rank well – this blog’s a fairly good example of that. Admittedly, there’s a bit more SEO in place on 2 Feet from Freedom (it is my job, after all), but I’ve not embarked on a serious link building campaign and since moving home and work, updates are less regular than I’d like. That said, articles from this site rank well for moderately competitive terms like “Hootsuite vs Tweetdeck” and I can only put this down to the fact that there is a lot of original content in each post. I like to think it’s well written and I would hope that it comes across that I write this because I genuinely enjoy this industry and writing about it, so perhaps passion is something resembling a ranking factor.
So Content’s Still King, Right?
Content always has been and probably always will be vitally important when it comes to Google rankings, but in the wake of the numerous Panda updates, it’s hard to argue against the importance of well written content for your website. Aside from a couple of advertising-heavy sites, I’ve not personally seen a “Pandalised” website that was filled with original, high-quality content and I hope I never do, unless the sites in question are doing something else they shouldn’t be.
If it turns out that “authenticity” is a ranking factor and if it’s something that’s going to become more important, then it would highlight to me that having a good copywriter work on your website is more important than ever. Admittedly, I’m extrapolating from what was essentially a gut feeling from Rand, but by the same token, he’s usually right about these things. If it turns out that he is correct, then all the backlinks in the world and all the technical jiggery-pokery you can throw at a site might not push you to where you could be if only you hadn’t outsourced your content writing to a company where poor quality “Google-fodder” copy is the status quo.
Good quality content, content that matters to you, something that you’re passionate about is something that’s always helped with rankings and if it turns out that search engines are placing extra weight on that lately, then long may it continue. If you’re truly passionate about your website and your business, make sure you hire someone who’s up to the job of reflecting that passion when you come to have your copy written – not just from an SEO perspective, but from a conversion rate perspective as well: people are more likely to buy from a website where the copy is good than they are a site that’s filled with drivel.