|Recent Moves by Google Amplify the Importance of Valuable Content|
|Tuesday, August 14 2012|
When it comes to online content, businesses that are primarily driven by capturing clicks from search engines are focused on tailoring their content to optimize their rankings on those engines and generate more volume-which can translate into advertising dollars for some, and eCommerce transaction conversions for others. For instance, online news sites like The Huffington Post excel at racking up the clicks from search engines through descriptive, targeted article headlines compared to traditional publishers.
Companies also use search engine optimization in nefarious ways, including last year's brouhaha from J.C. Penney using a third-party firm to help generate high organic search rankings through propagating high volumes of low-value content. Similar tactics of building out fake pages with keywords and links that help artificially prop up search results is a fairly common practice, although seriously frowned upon by search engines.
Google, the world's most trafficked search engine, realizes the power that its search algorithms hold and actively works to prevent people from gaming how it ranks results. It has been working to tweak the factors that go into ranking search results to try and put a greater weight on the quality of content, not the quantity of content. Last year, it released "Panda," a new set of search ranking factors that rewards sites creating original content and not exploiting repetitive keywords and pages.
Google's latest release , called "Penguin," aims to improve upon this concept my trying to penalize sites' rankings that engage in keyword "stuffing" (packing hundreds of keywords on a single page) and unusual linking patterns where content on one topic may have links dispersed throughout the writing that are devoted to an entirely different product. By trying to stay one step ahead of so-called "black hat" web spammers, Google is also trying to amplify high-quality content to improve users' search experiences and reward companies for delivering valuable content.
In addition to its search algorithms, Google has been making waves with its content-related acquisitions. In September last year, the search giant acquired Zagat, a premier local reviews publisher with a trusted and well-known reputation. Over the past year, it has been building Zagat reviews into relevant search listings, while still maintaining its traditional publishing model. Just this week, it acquired travel publisher Frommer's from John Wiley & Sons in a quest to continue building high-quality local and travel services.
While other local review sites like Yelp and Foursquare rely entirely on user-generated reviews to provide feedback on restaurants and local services, Google is pursuing a different approach by filling its databases with professional rating methodologies and content from expert reviewers. It is banking that it can bring the value that these publishers already provide in print and on their own sites and unleash it to the masses through its search engine. It's just another way that Google is amplifying valuable content online.