Back in the early days of SEO the mantra was ‘content is king’ and clients were always advised that the best way to get your site ranking in the SERPS was to create good content. Then ‘links’ became the way to get to the top and the floodgates opened. We still recall talking to clients in 2008 who were buying 1,000,000 links to boost themselves to the top of the rankings and living high on the profits. It didn’t matter that these links were from spammy sites, nor that they were in such far flung places as Ukraine, India, Philippines and Tuvalu.
But things have changed. Google realised quite quickly that ranking on links was very much like opening Pandora’s Box and before long we ended up with search results that were a complete mess as they were being manipulated by those with the deepest pockets. In fact, they have spent the best part of the last five years tweaking and changing the algorithm to reduce the reliance on links and to focus back on what really matters.
And what really matters is content. People go to websites to find answers to a question and they expect that the best ranking sites will answer that query. Businesses’ on the other hand want Google to be fair and to make sure that if they are returning a page of results that they not only list the best sites and pages that answer that query but also that each company only has one entry. And Google still hasn’t got that bit right. Just try searching ‘mortgages Leeds’ and see what we mean. A month ago one company dominated the first 28 listings and whilst admittedly this has got better as of today the same firm still has nine out of the top ten results.
Clients often come to us and ask how they can compete in this type of environment and our advice is always the same; build a site that you would want to go to. Build great content and make sure it answers the questions that people are asking and some that they don’t but you think they should know about. And yes, this is time consuming, laborious and does not get overnight results. And no it won’t propel you up the rankings next week or even next month sometimes. And yes, the people with the most links are still at the top so it does make us and all the other professional SEO firms look like liars.
But times are changing. Content is now king again and if you want to build for the future keep creating unique content.