Content Is King And Other SEO Half Truths

With a headline like that, you are probably expecting some flames to be flying and I promise, I will not disappoint.

It has been some time now that rules of SEO have been rewritten to now place a major focus on the actual content that is found at the top of the search results, more so than the sites that link to that content. Or so it is thought. Content is King right? I mean Google say that you just need to write (create, publish) good quality content on your website and that they will take care of the rest.

Don’t go about creating any links from other people’s websites, just to boost your rankings because Google will just magically find your content boost it to the top, as long as it is “quality content”, right? Watch this video from Google…

Well let’s just think about the logic behind this for a minute…

Let’s just suppose there are 10 plastic surgeons who are all excellent doctors with outstanding medical histories, a long list of satisfied patients and essentially well established surgeons in their own right.

Now they have the sufficient resources at their disposal to not only build a high quality website, but publish it with high quality content complete with extensive before and after photo galleries. They all appear to be great choices when it comes to quality content.

So the questions beckons, “who does Google decide is the best, and sits at #1?”. The answer is they don’t know and can’t tell just purely based on the quality of the website and it’s “King Content”.

They need more information before they can make this decision.

What information and where do they get it from?

Other people’s websites, and what they have to say about these doctors, via what is referred to as a “backlink”. Now these backlinks are not all of the same power when it comes to balancing the equation on what is a valuable link.

Let’s take a look at two examples, and see if you can determine which is the higher valued or valuable link to have.

Website A:

The first website that has a backlink pointing to a surgeon’s website is all about plumbing supplies. The link is in the sidebar, along with other advertising banners. It is a text link surrounded by mixed content that ranges from plumbing supplies, building information and links to other construction websites.

Website B:

The second website is a health related blog. It has topics that cover women’s health issues in particular. The link that comes from this site is in a blog post by a guest author, who is taking about the pros and cons of a particular form of facial plastic surgery. There are references to alternatives that don’t require going under the surgeon’s knife and also a list of doctors who are widely accepted as authorities on the subject. There are quotes from one of the doctors and it is also a link to his website.

Now before you decide which is the better link, times this equation in your head for our 10 surgeons we mentioned above. They all have a range of different links but for the sake of the argument, lets just imagine that there is one doctor in the list who gets more and more of the Website B styled links and the rest get a mixture, but mostly weighted towards the Website A style links.

It is pretty obvious that the doctor with more of the relevant links is going to fare higher in the search results than the others, purely because he is demonstrating a higher degree of authority in his field of endeavour.

Yes it is more complex than this simplified version I have used for my illustration but I think it demonstrates the point that content is not really the king it used to be or is at least made out to be.

Content yes it is important, and sort of kingly but is KING, no I don’t think so. Everybody can produce top quality content, it is easy, just hire a good copy writer and plan your site well and you are in the running for being a great content producer. The kind that Google say they love.

Google also say that you don’t need to do anything else, they will take care of it. Matt Cutts the former (now vanished) Google engineer turned SEO spokesperson aka Webspam Fighting Team Leader can be seen in the video at the beginning of this post espouse exactly that.

Don’t build any backlinks, that is risky and will get you banned by Google. That is also what they say, but it is not what they do. Even so SEO companies will tell you the same thing, “Don’t build backlinks, that is old school, we have a better way…”

So if you can’t build any backlinks and nobody is going to link out to you, i.e. create a backlink for your website, unless they can find you in the first place, how are any links every going to be established if your site is totally invisible?

Good question. It is a real chicken and egg situation.

Someone is lying when it comes to the Content is King and Backlinks situation. Could it be Google are not being entirely transparent or truthful here?

One way of finding out what the truth is, is to see what Google allow to rank at the top of the search engines and with the help of some fancy backlink discovery tools, one can easily see what backlinks are actually doing the work required to get this website to the top.

When you can see the actual links, and see how they have worked their magic, you know that Google have access to this information as well, so you can draw your own conclusion on what the truth is.

The fact of the matter is this, backlinks do count and will continue to count. They are not going anywhere when it comes to Google’s algorithmic calculations about who is the top authority on any given subject. They need backlinks to prove the value of their choice. Naturally the higher valued backlinks are more difficult to acquire but they need to be there to make content the King that he is supposed to be.

If you want to get an idea of your own backlink profile and see how this stacks up against your competitors who are currently out doing you in the Google search results, I suggest you get in contact with me and I can arrange a free 30 minute Skype strategy call. We will do an audit on your website and show you what your current SEO company doing that is good and as the case may be, not so good.

So schedule your call with me today.

Surviving to thriving

Right now, most of us are just thinking about how to get by one day at a time. As has become infinitely clear by now to most people, this is a serious situation that we all find ourselves in.

Not since the second world war, has our planet faced such a challenge as the COVID-19 crisis.

Daunting times are upon us

For many people and businesses around the country and the world, the immediate focus of how to handle the sudden loss of customers, the inability to provide them with the goods and services that you have been doing, for some, many years or even decades, is not only shocking, it is extremely daunting.

In order to get through these uncertain times, one requires a solid dose of resilience.

We are all in this together, and as our prime minister Scott Morrison stated in his address to the nation on Sunday night, “we are in a war against this thing, and everyone has just been conscripted”. We all must do our part to defeat COVID-19 and this is no mean feat.

Having to close the doors to the public and retreat to the trenches, is a terrible ordeal to be faced with. Still this is what is required in our bid to defeat the virus, which is hellbent on spreading as far as it possibly can.

There in lies the clue.

The virus can only spread as far as we let it spread.

Lock down to elimination

Total lock-down at the outset would have been an effective strategy if only the WHO had issued this directive immediately. Securing all national borders and quarantining outbreak clusters, would have placed us in a different trajectory than the one we are faced with now.

Containment has not been effective for a number of reasons. The first being the lack of co-ordination between different countries, states and provinces. Secondly with a misunderstood profile of not affecting anyone permanently or fatally apart from the old and frail, led to a lax approach from some sections of different communities.

Medical advise is taking on these less than ideal parameters to attempt to “soften the curve” of infection and death.

This is a time lock that will be determined on a locked region by region and ultimately the world will only be free when the last case of the virus is eradicated and we have a vaccine that will inoculate the planet. For as we know, viruses exist in the animal kingdom, long after the last human case is dealt with.

There are many things we can do to limit the spread and soften the curve. Social isolating and social distancing when one has to go out, along with stringent hand washing and masking where appropriate, are the simple things that disable to a great degree the ability for this virus to spread.

Despite the immediate actions and the mid to long term effects of what is happening, we must not forget that there is the other side that we will reach, collectively as a nation and individually, replete with the opportunities in recovery that are yet to be identified.

Light at the end of the tunnel

In marketing especially with search engine presence being so important, it is vital to remember that it is a long distance race and any slacking off here, as this point in time, is going to be an open opportunity for your competitors who are digging in for the long haul.

If at possible, try to find the means to maintain what you can with your efforts in the online space, to keep producing high quality content and get engagement for this through whatever social means you can muster. Remain part of the conversation, this is how you will be a ship rising with the tide, instead of sinking out of site.

Yes there will be light at the end of the tunnel and things will return to normal, even if it is a new normal. The important thing is to be as ready to face these opportunities when the time comes.

You may indeed be focusing on survival right now, and no one can blame you for that (after all you are not a bad business person, and it is not your fault), but don’t let the time and opportunity pass you by to turn this unfortunate situation around for that future date, to a one of thriving.