Google is constantly upgrading their algorithm to reflect changes in today’s search engine environment, and they’ve recently rolled out a new update that directly effects the value of quality content.
According to Matt Cutts, the webspam team leader at Google, the Google search engine has been updated to reflect the dissatisfaction that many users face when they reach a webpage and find that they have to scroll down considerably to reach any content. Companies whose website layout is filled with ads, photos, or blank space before reaching any content are going to find that their websites are slightly punished by the updated algorithm. Google wants to see that when a user clicks on your page, they’re not just going to be inundated with ads. They’re going to see content that they can start reading.
How Does This Affect Content?
This is a layout issue, not a content writing issue, but it does have a strong effect on content. In the past, many websites filled a great deal of space with ads, only to place their content far below the ad – low enough that the visitor was unlikely to bother reading the content, and would (if the webmaster was lucky) click on an advertisement before they ever read a single word.
Content on these websites was designed to get visitors, but it was not designed to be read by human eyes. Essentially, by placing the content far below the ads, the quality of the content was not as important as writing content that would trick search engines into a higher ranking. Then when a visitor clicked on the page, they would see a bunch of ads, click on one, and the website would make money.
Now, because of the update, companies are not only going to have to update their layout – they’re going to have to make sure that their content is actually valuable. This update is designed to ensure that your content is the focal point, not the ads, so while advertisements are still an acceptable part of crafting any website, you still need to provide valuable content to the reader.
Updating Your Layout – Updating Your Content
If your content is already valuable, you can likely leave it as is. But after you’ve upgraded your layout, make sure that your content is written in a way that will keep people on the page. If you were hoping to get by on poorly written content, making money off ads and not off developing a website that provides the user with a valuable experience, you may need to replace those articles with content that is much more valuable.