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Friday, January 11, 2013

Great SEO, Content, and Author Rank
by Blake Barnes

As an entrepreneur, SEO expert, and online marketing consultant I talk to people everyday about how to grow their business.  One thing that even most SEO novices understand is that Google and other search engines always tout “Content is King”.  As a result, I am asked almost everyday about what makes great content. Let’s explore that question by 1st understanding it from the perspective of Google and with that knowledge it may give us a better understanding of good content.

Google wants to reward you and your company with visibility and ultimately that turns into business if your site or you personally are  responsible for creating truly valuable content. Google rewards you and your website with extremely valuable, organic, 1st page results when someone searches for the subject/business you wrote about.  Why you may ask?  

Understanding Google’s mission statement is critical to understanding the “why” behind this.  According to Google, they want to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.  I believe if they do that and do it better than anyone else, you’ll never use any other search tool to find the information you seek and as a result Google can better sell ads because everyone loves using a tool that works.  If Google truly provides value to the search  user, they will keep and grow their audience and ultimately their business as a result.  

If you don't have the time or desire to write good valuable content or hire an SEO company or author to do so on your company’s behalf, you can simply pay for your clicks to get to the top of Google and send people to a landing page.  However, if you pay to get someone to click on your ppc ad and your website or landing page is no good or the content is not as good as your competitors then people will bounce right off your site and go to your competitors site.  You will have paid Google wasted marketing dollars.   I’ll try to spare you from that happening.

Something else to consider is if your content is not relevant to the search, for instance if you try to sell a multi level marketing program to someone searching for coffee mugs, for example, Google won't even let you win a bid in the PPC ad auction because the information you are serving the searcher is not relevant to their search.  Why would Google do that?  It all goes back to what's best for the user is always best for Google.  I believe their mission statement.  If Google can ensure the user has a good experience, they will always have customers lined up to buy their digital ad space because they will keep and grow their enormous world wide audience.  

In my opinion Google has it right.  Traditional marketing is intrusive and pushy but if Google can deliver an ad to someone when they’re actually looking for that product or service then everyone wins.  For example, you want to buy a coffee mug and the ad at the top of Google is for a nice stainless steel mug, a battery operated heated mug, and countless other mugs, chances are most people will probably be ok with seeing those ads at the time they’re searching for them and may not be annoyed with the advertising.  This benefits you as the search user because you find exactly what you want at the exact moment you want it.  It benefits the advertiser selling the mug because you are a qualified potential customer, and it of course, it benefits Google because the advertiser selling their mugs paid them if you clicked on their ad.  By Google taking their focus off themselves and worrying about just delivering you your desired information when you want it, that model truly benefits everyone.  

Our job as SEO experts is to proliferate great content, not Spam the internet with fluffy junk no one cares to read.  We should not be so focused on just mechanics like, backlinks, page rank, domain authority, or any of the other traditional SEO metrics.  If we can actually proliferate great content for our customers then it’s just a matter of time before their intended audience of qualified prospects finds them, organically.   If the content is truly great, it will spread naturally.  People like to share something funny, thought provoking, interesting, informative, emotional, inspiring etc.   People interested in what you’re writing about will naturally spread your ideas.  That’s great SEO and great marketing and provides value and benefit for all involved.  

How might Google ensure that the best content is delivered you may ask?  Well since Google does not publish their algorithm that took them over 1,000 paid man YEARS to create, we can only speculate based on what we know about Google’s intent and mission mentioned above.  

One of Google’s newest additions to their algorithm is called Authorship.   I love the idea here and I truly believe this is going to revolutionize the internet as a whole. .  Let me explain.  Have you ever done a Google search for a product or service you were thinking about buying and read the reviews?  Have you ever read a review that was just a little too lovey dovey and thought to yourself hmm hmm BS.  Well, how do you know any of those reviews are real, even the ones that look ok?  Do you trust everything you read on the internet?  With Google’s new introduction of Authorship you may now do your research on that person who wrote the review and make a judgement of his character.  

It doesn't just stop at reviews.  I have no proof of this but I speculate that with Google’s incredible analytical capabilities it will someday turn into some sort of a rating system for individual authors’ authority on a subject.  For example, let’s say you have a business where you sell widgets. Let’s assume you are constantly publishing great content about your widgits and that the content is so good that those who read your content about widgits are compelled to share it across the internet with their social media network, on a blog, or in a news article...etc.   Google may now assign you a numeric rank based on your subject expertise and audience interaction and now whenever you publish something on widgets you’re more likely to come up high in search results because you are the expert in that field.  This allows for others who read your content or reviews to make an objective opinion on you and determine if they trust you or not.   

To quote the late great Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.  Notice the word content.  In the past, without Author Rank and with little content to draw conclusions upon, how did we know we could trust that person?  Now with the new author rank, I believe this problem is beginning to be solved.  Only those doing good business and providing real value will survive and we’ll slowly see the less credible companies fade out of business.  In my opinion, that’s a good thing for everyone.  

As an SEO expert, I believe that instead of talking to the customer about complicated metrics and technical statistics, we should simply explain the idea of growing their business by providing value to their customers using valuable intellectual property (great content) then it’s just a matter of how we use tools and techniques to get that message out to their target audience so their potential prospects can do business with them.  

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