On Friday last week Google’s much talked about algorithm change came into effect in the U.S.
The purpose of the change was to give high quality content more importance when calculating a site’s search engine rankings.
Here’s a direct quote from Google’s Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal who published a blog post about the changes last month:
“This update is designed to reduce rankings for low-quality sites—sites which are low-value add for users, copy content from other websites or sites that are just not very useful. At the same time, it will provide better rankings for high-quality sites—sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis and so on.”
While this update was labelled by many in the industry as the “content farm” update, it may not just be these high volume, low quality content sites that are badly affected.
The idea behind this change is to make the web a better experience for everyone so when you search for information on a specific topic, you get high quality information without having to look through lots of search result pages to find it.
In the U.S. where the update is now live, almost 12% of search queries have been affected by this algorithm change, so it’s had a sizeable impact.
How will your site be affected?
For as long as I can remember, people in the SEO industry have been stressing the importance of unique, relevant and high quality content. Google doesn’t want its search engine results clogged up with poorly written articles of no use to the person searching.
If you’ve cut corners with your own site content and had it written purely for SEO purposes rather than your target market, you could be in for a drop in rankings when this change comes to the UK.
Even if you’ve legitimately syndicated content from sites such as ezinearticles.com you could still be penalised; as the quote from Google above says, they’re looking for “original content and information”.
What can you do about it?
The answer to this question is simple; start generating your own unique, high quality content.
Don’t become focused on purely writing for the purpose of improving your search engine rankings; think about your target audience and what they want to read about.
If you don’t have the time or skills to write your own high quality content, you can hire a copywriter to do it for you and start making your way back up the search engine rankings again if your site suffers a dip as a result of this change.