You hear a lot these days about content being king when it comes to ranking in Google. And it’s true that Google have made many changes and improvements to their ranking algorithm (the way they decide which sites appear at the top of their search results) over the years.
And you’ve probably heard of Google updates aiming to penalise poor quality and/or spam sites. These updates usually have animal related names such as Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird. These updates have targeted both sites with dodgy or purchased links and also sites with what Google deem to be low quality or sparse content.
So the message from Google is clear – if you want to rank well in their search results and avoid penalties that affect your ranking (or even get you deindexed from their search results all together), then your website needs to contain high quality and useful content that answers whatever queries the users who visit have.
But having said that, you’ve probably noticed that lots of spammy sites still manage to appear on Google’s first page. This is especially true for sites in certain niches such as gambling, dating, health supplements, payday loans and so on. So how are they doing this despite all Google’s attempts to thwart them?
Well the truth is that still by far the most important ranking factor for websites is strong backlinks. Many of these sites will have purchased links from people who sell them on their own network of sites (known as Public Blog Networks or PBNs), and some people even build their own Private Blog Networks (also somewhat confusingly known as PBNs). Of course, they run the risk of being caught by Google and their site penalized. But these so-called Churn and Burn sites count on making enough money before they’re caught. Then once they are caught, they just repeat the process with a new site.
So, what’s the take away from all this? Well three things really – firstly, you need to make sure your website contains quality information that meets people’s needs. Secondly, you need to be working on networking and acquiring natural quality backlinks to your website. And finally, if you want your website to last, don’t be tempted to take short cuts and purchase dodgy links from anyone.