Authentic Content: Future Proofing Your SEO

Written in collaboration with professional researcher & writer John A. McCurdy

With Google increasingly favouring authentic website content, the meta-tag spam of SEOs past is increasingly passé – and potentially even damaging to your business or organization.

SEO experts have used a range of tricks and loopholes in recent years to help their pages rise through the ranks of their favourite search engines, and for periods of time, both helped websites get noticed – even if that attention hadn’t necessary been earned, or wasn’t necessarily warranted.

For instance, SEO specialists aimed to improve website search engine indexing, irrespective of the quality of a website’s content. Initially, this meant stuffing a website’s hidden meta-tags with subject specific keywords. At times the practice has also meant populating webpages with random key words or even ‘hijacking’ popular but unrelated meta-tags, such as a video rental store populating its meta-tags with terms like ‘cinema’ or ‘drive-in.’

While none of these practices were particularly honest, such techniques were patently detrimental to search engines like Google, whose success is based on delivering relevant, high quality, search results. Allowing its search engine to rank sites with high ‘scores’ but low relevancy threatens to reduce its usefulness and ultimately its popularity.

As a result, Google has announced that its search engine indexing will no longer rely on meta-tags but on website content and functionality.  To this end, it has a computer vision program in the works that will soon ‘see’ and ‘interpret’ images embedded in websites. And you can bet, moreover, that it is fast advancing artificially intelligent systems capable of quickly flagging fake and copied content and of identifying and promoting websites whose content is of genuine human interest and utility. The bottom line is clear: spam-dependent meta-tag websites are at risk of being demoted and even penalized by Google as ‘spam.’

While this is great for obvious reasons, it also means adequate content must at least be composed in complete sentences and that effective content must be fully authentic, that is: genuinely useful and interesting. In future, such content will earn websites superior search engine rankings.  

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