Content Is King? Google Doesn't Think So...

Discussion in 'Content Marketing' started by junglekid, Jul 28, 2010.

  1. junglekid

    junglekid
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    "Content is king" - that's one of the most repeated phrases when discussions about SEO, Pagerank and search results take place. It reinforces the concept that fresh, updated quality content is fundamental to obtaining top search engine ranking.

    Apparently, Google doesn't take it so seriously. Look at these examples:

    http://www.lonelymarketer.com/ - content last updated on February 2008 BUT Position 1 in search results for "small business marketing manager" and PR 4.

    http://www.jessicastrust.org.uk - content last updated on December 2009 BUT Position 3 in search results for "childbed fever", PR 4.

    http://makingahappylife.blogspot.com/ - content last updated on June 2009 BUT Position 2 in search results for "making happy life", PR 3.

    http://www.btocher.com/ - Content: "Not Found - Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." BUT Google gives it a PR 4!?

    Here's an interesting article by Jonathan Leger that complements this thread: How Google Gets It Wrong.
     
  2. GekiDan

    GekiDan
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    Well, I don't think Google had done something wrong in here. Page Rank relies on backlinks towards those sites.
    So if there are still blogs or sites linking to those sites or articles from those sites, it is still counted even though it isn't updated.
    And I don't think Page Rank relies on updated content. They mostly rely on sites linking on them.
     
  3. Lingua21

    Lingua21
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    I agree with GekiDan. In the first example, it would help matters if you had backlinks with 'small business marketing manager' in the anchor text preferably tucked away in paragraphs. It also helps if the text relates to small businesses or marketing for example and it is important that the sites that link to your site are authority sites.
     
  4. junglekid

    junglekid
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    Hi GekiDan and Lingua21,

    Your comments just confirm what I've originally stated: Google doesn't really care about content, what counts are links...

    Do you think that's right? A guy puts up a crappy website, uses powerful tools to get hundreds/thousands of links pointing to his crappy website, then almighty Google sees "authority" there and rewards him with a PR5 and a top position in search results!

    Don't you think(or feel) there's something wrong going on?

    Don't you think there is something wrong when a website with "Not Found - Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." is given a PR4 by Google?

    Don't you think there's something wrong with this ranking system?
     
  5. Fergal

    Fergal
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    My opinion is that if you have quality content on your site, other sites are more likely to link to you and that will help your search engine rankings. Plus quality content will keep your visitors interested, after the first time they see your site and hence they will be more likely to make a repeat visit and use your site.

    Google's keyword tool tells me that "small business marketing manager" has 110 "Global Monthly Searches", "childbed fever" has 2400 and "making happy life" has 320 - so in fairness these are not the most competitive of search terms.

    There are exceptions to every rule and there will always be people who find ways to trick or beat the system. However, when I do a search on Google, nine out of ten times the results that it shows up, are helpful to me and they link to sites with quality content or that provide a useful service.

    We all know that Google is by far the most successful and most used search engine on the web. It didn't achieve that level of success by presenting its users with poor quality search results.
     
  6. Tecknowoman

    Tecknowoman
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    Are we missing the point here?

    Being number 1 in Google doesn't automatically get you traffic and it certainly doesn't make you sales.

    Being number 1 for the right keywords helps but you still need to drive traffic. When you drive traffic Content is the things that converts visitors into customers.

    "Content is King" not for SEO (although it helps) but because quality content is what converts.
     
  7. junglekid

    junglekid
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    I searched these keywords because they were on the sites' meta tags. The search results showed they were successful on their SEO efforts...:)

    Unfortunately, my statistics on Google search results aren't the same, I'd say 7 out of ten come up with quality information. That's one of the reasons I've started this thread, the other being the exhaustive repetition of "content is king" all over the web when the real facts show that content isn't really so important for the search engines.

    I'm going to quote Jonathan Leger on this: "the Big Three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) base their ranking of results primarily on one thing: links. Yes, the documents need to be relevant to the search query, but after meeting that criteria it's the quantity and quality of links to a document that lands it in the top spot for any given set of keywords.

    While links are a great way to provide a baseline of trust or authority, links are not the only way a document should be judged."

    That's the point: quality, useful content should have a greater weight in search engines ranking methods.

    And Jonathan goes on showing top position search results occupied by sites with little content/information. Here are his comments after searching for "old time radio":

    "In that case RadioLovers.com is a terrible #1 result — it's mostly just a list of links.

    The #2 result in Google isn't any better (Otr.net) — it's all links.

    In fact, if you go through each of the top 10 results in Google for "old time radio" you'll see that, with the exception of the Wikipedia entry that comes in at #9, there's very little information about Old Time Radio in any of the results!"

    So were (on their own time) companies like IBM, General Motors, Enron, AIG...:)
     
  8. Fergal

    Fergal
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    junglekid sounds like we can agree that content and back links are both very important when it comes to SEO :)

    I'm not sure that I agree with that, although I didn't look at them in detail, both of those sites appear to have a lot of content in the form of old time radio shows that users can download and listen to on their PC.

    Not necessarily, they may have picked the wrong keywords. It's not difficult to rank for uncompetitive keywords. When I first published a website I worked to have it ranked for the keyword "Irish Portal" and thought I did well to get it in the first three positions in Google for that search term - until I realised that practically no one was searching for that term.
     
  9. DeniseTaylor

    DeniseTaylor
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    Mornin' All!

    My two cents:

    This is too simplistic and is perilous thinking, IMO.

    Going crazy getting links, specifically using link schemes and spammy tactics is very dangerous to one's business. People should not just worry about links alone. It would be too easy to manipulate and Google knows that.

    I agree with Fergal:

    You have to keep it real. Real quality, real content (not copied/rehashed content stolen from other sites) and offer real value. That keeps you safe and if you strategize your content building well, you will get lots of traffic.

    You have to do it all, because Google monitors visitor reaction too.
     
  10. l.chaos_45

    l.chaos_45
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    content

    hiiiii
    Do you think that's right? A guy puts up a crappy website, uses powerful tools to get hundreds/thousands of links pointing to his crappy website, then almighty Google sees "authority" there and rewards him with a PR5 and a top position in search results!

    Don't you think(or feel) there's something wrong going on?

    _____________________
     
  11. DavidL

    DavidL
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    How you rank in SE and what is your PageRank are not directly related, so your comparison is very wrong. I can rank 1st yet have a low PR and vice versa. PR primarily relies on backlinks, where as SE ranks are a combination of around 200 factors which determines your final rank. Your examples are not applicable because they have low to very low advertiser keywords. For those keywords, I could easily rank well with that, using SERP techniques.

    Content is king becomes very important when you are in a competitive niche. When SEO'ers say "Content is king", it is because you have a certain keyword or phrase and it is competitive. Google then needs to decide which one they should put up first, second etc. If everyone had the same content but different PR, then of course the higher PR site would rank better, but that's in a perfect world. When your content is better than the other person's content, Google will give you bonus points for that.

    Because you have low ranking keywords, there isn't much competition. Even content from 2008 can be better than new content. Who's to say an age old tutorial can't rank better than a new one? It would have more backlinks (presuming due to time) and so that affects the rankings.

    If you have examples which have high advertiser competition keywords, then it would be better for discussion.
     
  12. junglekid

    junglekid
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    I'm not defending putting up a crappy website, getting backlinks, etc. but when one sees a website with this content "Not Found - Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." given PR4 by Google doesn't it look like it's easy to do it?

    First of all I haven't compared SE and PR, all I did was display Google's search results for some keywords and the PR of the websites that were on the top search positions. These search results, which I haven't invented, clearly show that there are flaws in Google's search and page ranking methods.

    Next I'd say these sentences "If everyone had the same content but different PR, then of course the higher PR site would rank better" and "It would have more backlinks (presuming due to time) and so that affects the rankings." contradict your above statement that there is no direct relation between rank in SE and PR. Just for your information, according to Jonathan Leger - who's, beyond any doubt, a SEO expert - "It's commonly known that the Big Three search engines (Google, Bing and Yahoo) base their ranking of results primarily on one thing: links." And links affect PR.

    Why not? Does Google's algorithm work differently for a "low advertiser keyword" search than it does for a "competitive keyword" search?

    This confirms what I've written when I started this thread: google doesn't care that much about fresh, updated content despite all this "content is king" talk.
     
  13. DavidL

    DavidL
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    Then there was no need for the PR to be displayed. A direct interpretation of your post would seem like you're comparing them; a very plausible interpretation.

    When I say content, I meant content as it the design (coding etc.), information, host, and the list goes on, but just the PR is different, then no, I haven't contradicted myself. (my mistake in wording)

    I never said links didn't affect PR. Actually, SE provide organic traffic, ie. from relevance of content and your keywords on your page. Yes, links are a major factor, but if you only had links to your site, and nothing else, and someone had as many same links but with good content, then surely the site with the added content will rank better, and this is the case with many sites. Sites ranking first and second and third contest each other. They will most likely have a similar amount of links and so the final factor would probably be content that distinguishes them. Google and other SE want to display natural and organic results. They know when a site has been building up links in order to bypass natural rankings and they will be penalized.

    Please re-read what I said. Since it's a low advertiser keyword, you have a limited amount of sites that actually participate genuinely. When you are restricted to a few sites, rarely does Googlebot actually go and index those sites. If those sites aren't updating (and most weren't with fresh content), googlebot won't visit and index properly.

    Again, Google attempts to display the most natural and helpful results. From your low advertiser keyword (probably not the keyword the site is targeting), we can deduce that the content has those keywords in it and is search engine optimized. Does a new tutorial necessarily have unique and updated information? The answer is no.

    What is actually on the page has little affect on PR. PageRank, is not how it ranks on a page. PageRank is merely named after Larry Page. It could have been LarryRank, and unfortunately, people get confused as "page" could be interpreted as the search page, but again they are barely interrelated.
     
  14. junglekid

    junglekid
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    I'm afraid you didn't get my point of starting this thread. A top position on search results + high PR is what we could call a "quality assessment" of a website by Google. At least that's what Google says: "Pages that we believe are important pages receive a higher PageRank and are more likely to appear at the top of the search results." (http://www.google.com/corporate/tech.html)

    So this information (search results+PR) was necessary for the sake of argumenting that a) content is not seen as an absolute ranking factor by Google, like the "content is king" preachers defend; b) there are flaws in Google's search and page ranking methods (their quality measurement) . The examples I mentioned are a valid proof of that.

    That's how misunderstanding begins: "interpreting" instead of just reading what's written.

    No matter what you meant by content (and in this case I don't think "content" can have different meanings), the fact is that, given two websites with similar/same content, the one with the higher PR will rank higher in the search results, which leads to the conclusion that there is a relation between search results ranking and PR.

    Not really. Some people believe Google sees and knows everything...but that's not true. Google will probably detect most blatant attempts of manipulation but not all of them. In all honesty, when a site with "Not Found - Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here." is given a PR 4(probably because of backlinks), it is not only a proof that Google doesn't know and penalize but also that the link-based PR method is far from exact or perfect.

    At last you agree with me: if "what is actually on the page has little affect(BTW the correct word is effect)on PR", a guy can put up a crappy website, build backlinks and be rewarded with a high PR by Google. The next step could be selling backlinks from his high PR site... :)
     
  15. JamesD31

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    Didn't read all the comments, but the term "Content is King" to me not only means fresh content (this makes google index your pages more when you have fresh content) yet you need your content to be keyword dense, to help in the indexing and ranking.
     
  16. DavidL

    DavidL
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    I understood your point from the very beginning, but you didn't present a good or fair argument with no justification. Note, from your Google quote, it says "...are more likely...", so that just shows otherwise. It doesn't say "it will", it says "more likely", meaning you can rank as well with lower PR sites etc.


    That's pathetic. I read what was written, but it was not clear, so I had to interpret what you said so I could present my side of the argument. You can't put the blame back on the reader when you had a poor argument to start off with.


    I clearly said I wrote the wrong word. Nonetheless, PR is a minimal factor in SE rankings, but it is a factor. In a perfect world, if all 200 or so factors are the same, but the PR is different, then the higher PR site will rank better.



    You put two unrelated things together; 1) paid backlinks to manipulate rankings and 2) page content. How does that work?

    The actual content on the site isn't given a PR 4; it's the page domain. Please, PageRank isn't the content on the page, it's the page of the domain which is given a score out of 10, which is determined by backlinks (and very, very, very, very minimal on-page factors). Any SEO expert would agree.


    I've said that from the start. It seems you were the one who has misunderstood my posts. The next step would not be selling backlinks; it would be developing the site to gain traffic, which would have a higher return on investment then paid backlinks, which in turn could get your site banned.
     
  17. junglekid

    junglekid
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    A good or fair argument?! The various PR3 and PR4 websites with no updated content, or no content at all, being listed on top search results speak for themselves. And Jonathan Leger's article confirms it, by showing more websites with similar results. I have no doubt that any regular Google user has had such experiences from time to time.

    You are "interpreting" again...The Google quote is self-explanatory and clearly states that improving PR will increase the chances of ranking at the top search results. There is no mention to low PR sites. Your sentence re lower PR sites is an inference, an assumption. (BTW, it isn't wrong, it's simply not written there nor on discussion here.)

    A few comments back you stated there was no relation between SE rankings and PR. Now, you are just repeating - in different words - what I've said: "given two websites with similar/same content, the one with the higher PR will rank higher in the search results".

    More "interpretation"... where did you see paid backlinks mentioned?

    You boldly declared that "They (search engines) know when a site has been building up links in order to bypass natural rankings and they will be penalized." I replied that "Google will probably detect most blatant attempts of manipulation but not all of them." The website I mentioned is a clear example of manipulation Google does not know about or penalize.

    PR "is determined by backlinks (and very, very, very, very minimal on-page factors)", as you said, but why do websites link to other websites? Wouldn't it be because of useful content, overall quality, reference, etc? Just look at what that website offers...and draw your own conclusions.

    David, it seems you are so determined to prove that I'm wrong that you refuse to accept any argument, you read things I haven't written, even a crystal-clear quote from Google means something different for you, so I see no point in continuing this. Keep your opinion and I'll stick with mine.

    Just for the record, I'm not saying Google is bad. Despite flaws in search and page ranking methods, despite some miserable search results it returns at times, Google is an excellent search engine.
     
  18. Anelly

    Anelly
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    Content is the king does not necessary reffer to how often is a websites updated. It reffers more to optimized content using specific keywords.
     
  19. JamesD31

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    That is what i said.. also why does it fin' matter if their site is down with a high PR? This could be temporary or if it is down for a long time, I am sure that when Google does the next PR update the spiders will know it is not found and close it.

    Also, google DOES know when pages are 404 or any other code of that kind. If you use their Webmaster Tools it clearly tells you. Also, a user goes to a 404 page, what do they do? "click back button, find new site"

    BIG DEAL not like they are making profit off of it. You are just crying because they can outrank you due to a technique? Go try it yourself, see how much or how far you get by buying backlinks to increase your PR when I know for a fact it's all about keywords the most when searches, not the PR.
     
  20. johnvevo

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    I think "Content is King" that mean same JamesD31 said.
    Website contains fresh content and not duplicate.
     

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