The value of original, high quality web content continues to rise as Google makes new moves to decrease the visibility of low-quality websites. The search engine giant recently updated its algorithm to suppress the presence of link farms, which generate endless streams of poorly written, regurgitated articles. It’s all in a bid to cater to users who have been complaining about spammy sites appearing in top search results.
While Google reports it makes approximately 500 changes to its algorithm a year, this one’s significant, and SEO types, business owners and users will likely notice changes.
“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,” Amit Singhal, a Google employee, and Matt Cutts, who leads Google’s anti-spam squad, wrote in a Google blog post. “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.”
Black Hat SEO Versus White Hat SEO
The updated algorithm, which is initially being unleashed in the US, reinforces the need for marketers and business to avoid black hat SEO techniques — illegal tactics that can get websites penalized or de-listed from search engines altogether.
Just days ago, The New York Times reported on how J.C. Penny was caught with thousands of unrelated websites in the retail industry linking to their site — a common black hat SEO maneuver. While the US-based retailer enjoyed a brief boost in online presence and sales, it’s now in Google’s bad books.
The short-term gains of black hat SEO do not make sense for a business seeking long-term success. Businesses are better off developing links from reputable websites and communities through quality web content, including articles and press releases, as well as videos and social media.
White hat SEO involves hard work and dedication, which can reap enduring results. Black hat SEO is risky business, with a high potential for unhappy endings. J.C. Penny learned this the hard way.