Monthly Archives: February 2011

What is Good Content Anyway?

Good Content Google

Google’s latest algorithm change is all about degrading rankings for sites that produce low quality and non-unique content – ultimately, websites that provide absolutely no user value. The algorithm is live in the US version of the search engine and will soon be rolled out internationally.  Search Engine Land is one of several sites to have published information about the sites most negatively affected. It comes as little surprise that websites such as Ezine Articles and Suite101 were affected. But what is surprising many is the fact that, a website many thought would be one of the biggest losers in the change, has actually positively benefited.

So with no absolute clear indication from Google about what it deems “good content,” how do you know what’s good and what isn’t when it comes to your own website?

Unique Content

It’s an age old criterion but still applies. Regurgitating content that’s already been seen on hundreds of other websites is useless for your users and bad for your search engine rankings. Create your own!

Fresh Ideas

Rewording someone else’s article isn’t sufficient. That might be “uniquely worded,” but if the idea isn’t unique then it provides little value to your users and this seems to be more important since this major algorithm update. Google’s core aim is now about providing better results for users! This means saying something new – not just rewording something that someone else said. Carry out research of your own, put your own spin on things, share opinions and insights. Basically offer your users something on your website that they couldn’t get on thousands of other websites.

Mix It Up!

‘Content’ isn’t restricted to text. Mix it up. Go for video, images and audio. This is not only a good SEO strategy but enhances the experience of users.

Credible Content

Research your facts and figures. Make sure everything you claim to be fact is accurate and well researched. This might not necessarily be something that can be accounted for in an algorithm update, but your users will value it and this means they’re more likely to share it. The more people who share, the more potential there is for some valuable SEO benefit.

Up to Date

Keep content up to date. If your website relates to a topical area that is always changing and developing, then your content should reflect this. You don’t necessarily need to update your homepage to account for every single change in your industry but a blog is a great way of posting your opinions about related news or your own research and findings.

User Engagement

Content that encourages the user to engage is a winner. Polls, questions, debate… encourage your users to leave comments. If your content can inspire someone to take time out of their own day to leave a meaningful comment, then you’re doing something right.

Ultimately, your site’s content should be for humans. Think less about the search engines and more about users when you’re first drafting your content. Google Bot, after all, is unlikely to be browsing your blog with a coffee looking to enjoy a leisurely read.

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Google Tackles Low Quality Content

Google announced an algorithm update this week – one that currently affects the US search engine only. But it’s going to be rolled out globally in the not so distance future and that means you and your website need to be ready for it.

So what are the key facts?

  • This change will affect almost 12% of websites.
  • Its aims are to reward sites with unique, high quality content and to downgrade the rankings of sites using large amounts of mass produced and lower quality content with an ultimate objective of enhancing the quality of its search results.


Google’s announcement read:

“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.”

What is Low Quality Content?

Well, obviously Google didn’t provide us with any specific examples. But it’s a safe assumption that duplicate content will continue to be a no-go. It’s probably also fair to assume that sites using large amounts of spun content, which offers no unique angle or information on anything might also be subject to a drop in rankings.

Making Sure Your Site Isn’t Affected

The rules remain pretty much as they were. Produce unique, relevant, high quality content for your website. This could include conducting your own research and publishing your findings, taking a new angle on your industry and sharing your opinion or just generally having something to say that isn’t the same as what’s being said on thousands of other websites already.

How it Affects Link Building

Any SEO campaign that relies entirely upon the distribution of low quality content to websites that just reproduce poor quality articles in large quantities could be subject to a bit of a hiccup. Even if your own website has high quality, unique content – if your back links come in full from sites that will be negatively impacted, then your SEO campaign might stumble as those links have less value.

This now places more emphasis on natural link building methods and building relationships with high quality community driven websites.

It’s ultimately a positive change for search engine users who are tired of finding poor quality results when they search. And unless you rely on copied, low quality content on your site, it shouldn’t be a negative thing for you either.

Another big change geared towards combating spam and low quality on the web. Bravo, Google.

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Smartphone Poll

If you intend to buy a smartphone in the next three months, what brand will it be?

There’s an excellent poll taking place at the moment on LinkedIN asking that very question. Yuo can find that here.

We’re keeping a close eye on the results and what’s fascinating is that (as of 23rd Feb at 11.30am at least), of the 1800+ people who have taken part, 34% have answered “Android.” This isn’t too far behind the iPhone’s 38%.

The results as of 11:30am on 23rd Feb 2011

If you haven’t taken part yet, go along and cast your vote. A great poll!

Comments Off | Posted on in Apps.

Blekko – Just Another Search Engine?

Blekko, for those of you who haven’t yet heard, is the new kid on the search engine block. Granted, it’s not all that brand spangly new (founded in 2007), but it’s really starting to garner some attention in recent months. It boasted 1 million searches a day during January 2011. Granted, that’s not quite the 3 billion that Google boasts, but it’s certainly not bad for a new entrant into a market dominated by technology giants, Google and Microsoft.

There are a few things that set it apart from the many “newbies,” that attempt to enter the search engine market.

Ashton Kutcher

Aside from being a God-like presence on Twitter, the (incredibly good looking) husband of Demi Moore and an A-list celebrity, Ashton Kutcher is Blekko’s biggest fan. So much so, that he’s invested $200,000 into the new search engine. Now that’s a pretty good investment for Blekko to get – not just for the $$ but for the association of such a high profile star. That in itself has generated a lot of press and a lot of awareness.


This is Blekko’s biggest boasting point. “Slashtags,” which allow users to organise results. There’s a pretty comprehensive explanation of Slashtags here.

User Opinion

The SERPs display links beneath the website titles that allow users to vote in favour of or against a website.

On that note, it’s interesting that “Blekko” ranks itself first for “search engine.” If you perform the same search in Google, Dogpile ranks first, Bing! ranks second,Wikipedia ranks third and is a 6th place entry!! Blekko isn’t really embracing the competition now, is it?

These votes are used by Blekko to analyse whether a site is high quality or whether it is spam. Perhaps a good idea in theory, but this is open to so much abuse.


Founder Rich Skrenta defines Blekko’s aim as being to “clean up Web search and get all the spam out of it.” Not so dissimilar to Google’s core aim – particularly in regard to getting rid of “content farms.” But Blekko’s approach to clearing out “spam,” is proving a bit controversial. Personally, I can’t decide whether it’s genius or simply ridiculous.

You can openly see which sites have been deemed “spam,” by Blekko from a link in the footer of

Controversially, websites like and have recently been deemed spam and added to this list – thus removed from search results.

Now, while I am all for clamping down on sites made up, largely, of poor quality content, this is completely subject to opinion in some cases. I have used Experts Exchange and the quality moderation process is tight. I’ve always found the content (for the most part) to be reasonable and by no means any worse than a large number of the sites that have not been added to Blekko’s spam list.

Link and SEO Stats

This is something I really do genuinely like about Blekko. Within the SERP, you can click to view the site’s links and some of its SEO statistics. This is publicly available – not just available to the webmasters.

Honestly, I do like that feature.

Blekko – Good or Bad?

Sorry to sit firmly on the fence here, but I am just not sure. I love certain features (such as the SEO stats) but I think the fact that the user “likes,” and “spam” votes have so much influence over rankings is potentially a downfall. It will be abused. Of course, it would be wonderful to have a world where there was no web spam. But just haphazardly banning sites based on user votes doesn’t seem to make much sense to me.

As I said, I’m sitting firmly on the fence. I don’t dislike the search engine – but (at least for now) I wouldn’t use it myself when looking for something online. Definitely one to keep an eye on though.

Comments Off | Posted on in Search.

3 Points in the Creative League!

Our recent Creative League related posts haven’t been all that happy.  We were going into last night’s match against CTI with a whopping zero points. After playing Return on Digital last week and losing 12-11 (after having been 4-0 up at one point) we were feeling frustrated, to say the least.

CTI were third (on goal difference) going into last night’s game and had some decent wins under their belt. We were expecting a tough match. We were psyching ourselves up all week (Mark Bebbington was so psyched up he was almost doing laps of the office) and knew anything other than three points on the board last night was going to result in tantrums and ridicule – again.

We’ll cut to the chase and tell you we won 15 – 7! We were organised and confident last night and it produced results. Our seemingly eternal losing streak obviously endeared us to some, as we could hear encouragement directed our way from the sidelines.

It was rather nice not to be the team swearing at ourselves and leaving the pitch with heads down.

We’re now 7th in the league (pushing for a Europa League place, surely)!

Here’s hoping it’s the start of a long winning streak!

Tecmark - the digital marketing agency