Search engine optimisation (SEO) comes in a number of forms. You can focus on the basics and ensure your code and web design is in order, you can pour energy into generating links and you can look at your site's content.
Ultimately a balance of the above is likely to be the most useful for most websites. But a new set of advisable targets means that the role of content is becoming increasingly important. Traditionally SEO focuses on pushing a website as high as possible up the search engine results pages (SERPs), always aiming for that elusive number one spot. New thinking is now looking at the advantages of having a spread of results across the top two or three pages, for example, and content offers the best way of doing this.
Writing for Business2Community
, Kevin Jorgensen asked: “If you have one mathematically, hyper-optimised page in the top ten, is that better than having five solid content pages in the top 20 when it comes to visibility and lead generation?
“There [is] something very attractive and reassuring to a prospect who finds five solid pieces of your content on the first and second Google results pages. The take away here is that more great content can beat out one piece of SEO hyper-optimised content.”
With the introduction of Google's Panda update earlier this year many sites were actually punished in the rankings for over-optimising one page, while those that featured plenty of original content found themselves on the rise in the SERPs.
Google's Matt Cutts noted at the SXSW 2012 conference earlier this year: “All those people who have sort of been doing, for lack of a better word, ‘over optimisation’ or ‘overly’ doing their SEO, compared to the people who are just making great content and trying to make a fantastic site, we want to sort of make that playing field a little bit more level.”
At the end of the day Google is never going to give away its secrets to allow websites to openly manipulate results in their favour. What it will do is work harder to ensure that its users find what they're looking for and great content is usually pretty high up on a user's wish list. As Mr Jorgensen remarked, “If you want more leads, I'd bet on Google. I'd bet on content and I'd create lots of it.”