Google has made a major change to their search engine algorithm in an attempt to surface quality content and reduce rankings for low-quality sites. Currently the change has only rolled in the US, but Google expect to roll out the changes to the rest of the world in the near future.
The main aim of the search algorithm change is to reduce rankings for 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 they want to promote sites with original content and information such as research, in-depth reports, thoughtful analysis etc. The changes will be noticeable in around 12% of all Google search queries.
This is not the first time Google has made dramatic changes to their search algorithm. In the past Comparison Shopping Sites dominated Google search results for products until the day a Google change which drastically lowered their search position overnight.
This change shouldn’t affect sites which add genuinely unique and useful content. It will affect sites who either republish content from other sites, or who produce large amounts of content churned out specifically to rank highly in search results and not for the purpose of being useful or valuable to readers. Often writers are employed to churn out thousands of articles designed to attract clicks to the ads that appear alongside their content.
The best solution to this (and in fact any) Google change is to produce content which genuinely benefits readers of your site. The days of producing content stuffed with keywords, purely for SEO purposes, appear to be numbered. It’s time to stop writing content for SEO and to start producing genuinely useful original content for visitors to your site. If readers find your content useful then the chances are that Google will do likewise.