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Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe just wrote a piece on the battle that company websites have in maintaining their Google rankings. In the story, Kirsner reports that even TripAdvisor’s own properties, namely TravelPod, saw its positions fall. TripAdvisor runs the most frequently visited network of travel sites so they took a big rankings hit after the Farmer’s Update.

Kirsner then went on to talk about the guiding factors that influence search engine rank:

  • GOOD: how many times a search term shows up on a page
  • GOOD: how many other websites link to your site
  • BAD: copying content from other sites
  • BAD: paying for links from low-quality sites
  • BAD: including dozens of hidden keywords that visitors can’t see on the page
  • GOOD: Create relevant and useful content with original analysis that people will want to link to and share

Our Analysis of How to Rank on Page 1 of Google

Good story. The shuffle he’s talking about is called the Farmer’s Update. Google went on a rampage a couple of weeks ago and began lowering the ranking of websites that did not contain valuable content.

What I mean is this: Google has always rewarded sites with valuable content – content that is helpful, informative and educational. Some sites like eHow.com took advantage of this “content is more” thinking by publishing content that was half-conclusive, half-baked, frustrating to read and altogether not really informative and educational. Why would eHow.com do this? Because they want visitors to visit their site so those visitors will click on Ads (eHow makes money each time a visitor clicks on an Ad) and Google, seeing a lot of content and a lot of visitors, thought that they were providing a valuable experience. Obviously, eHow didn’t and Google, finally, after all these years, dropped them in their ranking. The lesson is this: content is good, fresh and unique content is better and really informative, educational, pertinent and helpful content is the best. If you always try to give website owners a reason to link to your content, there should always be inherent value in it.