Google’s latest update to its search algorithms left some businesses feeling as though the bottom dropped out of their web traffic. That last update, dubbed ‘Panda’ has only recently gone global, but the effects are noticeable on many fronts. Content farms such as eHow, EzineArticles, and others have seen dramatic drops in their search engine results. However, there is a bright side to this seemingly dark cloud.

Namely, the fact that quality, well-written content is finally getting the chance to rise in the rankings. It doesn’t take posting to content farms 7 days a week to get good rankings. The idea of “content is king” sent many small businesses and professionals into a tizzy of content spamming. Now I think we can safely revise that phrase to…

Quality Content is King”

That means it’s more important to give your readers and website visitors a “good read” versus a ton of mediocre information that they will just ignore. What qualifies as a good read will vary depending on your particular audience, but in general it should encompass at least these 4 things:

  1. Timeliness — Get your updates out there while the news is fresh. Teasers of upcoming products, updates, and changes are great information for users and can help build excitement. Likewise, if you uncover a problem, let your readership know that it’s been discovered and you are taking care of it.
  2. Relevance — Never post just to “get something out there” on your website. Make sure the information you post is something that users are going to want to read, and that aligns well with your keyword strategy. Tip of the Week articles are great for this.
  3. The Takeaway — Give your readers a reason to share the content with others. Whether it’s a quick factsheet to download, a guide, or just some useful information, users will be more inclined to share if there is real value in your content.
  4. Entertainment — Would your software update notes be more effective with an accompanying video tutorial with the changes? Could you have a webinar on your professional site highlighting your latest service offering? Think of ways to “entertain” your site visitors and you’ll get more repeat visits and better engagement.

Now, with those four ideas in place, should you update your website less often? If you find that you are posting content just for content’s sake, then the answer is a resounding YES! Update only when it’s going to be of interest and of use to your readership, otherwise you run the risk of falling under the same guillotine that landed on the content farms.

Instead of publishing a daily blog, why not a weekly or monthly newsletter? Would your users get more out of articles on your site, or a regular email column sent out to subscribers? Ultimately, you want the content on your site to be a reflection of how you value your readership – whether that’s a blog post on the latest software release, or an article that teaches users how to prepare their garden for spring planting.

Write for the readers, use smart keyword placement, and let the Google ranking take care of itself.