Links Vs. Factual Content: Will Google Lay the Golden SEO Egg?


SEO is constantly changing, as any company that has an SEO strategy in place well knows. Algorithms are being updated constantly, rewriting the rules all the time. Sometimes large changes are made, changing the SEO landscape overnight (just think back to the Panda and Penguin updates).

One such large change could well be coming in the future, but this time the suggestion is that Google is looking into the possibility of using the factual accuracy of websites as a ranking factor.

So what’s going on, and how could it affect your own SEO efforts?

Facts Over Links for Rankings

The news was originally reported by New Scientist, which claimed that researchers at Google could be working towards the goal of using facts on websites as a ranking factor. This would indicate a huge shift from the current main ranking factor of links from other websites.

Links show how much trust other websites have in a site, and they have long been an essential ranking factor. However, there are websites that, although popular in terms of the number of links they have, may not actually provide accurate content, and these could be in Google’s sites.

It can be frustrating when you are constantly beaten in the rankings by websites that do not have accurate content, so this could be great news for you. If Google places more emphasis on the information on your website than how much people trust it by linking to it, you may find that your own rankings rocket.

How Can Google Check Facts?

The question for many is how will Google check the facts? Well it turns out that Google has been building up a database of knowledge that contains a vast store of information and facts, called the Knowledge Vault.

This is constantly improving, and as it gathers more information, it continues to improve further. The bots scan the text on a web page and check the information against that in the Knowledge Vault, and if they learn new information, this goes into the vault.

Tests are looking interesting. Google has tested 2.8 billion facts that were discovered on 119 million web pages, and researchers claimed they could predict how trustworthy these pages were.

Could This Be the New Panda?

The Panda update in 2011, followed by the Penguin update in 2012, completely changed SEO for the better by putting even greater focus on returning quality results in the search engines. So could this be the next big one?

Google is constantly improving its search results. SEO companies like PosiRank are constantly reminding us of the importance of high-quality SEO (you can read about PosiRank here), so it should come as no surprise that Google is looking into new ways to improve its results.

The possibility of fact checking being used as a ranking factor is good news for users, and it is also good news for those companies going about SEO the right way. Getting your facts right should always be important when you publish content, and Google has always said that quality content is essential. Many companies may try to cheat the system, so for any websites that focus on providing quality, fact-checked information, it could be great news.

What You Can Do Now

Rather than starting to panic about the possible negative effects a change along these lines could have on your website, use the opportunity to start preparing.

It’s simple. Focus on the same SEO techniques that you currently use, but place even greater focus on your content. Whenever you publish new content from now on that is information or based on facts, always double check those facts to make sure you are not getting them wrong.

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In addition, go back to your existing content and analyze the facts you have included throughout your website. This could be a considerable task, and it may be something you want to outsource. But it your SEO is something you take seriously, it could be well worth the effort to prepare in advance.

Then again, if your website does not rely on factual information, any future algorithm change may not have much of an impact on your site. In this situation, just keep doing what you already are—focusing on producing the highest quality content you can.

Start Preparing Now

Whether a new factual accuracy update comes in or not, it’s clear that Google takes the accuracy of the information on your website very seriously. If you have not paid much attention to this in the past, now is the time to give it more focus. Don’t sit about waiting for a change to come into effect that could demolish your rankings overnight, and instead prepare for possible changes by making sure all of the information you publish on your site is accurate.

Louis Depal is a marketing consultant. He enjoys sharing his experiences on the web. His articles can be found mostly on marketing and SEO websites.

Featured image credit: ShutterStock

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