A Scenic Tour of the Online World

How Content Influences Search

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Great article in the New York Times today about The Huffington Post’s SEO skills and how they helped make the site such an attractive acquisition target for AOL.

The article outlines how “HuffPo” creates articles based on popular searches, which helps push them to the top of the search engine results pages.

The article also talks about other content aggregators who do so in less savory manners and how Google and the other search engines are trying to eliminate these frequently less-than-useful links from their search results.

The most interesting bit of the article to me, though, was Matt Cutts’ comment about best white-hat SEO practices.

“One piece of advice I give to S.E.O. masters is, don’t chase after Google’s algorithm, chase after your best interpretation of what users want, because that’s what Google’s chasing after,” he said.

We’ve been singing that tune for a long time. Worry less about gaming the system and more about creating great content for the audience you want to attract. With the rise of social media and other trusted sources, plain old search has lost a bit (but only a tiny bit, probably) of its primacy.

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