Google Language Change: Content That Gets Used & Shared, Not Linked To.

Jun 20, 2013 • 9:15 am | comments (71) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under Google Search Engine Optimization
 

Google Social SearchAs I reported yesterday at Search Engine Land with Google Changes Ranking Advice, Says Build Quality Sites Not Links - Google made a change to their messaging on the ranking article help document. This was first spotted by @Baeumlisberger and it is an important change.

As I said yesterday, this "change is to keep Google consistent with their general change in messaging that content is what webmasters should focus on, not links."

What was the actual change? The line use to read, "In general, webmasters can improve the rank of their sites by increasing the number of high-quality sites that link to their pages." Google changed the last part to read "by creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share."

So it is no longer about increasing the number of quality links, it is more about increasing people who want to use and share your content. Again, this is Google's new messaging.

It is not to say that links are not as important and that social is more important. Social is currently not so important, but that may change in the future. It is the way webmasters should think about their content.

Here are screen shots from before and after...

Old:

Google high quality links

New:

Google high quality content

Some folks feel Google is trying to water down things and confuse webmasters.

Forum discussion at Threadwatch, Google+ and Twitter.

Previous story: I Want To Delete My Discussion Forum: Should I 404 It?
 

Comments:

Pixelrage

06/20/2013 01:48 pm

Freudian slip? If the latter were true, then all of these big businesses with unlimited daily budgets for copywriters/linkbuilders will have as much of a chance to rank as the guy who works out of his basement...and I'm still finding that hard to believe, given how things go on Google in the past couple years.

Anti-SEO

06/20/2013 01:57 pm

" people who want to use " = Return Visitors

ethalon

06/20/2013 01:59 pm

Big brands are brands and will always be linked to more than the 'little guy'. The chance to rank isn't equal based on the publics knowledge of, and previous interaction with, the brand. The small guy has a chance if he starts slow and builds up to 'brand status'. Look at Zappos, they are a perfect example of this.

Bill Ross

06/20/2013 02:30 pm

Take a breath everyone.. :) It's not that links are going away or that they don't matter - and this advice is not anything new - it's just how they [Google] are positioning it. Instead of giving you one specific thing (action) that will "increase your rankings" they are now saying, "create something of value that will naturally (editorially) earn the links, usage and social shares it deserves". Now that does not mean you can just build something that is "pretty" and expect it to do well in the SERPs or expect people to use it. User focused SEO has always (at its core) been about creating something of value for your target personas (or those you want to target) that helps them through their informational or commercial journey, and then marketing (giving it a nudge) said content asset to gain editorial links and social reach. Does it make SEO more difficult, yeh.. is there a more complex barrier to entry, yup..does it mean that SEOs need to be even more involved and integrated into internal teams during every aspect of a website build or redesign, HELL YES.. does it force an evolution of the strategy behind SEO..I hope so...but is that such a bad thing?

Stephen Slater

06/20/2013 02:31 pm

I don't think this is an attempt to water anything down. This appears to be an attempt to make the message as consistent as possible. Backlinks should have always been built in an attempt to drive quality traffic. SEOs gamed the system and now Google has changed the game. The new message is consistent with the new rules.

Durant Imboden

06/20/2013 02:41 pm

The moral is pretty simple: 1) Create content with intrinsic value, and you'll attract organic links. 2) Traditional link-building will become a fool's errand as Google becomes more adept (or perhaps more aggressive) in filtering out junk links and artificial links when counting links as "votes" or citations.

webmaster

06/20/2013 02:52 pm

In general webmaster can create high quality site or not creating it. But google will find a way how to penalize your site in both cases.

web

06/20/2013 02:56 pm

moral is pretty simple, no free traffic today if no rain on the sun. If you create some small store - lot of peoples will share it everywhere just because this google new guidelines.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 03:38 pm

So funny, that Google changes its tune from LINK/LINK/LINK to uh quality? Just goes to show that Google was based on spamming. Reminds me of the play Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw. No matter how Google tries to personify quality, its still spammy.

John

06/20/2013 04:03 pm

I think when he says shared, that's same as linking

Anonymous

06/20/2013 04:41 pm

Having a forum would give you an extra point. You have something that your competitors may not have it. This forum might be the reason you're doing this good at this point of time. In my opinion, the best is to keep the forum and just disable additional comments or posts. So, people still would have access to the available resources and it would be nice archive in a sense.

Anonymous

06/20/2013 04:49 pm

This respond wasn't meant for this page, please have it removed. Thanks.

webmaster

06/20/2013 05:24 pm

It is just incredible some times the results that google show for some keywords, for exmaple in google.es for the keyword bet365 in the first 10 results you will see a one page website and the other a redirect website to the sponsor page.http://www.google.es/#gs_rn=17&gs_ri=psy-ab&suggest=p&cp=4&gs_id=5z&xhr=t&q=bet365&es_nrs=true&pf=p&output=search&sclient=psy-ab&oq=bet3&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_qf.&bvm=bv.48175248,d.dmg&fp=38f8a1fac0afadd5&biw=1920&bih=886

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 06:02 pm

Everyone is feeling the pinch - Today activerain dot com email blasted a discount for its membership. "This is the lowest price we have ever offered!" Wow, I should jump at it. But what is the point of posting a blog on another network to get another potential Google penalized backlink? Why bother. Just post on your own blog and hope someone will be 'kind' enough to backlink you on some other network. Which we know never happens, unless you're 'Anti-SEO' The end result is a drop in interest and contributions to other networks because the attraction of backlinking no longer exists.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 06:05 pm

In real estate serps, many pages are ZILLOW, ZILLOW, ZILLOW Zillow puts on its pages Google PPC, while most agents do not because they're tacky and spammy looking. Its a business decision Google made

Sergey M

06/20/2013 06:27 pm

No guys, this has nothing to do with backlinking anymore. Google has been sending strong messages along with algo changes to show the world that it is not about link building. And they are actually right! The real translation of this message is simple too. How do we show that users like and share our content? Well, if users like the content then they will bookmark it. If users want to share the content they will share it through facebook, Google Plus or Twitter. Isn't it obvious? And I do confirm that bookmarking and social sharing does work these days better than ever. I hope the readers of my message will not become my competitors in Los Angeles area :)

ethalon

06/20/2013 06:52 pm

Yea...but legitimate backlinks actually do happen all the time; it's all about content and audience. Besides, our competition out links us easily, but we dominate the SERPs for important industry keywords. They come into my site all the time, haven't asked for a single link excepting one nofollow, non-anchor text link on a vendors page of a company we deal with.

ethalon

06/20/2013 06:55 pm

Zillow is also recognized as an authority in it's niche (earned accolade or not, it gets quoted in the news and in the online sites for news; I know I heard it mentioned at least twice on NPR). But let's blame it on the fact that they are serving up ads, that must be why.

Fedor

06/20/2013 06:58 pm

It's purely idiotic to base rankings on sharing. Last thing I want is to have people share links about toe fungus or why their baby's poo is green or what that crusty stuff in your eyes is in the morning. No one wants to read about your disgusting medical issues etc.It might sounds good from Google's' perspective but many sites are just not that share-able. Usable, well that's one good idea. Having a site people can actually use is probably a good start.

Kerry Treonte

06/20/2013 07:37 pm

The previous guidelines were stupid, Google was essentially telling you to get links. If you think links don't matter, I have a bridge to sell you. Whatever Google tells you not to do works. You are getting penalized anyway, my extremely white hat sites have lost 90% of the traffic post Panda.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:38 pm

What ur saying is logical and makes sense. Thats why Google hasn't implemented any of it. IN fact MOST websites are not ones you would want to talk about anywhere. Google CHOSE linking as a popularity indicator. That was and still is, their failure. Another example: Real estate. Its confidential. Nobody will post saying what a great property it is because someone else will buy it. Nobody posts how great that experience was spending millions with that real estate agent, unless they're asked. So how should we rate websites? How can we improve where Google failed. User experience.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:39 pm

What is your site. I would love to see it. Really

ethalon

06/20/2013 07:42 pm

Unfortunately, I am in-house and sharing the site to this crowd would be an awful idea. It's a nice site though, and our user experience trumps the competitors, which is what I think is helping us to rank as well as we do.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:43 pm

"Zillow is also recognized as an authority" - please Zillow is a scraper Many cities have sites offering tax info and much more that don't come close to featuring. Zillow is an advertiser of real estate agents Zillow offers out dated MLS listings

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:44 pm

I was asking ET. There's a saying. All advertising is good advertising You guys are just shy

ethalon

06/20/2013 07:48 pm

It also aggregates and distributes industry data on the housing market, which is how it gets the press it does and why, I think, it ranks like it does. If Zillow is all over the first page, that is a problem and should be addressed. I am sure it does happen in some markets, but checking my area I see: Zillow adwords ad (and two other advertisers) two organic listings that aren't Zillow the local listings for real estate, none of which are Zillow and then way down at the bottom I see two Zillow listings (8 and 9) Are there markets you watch that are different? I am in a rural/bedroom county and maybe more built up areas see more crowding.

Sergey M

06/20/2013 07:50 pm

Well, Google's plan is to rank a quality and useful sites in the organic results. But how can you tell if the website is useful or not? Links? Absolutely not! Links are made by webmasters and whoever gets the better link is dominating the field. That is why social sharing became a main ranking factor. Because if the search engine sees that people share it a lot, then this signals Google there is something interesting and useful on the website to users. I am not the one who makes the guidelines, I am the one to share the new technique that actually works better than ever. Now we have a great opportunity to rank a fairly new website in any competitive field that we want in a short time,..... if we follow new guidelines. If you continue to build links, it will rank... for a little while and then you get penalized. This is as simple as that.

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:51 pm

The info on Zillow is notoriously outdated and inaccurate. Just because you run 1 search on real estate and say "Lookeee here. I see no problem" means nothing. Zero, nadda I do hundreds a day on multiple google.ca, google.com, google. bla bla . DO as I do and get a more accurate opinion

ethalon

06/20/2013 07:51 pm

The attention some of you guys would bring to the site would, at the very least, probably leave me in a meeting with the CEO. Not to mention I don't want to deal with a deluge of crap links getting sent my way; I have other things to do that don't include the disavow tool. Besides, we are B2B and B2Gov and B2Edu; we advertise in very specific channels and to a very specific customer base.

ethalon

06/20/2013 07:53 pm

Which is why I said: "Are there markets you watch that are different? I am in a rural/bedroom county and maybe more built up areas see more crowding." So...?

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:54 pm

You not Sergey Brin from Google I hope or his nasty cousin? "Now we have a great opportunity" now? Now after Google has totally messed up the internet? Now is a good time? Now is a good time to let Google go the way of the DODO

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:56 pm

Snooze

Graham Ginsberg

06/20/2013 07:56 pm

Suggestion old boy is that you refrain from talking about your site because you won't offer it up for scrutiny. You remind me of a virgin flashing her wares

ethalon

06/20/2013 07:58 pm

...so I attempt to gain more knowledge of your problem and you blame me for not having enough info. I restate the opinion and you...pretend to be asleep?

Sergey M

06/20/2013 08:04 pm

No, I am not related to Google :) I totally understand the frustration of the SEO world and I am personally cancelled at least two clients because it is too hard to clean the old website than build a new one according to newest guidelines. I just want to share some useful information to other people. SEO is not dead and it is much easier these days to rank website than two years ago. Why? Because I explained in my previous posts :)

Shaun

06/20/2013 08:35 pm

Isn't sharing something the same as linking to it? You can't share it without linking to it or people woudnt know where to go. I think this is just Google trying to sound better

Sergey M

06/20/2013 08:59 pm

It is kind of linking, yes. But different kind of link which work the best at this point

Francisco Meza

06/20/2013 10:06 pm

Sharing is caring. There will always be changes. First link building, next sharing, next reviews or who knows what. Just do them all.

hitchhiker999

06/20/2013 10:07 pm

You're probably right, but it's a terrible sign of things to come. Social / Sharing signals favour 'editorialised content', they largely ignore 'academia' and 'educational material'. + A great deal isn't usually shared: medical, private, edge-media etc. The only people who can drum up large social audiences are celebrities or big-business. The exception is the occasional 'viral' or 'great idea' - for that it's wonderful. We'll get more 'lowest-common-denominator' content. For the SME or hobbyist it's a death sentence. Quality on-page, user-experience, user-feedback, user-bounceback - although extremely difficult - were the main signals that should have matured and remained in focus.

sestuff

06/21/2013 12:05 am

Open your own site and come back in 10 years to tell us about it. By "our" I assume your boss? Glad to hear your boss is doing well. As for you, you're not trumping nor ranking.

Fedor

06/21/2013 12:35 am

Well, since Google is spying on everyone using their properties, they already know what you click, how often you click it and when you don't click it. They will tell YOU what you like, and in many cases already do. We're just puppets, making them moneys.

brand

06/21/2013 12:52 am

funny photos can become viral, business site - no ways.

brand

06/21/2013 12:54 am

don't interfere, lets google go their self-destruction way.

brand

06/21/2013 12:55 am

because easy way to create site on new domain, and it will ranks until penguin or panda. may be for one-two monthes max.

brand

06/21/2013 12:56 am

new guidelines same stupid as previous one. google not lives in real world, they think what visitors will share your site in social networks and create links to your site because it written in google guidelines.

brand

06/21/2013 12:58 am

but with latest G changes about health queries, situation even worse. google health catalog with preaproved autoscrapped sites.

brand

06/21/2013 12:59 am

if all traffic goes to big brands/old sites, here is no will any user experience for new sites. because brands is like preapproved sites (see health queries for example)

brand

06/21/2013 01:00 am

they have this information, but too lazy to use it for full. but may be prism using it, who knows.

brand

06/21/2013 01:02 am

do some test, buy some likes/g+1/tweets/retweets, combine with web20. also add few chrome bookmarkers into this coctail and you will see results ;)

Yogita Aggarwal

06/21/2013 03:24 am

Good to see the new Ranking Guidelines by Google.... Google is just trying to be more relevant and informative...

Jarret Barber

06/21/2013 04:58 am

I don't think everyone should be getting too worried. Sharing is social yes, but isn't sharing a form of me linking to you from my site because i find your content interesting and relevant? Or me providing a relevant resource (link) that might be relevant/useful for my visitors? Google has been saying for a long time now the best strategy is to create awesome content, it was just a matter of time before they changed their reading material to fully reflect that. Links are no where near dying. In terms of "use", perhaps Google is taking more into account visitor metrics more such as time on site, bounce, page views etc What are people's thoughts?

Alan Smith

06/21/2013 11:20 am

Latest one is more perfect :)

ethalon

06/21/2013 12:19 pm

I don't know why you seem to think working in-house disqualifies me from the conversation, or that it disqualifies me from owning my own site(s). Are you looking for a pissing match or something? In-house, consultant, and site owner all bring unique insights into this subject, but that is just my opinion and I wasn't aware of the 'you must own this many sites to participate' sign. Oh well, no point in arguing about what you or I do for a living and what we do for supplemental income.

Anti-SEO

06/21/2013 12:19 pm

Just watch what is shared while you browse. Everything related to Online is heavily shared. Everything related to Offline is rarely shared. The motivation to share is totally different for Online and Offline people. Offline people don't see the reason for this additional action while they are online. Share (by itself) doesn't add value to their online experience. Why share? So, this is just another questionable signal in the bunch of others. However I doubt it's possible to find unbeatable signals.

Peter Alex Leigh

06/21/2013 12:25 pm

There is no change except for the wording used. It is making a clearer definition between links designed for SERP manipulation and genuine links.

ethalon

06/21/2013 12:34 pm

"Share (by itself) doesn't add value to their online experience. Why share?" I am interested in why you think this, and kind of want to take the conversation on a bit of a detour: I would argue that 'sharing' has always been a big part of why and how people interact with content online. Sure, there is a large portion of online activity that is individual-centric, but I have found that a lot of real enjoyment comes from sharing things with others (either people you only know online or people you know from your grass and air life). Perhaps the difference is in how you choose to define 'value'. I would say that experiencing enjoyment and, to a different extent, developing personal relationships with those from far-flung corners of the world is the main 'value' I derive from my online experience. Information accumulation and learning is fantastic, and I find value in that as well, but I am often struck at how much 'sharing' (either by acting as a guide to something new, or sharing a photo you think your sister will enjoy or by lending a helping hand by contributing your existing knowledge) has shaped my online experience all these years. I value the chance I have to share and to be shared with. Isn't that why 'social' has become such a huge force online? Surely there is some value in that. To be a bit more on topic to your original point: Social sharing is, in my opinion, a bad signal for ranking. I am sure it is or will be at least a tiny part of the ranking algorithm...but it is too easily abused, much more easily abused than links became. If they choose to go the social sharing route as a major ranking indicator I think we will just find ourselves in the same panic as mid 2012 all over again.

Anti-SEO

06/21/2013 01:35 pm

The "value" changes by itself. The "value", described by you, is the "new-thing-value". You want to share it, you want others would be same excited as you are ... You get positive emotions from the "new thing" and want to share them ... It worked, when the internet was the new thing. Nowadays the internet is more like an ordinary thing. Still not for everything, but more and more people feel it like a ...... newspaper ) Do you share newspaper ? When last time did you see person, running down the street, to share the picture from the newspaper ? ) Newspaper is the utilitarian thing. Compare reaction on the movies 100 years ago and nowadays. Things become utilitarian sooner or later. People are not so excited about them with the time going by. I see prove of this every day with my visitors. The questions people ask are very down to earth. Their discussions are not excited at all, but very practical. They count there time online and want to get maximum value during this time. This is the "common-thing-value". Share must add certain value, otherwise why waste the time ? Imagine you need to know the time while outside. You stop the person, ask the question, get the answer and what do you do next ? You don't call to your friends to say "Imagine what I just get", do you ? ) Internet became The "value" changes by itself. The "value", described by you, is the "new-thing-value". You want to share it, you want others would be same excited as you are ... You get positive emotions from the "new thing" and want to share them ... It worked, when the internet was the new thing. Nowadays the internet is more like an ordinary thing. Still not for everything, but more and more people feel it like a ...... newspaper ) Do you share newspaper ? When last time did you see person, running down the street, to share the picture from the newspaper ? ) Newspaper is the utilitarian thing. Compare reaction on the movies 100 years ago and nowadays. Things become utilitarian sooner or later. People are not so excited about them with the time going by. I see prove of this every day with my visitors. The questions people ask are very down to earth. Their discussions are not excited at all, but very practical. They count there time online and want to get maximum value during this time. This is the "common-thing-value". Share must add certain value, otherwise why waste the time ? Imagine you need to know the time while outside. You stop the person, ask the question, get the answer and what do you do next ? You don't call to your friends to say "Imagine what I just get", do you ? ) Internet became utilitarian thing. Means nothing to be excited (share) about in most cases.

Anti-SEO

06/21/2013 01:37 pm

ups )

Anti-SEO

06/21/2013 01:42 pm

A bit of mess ... Should be like this : The "value" changes by itself. The "value", described by you, is the "new-thing-value". You want to share it, you want others would be same excited as you are ... You get positive emotions from the "new thing" and want to share them ... It worked, when the internet was the new thing. Nowadays the internet is more like an ordinary thing. Still not for everything, but more and more people feel it like a ...... newspaper ) Do you share newspaper ? When last time did you see person, running down the street, to share the picture from the newspaper ? ) Newspaper is the utilitarian thing. Compare reaction on the movies 100 years ago and nowadays. Things become utilitarian sooner or later. People are not so excited about them with the time going by. I see prove of this every day with my visitors. The questions people ask are very down to earth. Their discussions are not excited at all, but very practical. They count there time online and want to get maximum value during this time. This is the "common-thing-value". Share must add certain value, otherwise why waste the time ? Imagine you need to know the time while outside. You stop the person, ask the question, get the answer and what do you do next ? You don't call to your friends to say "Imagine what I just get", do you ? ) Internet became utilitarian thing. Means nothing to be excited (share) about in most cases. Pardon )

Anti-SEO

06/21/2013 07:32 pm

Additional info about the social stuff : https://sites.google.com/site/standingovationmodel/

sestuff

06/21/2013 11:06 pm

Well, for the sake of your boss, I hope you do own a site. As for your insights, I'm sure you've learned something from working "in-house" but you've got a long way to go. My beef isn't with you participating it's with how you participate, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion so stick to what you believe - just don't expect all of us to sit around and agree with what you have to say. I could also careless about what you do for a living - as long as it's an honest living it doesn't matter.

Stephen Moyers

06/22/2013 06:20 am

Go more social share more quality content is good for ranking in future perspective. Feel nice to hear this.

andyyo

06/22/2013 12:25 pm

Exactly. What is "sharing" if not pointing a link to something? Scraping an article?

Madhav Tripathi

06/22/2013 01:51 pm

So upcoming guidelines and algorithms would be based on the sites which users like to use and share.

Juan Manuel Garrido

06/22/2013 03:34 pm

This is only bulls##t to confuse us.

agentblackhat.com

06/23/2013 12:06 pm

Define "want to use and share"

brand

06/23/2013 08:47 pm

in adult it not will work for example. Also for any business site, peoples not love to share where they purchased new sex toy or rented some dvd, or purchased new tv. but for funny pictures, rumors, blackmail it will work. So google will able to rank this sites only. For other queries - here is wikipedia and big brands

brand

06/23/2013 08:50 pm

exactly. i even just analyzed top 10 sites lsi keywords and have found what here is very few similarities (very very few lsi keywords, so it mean other ranking factor (whitelist?) is working here.

Guest

06/24/2013 07:02 am

creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share.

Kendy Frank

06/24/2013 07:07 am

creating high-quality sites that users will want to use and share

clevergareth

06/24/2013 09:24 am

Google can't understand sharing, as nobody uses G+ and they don't have access to Twitter / Facebook data. So they'll continue to base their algorithm mostly on links... as always.

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