The Internet is wonderful and terrible at the same time. When we need to research information, products, and more, we go to the Internet immediately. The terrible part? Trustworthy content on the Internet competes with content full of rumor, crazy conspiracy theories, and even downright lies for our attention. When asked about their trust of web content, 65% of more than 1600 respondents in our Content + Credibility Study said the content was “hit or miss” or altogether “unreliable.”
Google has taken notice of this growing content credibility problem. What is the search engine giant doing about it? Researching methods to check facts noted in content and, then, penalize content that has incorrect facts (aka lies). By penalize, I mean Google would prioritize truthful content over content with lies in search results. Now, Google has steadily added indicators of content quality and credibility ever since its Panda release in 2011. For example, if many sites link to your content, that is one indicator people find the content useful. But, this is the first time Google would actually fact check. A few sites do fact check and correct rumors, such as FactCheck.org and Snopes, but no site has the power to penalize content with false facts. Only search engines a la Google can do that.
How serious is Google about this fact checking stuff? Very.
Google is actively researching its approach, as The New Scientist was first to report. In fact, researchers at Google published a scientific paper explaining how they’re using Knowledge Graph to automate checking facts and judging content credibility.
So, it’s not a matter of if Google will add fact checking to its search algorithm but when. Can you start preparing? Yes. More importantly, you can use this inevitable change to Google’s search algorithm to justify resources for your content strategy.
Let’s review three key ways to both prepare for Google’s algorithm change and, at the same time, advance your content strategy.
The last thing you want is to have facts in old content muck up Google’s assessment of your content. So, use Google’s impending changes as an excuse to have your organization update its content. Institute an archiving strategy, as well. For insights related to content archiving, see Don’t Let Outdated SEO Advice “Bumble” Your Content Archiving Strategy.
The basics of quality and credibility are no longer an option for your organization’s content if you want customers or other people to find it. For example,
Also, don’t miss these resources:
Don’t wait to see what happens to your content’s search performance when Google releases its fact checking component. Start evaluating the effectiveness of your organization’s content now—and continue to do it on a monthly basis. This regular assessment can help you not only identify content that isn’t likely to “play well” with Google but also gather evidence for what content works and what doesn’t.
Tools can help. For example, we developed ContentWRX, a content evaluation platform that automatically assesses content effectiveness each month. Among its features, ContentWRX provides a breakdown of your content’s impact in these six dimensions:
The discovery, accuracy, and polish dimensions are particularly pertinent to Google’s impending fact checks.
Other tools that can help include:
When Google releases fact checking in its algorithm, Google will provide an explanation that should give clues to even more specific tactics you can use. But by taking advantage of these three opportunities now, you will not simply survive the future of SEO, you will garner the resources you need to thrive in it.
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