Can you compete against the big sites in search rankings? It may be getting harder, but old fashioned hard work, perseverance and content will do it as this article points out.
My first takeaway is that as Google moves to providing quality in its rankings, it is losing some of the egalitarian variety that you used to find. For many keywords, you may find a large site or brand has the top slot as well as an index of its major pages. Similarly Google Places displays a lot of content on location based searches. This ‘curation’ by Google leaves less room on the 1st page of search results.
But Google’s curatorial approach, in evidence in its the SERP crowding update, suggests that the search engine’s more interested in providing relevant expanded links for the sites that it ranks well, than delivering a variety of search results for users to choose from.
These days, quality trumps egalitarianism at Google.
The other big impact of Google’s updates is that the ‘get rich quick’ schemes of link building sites and content aggregation are both not an option any more. You can’t pay for links, link farms are a red flag and just piling on copied content doesn’t work.
You need to build content in an original and unique way on your site. Well-executed content curation can be a key component of this approach. Filtering out the best content, excerpting key quotes with attribution and then providing your own comments and opinions builds unique content. It is work and it takes time. But Google does recognize your efforts.
Along with this is making sure you are engaging your clients and users through social media. This provides the Social Signaling that Google looks for on a site. As the quote below points out, social and content marketing will get you climbing the search ranks in a natural, organic way.
In the short term, this will likely mean that smaller site owners, at least, must diversify their traffic sources significantly. As a consequence, a site with a more diverse traffic profile may have greater value.
Beyond that? Age, consistency, social reputation and quality are only going to get more important for your site’s search position.
Where new sites once focused on ranking well on search engines first up, the current trend sees smaller, newer sites focus more heavily on traffic tactics like social and content marketing until they find themselves naturally climbing the search ranks.