Once upon a time, links were the primary indicator of quality content. The third party link “votes”, and the value of those pages were scored by the Google bots and rankings were populated with that score being the predominant factor. This was in fact the backbone of Google’s philosophy dating back to Larry Page’s Back Bone project at Stanford in 1996.
Enter the era of social media where engagement with web pages can be measured like never before. With measurable engagement signals – tweets, shares, likes, pluses – good content could shine while meaningless filler content would be exposed. Useless pages that were written to fill blogs for the sole purpose of appearing to add “rich” content for the bots to gobble up would be easily recognizable and treated with appropriate disdain. It’s the new social web and backlinks are no longer the key factor in getting a site ranked because quality signals from great content are winning the day! ——-> Sadly, this is not completely true. Backlinks, and still many meaningless, spun, garbage content links are still being used successfully to influence rankings.
This week I spoke to a designer colleague who works for an SEO firm (shall remain nameless) who uses SENuke (spinning junk articles) and has had very recent and resounding success acquiring rankings in a very competitive niche market. Article spinning appears to continue to influence search rankings in the Post Penguin era – almost a year after the update – at least for now.
For the rest of us out there committed to content quality and the link/social magnetism associated with it are doing fine too, so I shouldn’t say that the SENuke users of the world are the only ones seeing success. Quality content and white hat SEO gets love too – long term love. One would think that Google bots will only get more intelligent over time, but for now spinners are still having some success with loads of content that is likely useful to no one which the lack of measurable social engagement would reveal as obvious.