When it comes to website traffic generation, the often repeated mantra is “Content, content, content!” Unfortunately, this mantra is crock.
Many novices put up their most awe-inspiring content freely on their websites in the hope that Lady Luck will smile at them and let people magically find their wonderful works and spread the word about their brilliance. If Lady Luck does not smile at them, they may put on more effort in pumping out more brilliant content and pray to the Google gods (i.e. do ‘SEO’).
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these novices will be disappointed. Creating awesome content is only a small part of the game-plan. Praying to the Google gods (doing ‘SEO’) can only bring you so far. Due to the power of the positive feedback loop, it will be a hard slog before you reach the tipping point. If creating content and doing ‘SEO’is your only strategy, then your business may not even has the chance to reach the tipping point.
Do you know why?
Well, despite the brilliance of Google’s algorithms and computing power, they have an Achilles’ heel—Google cannot discern the quality of content the way you and I do. Google cannot tell if your website’s content is well-researched, thoughtful, useful, accurate, true, factual, well-written, objective and so on. The only way for Google to discern its quality is to depend on humans to provide signals associated with it (e.g. links, mentions, +1s, likes, recommends). The basic premise of SEO is to produce or encourage these signals in order to convince Google that your content is of high quality. If the signals you produce are fake and/or unnatural (which is what gaming Google is all about), Google will frown on you and slap you with a penalty.
In short, Google depends on people to tell it how ‘good’ a particular piece of content is. And that invariably assumes that popularity implies quality.
However, in the real world, popularity does not imply quality. The most popular girl in class is often not the nicest or the most kind-hearted one. The most popular books are not often the most well-written ones. The most popular celebrities are not often the best role-models.
What does this mean for you? Due to Google’s Achilles’ heel, if you expend all your efforts on producing the best-quality content, it will get you nowhere. To win in this game, you must be the most popular person in town as well (i.e. this is not to say that quality is not important). That means lots of marketing and publicity. Unfortunately, depending on your industry/niche, this may also mean doing a lot of distasteful things like a**e-licking, curry favouring, flattery, ear tickling and so on.
So, will quality win out in the end? Or winning popularity contests?