Is There a Future-Proof Google Content Strategy?

Before I jump into the importance of Google-proofing your online content, let me give you a background story.

Is There a Future-Proof Google Content Strategy?

In 2008, I built a network of academic support websites that include all sorts of articles. It turns out that there was a lot of demand for this type of online content and I was getting tens of thousands of visitors from Google every single day.

Back in those days, it didn’t really take much genius to rank for number one on search terms on Google. You only need to fill out all sorts of online forms to create a link targeting your anchor text or target keyword. You then mix this up by filling out social bookmarking sites, creating all sorts of Web2.0 profiles and creating all sorts of artificial blogs.

By building all these links and mixing up all those keywords, you can rank for quite a number of topical categories and flat out dominate them. And this is precisely what happened.

For the longest time, I was getting a tremendous amount of traffic from Google until it all stopped. It seemed like Google basically turned the faucet and turned off all that traffic. So what happened?

Well, it all boiled down to Google Panda. Google Panda is a content algorithm from Google and it sought to penalize using machine language and all sorts of artificial intelligence websites that fake their content. In other words, you just created content so you can get clicks to ads which then leads to you making a lot of money.

Well, this is all good for you, but it doesn’t really provide much value to people who use Google’s search engine. In the eyes of Google, you’re essentially poaching traffic and Google Panda put an effective end to all of that.

I tell you this very painful story because I was making over $10,000 a month using this strategy. And try as hard as I might to replicate my network, nothing seemed to work because Google Panda is so sophisticated and so intelligent in cracking down on content spam that pre-Panda content publishing strategies flat out fail.

And to make matters worse, Google followed up that algorithm with Google Penguin. Penguin, in turn, penalized backlinks. So this double whammy meant that people like me, who were creating all these low value websites were out of thousands of dollars of monthly income.

So what is the lesson of this story? The lesson is actually quite simple. You have to future-proof your online properties because regardless of how much traffic you’re getting now, Google might release an algorithm or update that would vaporize all that income. It really all boils down to that. No traffic means no income.

So how do you future-proof against Google’s mood swings, so to speak? Well, in terms of content strategy, it’s actually very basic. Really. In fact, it’s so simple you might even say out loud that you have thought of this because it’s almost like common sense.

So what am I talking about? Well, it really all boils down to putting yourself in the shoes of people who are going to be reading your content. From that perspective, what would you want to reap? What kind of value would you be looking for? Most importantly, what kind of experience would you be looking forward to? Using this information, create websites and content that deliver value.

Believe it or not, Google actually wants to partner with you. If you produce quality websites, Google would love to send you traffic because Google wins when they produce a meaningful and useful experience for their users, and you win because you get users who are truly interested in your content and, accordingly, are more likely to buy. It creates a win-win situation.

Unfortunately, a lot of webmasters do not have the time or patience to produce value. Accordingly, they would rather crank out tons of junk websites and get one click from each of these pages. Since they have hundreds of thousands of pages, this can translate to quite a lot of traffic.

Now, of course, a lot of this traffic is untargeted and could be dismissed as junk traffic, but if they set up their ads properly, they can convert enough of that junk traffic into cold hard cash, and this ends up incentivizing such bad content publishing behavior.

This is exactly the kind of situation Google wants to destroy, and that’s why they’re constantly releasing one update after another cracking down on all sorts of content abuse.

To future-proof yourself, you simply need to provide content that people would not only want to read now, but long into the future. It really doesn’t get any simpler than that.