There are no SEO shortcuts: Older Web content dominates Google search

Businesses spend huge sums on search engine optimization to get onto the coveted first page of Google - it could be mostly wasted money
Written by Tom Foremski, Contributor

Older web pages dominate the first page of Google's search results and new page -- less than one year old -- represent just 0.3 percent of the top ten Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) for 2 million randomly selected keywords.

The Web Site Group prepared the following infographic based on a study by Ahrefs, a marketing tools company. It shows that the rank of a webpage in Google's results is largely a function of its age rather than on its content alone.

It's an important discovery because businesses large and small worry constantly about their position in Google's search results. Google changes its algorithm on a regular basis so that it can stay ahead of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques that try to get around Google's ranking algorithm.

Every business wants to be on the coveted first page of 10 links returned for a Google search. And they collectively spend large sums on SEO services and tools that promise to improve their Google ranking.

The Ahrefs study, however appears to show that businesses are wasting money pursuing SEO as a quick short-cut to attaining first page ranking. Ahrefs discovered that it takes two to three years to attain number one ranking on a keyword. Trust is a relationship that needs to be consistent over time in order to build. There is no shortcut through SEO and it's risky business, IMHO.

Google punishes companies that use SEO that goes beyond the basics in its web master guidelines because it sees it as a flagrant attempt to manipulate its search -- it's the mark of a spammer.

Manipulating Google...

Even if certain SEO techniques work today -- they could become very problematic in the future when Google moves to close such loopholes and sees who was trying to deliberately manipulate their ranking.

SEO practices that used to be common such as buying links on other sites to generate thousands of backlinks can now cause Google to lower the rank of the web site because Google can now distinguish link farms from organic links. Large numbers of backlinks from link farms is a clear and unerasable marker of attempted SERP manipulation.

SEO content editors...

Many businesses are concentrating on content marketing as they realize that every company needs to be a media company -- to some extent -- because if you are not seen you don't exist.

Companies are trying to produce high quality online content according to Google's claim that it will rank such pages higher. It is common to use SEO tools to edit the content to make sure it'll get a great response from Google.

But SEO tools do not test content for comprehension. The Googlebot can read but it cannot understand -- it's not that smart. And editing web page content with SEO tools is not that smart.

I've always advised businesses to focus on making sure their content is optimized for people and not bots. Let the search engines work on optimizing their own algorithms.

Create content for human visitors because the bot will be back but the human might not. Plus, it's people that buy stuff and bots generally do not.

Trust no shortcuts...

Trust takes time to build and SEO tricks can become a marker of mistrust. It takes time to rank highly in Google search and that's the way it should be.

The time it takes to develop trust and a high Google rank is a clear business advantage because it is something that cannot be bought.

The Ahrefs report clearly shows that businesses cannot buy their way onto the first page of results. Strategic stuffing of keywords into web page content and header data will not work. And there is no way to create a three-year old web page.

Here is the infographic of the Ahrefs study:

Ahref and The Website Group

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Please see: Media disruption: The race to the bottom is bottoming out...

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No good news for media industry in Internet Trends report

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