Should ‘Write To Rank’ Articles Be Punished by Google?

    February 3, 2011

Google has stated many times that content should be written for the reader of the content and not to rank in search engines. I assume this would go for YouTube videos as well. It is an excellent approach for search engines to take in my opinion because theoretically if every content producer follows this standard, search results would be filled with high quality relevant links.

Unfortunately, every blogger or content publisher doesn’t follow this ‘write for the user’ approach. Many spammy content mills working with black hat SEO companies have been creating this content for years. It often includes paid links to sites and is created to raise the search ranking of the SEO’s customers site in Google and other search engines. Google is aware of this and has been rather effective in keeping these articles out of top search results.

However, Google’s principal of rewarding publishers with top search results who create content for users rather than a high search result is now suspect. Google is clearly rewarding content that is produced by SEO’d content powerhouse Demand Media with top results in its search engine. They are major Adsense partners of Google as well which I delineated in my recent article, "Google: Are You Really Serious About Web Spam?".

Has Google’s search result philosophy changed? Is Google now encouraging all of us content makers to write for search results rather than the reader? If so, has Google jumped the shark as the greatest search engine by not favoring the best content over SEO’d content?

Demand Media which just had a highly successful IPO valuing the company at over $1.5 billion is openly running an SEO’d content mill.  They are producing content for the sole purpose of ranking for thousands of keywords in Google. They have article topic request for submitters that are based on titles that are designed specifically to rank for certain keywords in Google. They have search engine specialist employed to direct programmers to write sophisticated algorithms that give them data on what subjects to write about and how to structure articles to appear in top results for a search term.

Demand Media’s entire business model is built around creating content that will rank high in millions of long-tail search results which contain Google ads that will be clicked on over a number of years. Google is obviously aware of Demand’s SEO’d content and their Adwords revenue strategy which makes Google’s perceived stance of encouraging bloggers and publishers to write ‘content for users, not their search engine’ a joke.

The problem with content produced for search results is that it competes with content produced for users. It comes down to what makes the best search results, articles written with passion and experience and for the reader or articles written to rank high for a search term by someone paid ten bucks? 

Google, it’s time to revisit whether you want to remain the best in search or just the best in getting ad clicks.

And Google, in order to remain the best … you must punish with lower search results ‘write to rank’ articles!

More on the topic here: Demand Media CEO: Google Not Talking About Us