There are plenty of articles and websites dedicated to the Google algorithm; how to beat it, how to hack it, how to trick it and how to work around it in order to achieve higher SEO rankings. Of course, outside of the staff in what I assume is a large stainless steel building with no windows and a large door with “Google” emblazoned across it, nobody knows what exactly the algorithm does. We have had plenty of clues, and there are heaps of SEO agencies (ourselves included) who are sad enough to conduct numerous experiments to learn more about how the search engine will respond to various inputs. We know that backlinks, internal linking, content length and content quality are crucial for good rankings and we know that Google can see through any attempts to circumvent a system that it, in the end, based on fair play.

glasses.jpgAnd herein lies the rub. Google’s algorithm is not designed with content creators in mind. This isn’t to say that Google doesn’t care, it’s just that it has a much bigger priority – the customers who visit the site and ask for the fastest way to bake a cake and where the best local Mexican restaurant is. These are the queries that lie at the core of Google’s business model and the organisation itself will only remain viable as long as a majority of the planet considers Google to be the first port of call for almost every question imaginable. If the quality of search responses decreases or content producers and SEO practitioners find a way to circumvent the system, the integrity of the searches will be lost and Google will no longer be the powerhouse it is today.
If there is no trust from the consumer, then they will seek out somewhere else that maintains the aforementioned spirit of fair play. This is the core of the Google promise –

Organic rankings can’t be bought; they are based on what we consider to be the best possible solution to your question or problem.

Of course, this is common sense, but somewhere along the way, we decided to get clever. We wanted to know, not only what the search engines did but also how they did it and we did this to try and find a way around it. The thing is, all we needed to do to “hack,” the system was to produce better content and share it with enough people to gain a reputational uplift.

Make good content and build the web infrastructure for people to be able to see it.

This isn’t to say we are going to stop our experiments on the way the algorithm works. Instead, it is a reminder to ourselves as to what we are trying to achieve. Getting bad content ranking well is not a solution to anyone’s problem – Google loses, we lose and our clients obviously lose as their reputation suffers from having a lot of people see something that is substandard. We will reinvigorate our efforts to be a content marketing agency that does SEO because it fits perfectly together – Google wants good content to rank, and we produce good content.
In the end, awesomeness is the best hack.