The rapid technological advancement in recent years has given birth to the booming online community. The prime goal of the omnipresent search engines is to provide the best possible results to internet users. You could say that content is the heart of the cyber galaxy and search engines circle around it. Although some would assume they’re guided by subjective notions, they have a pretty clear idea of what “the best” means for people. In fact, user preferences are a driving force behind the dynamic evolution of the burgeoning highways of the internet, the major search engines.

A million little pieces

First of all, search engines strive to achieve ease of use and flawless navigation. This means they need to feature professional, appealing design, as well as compatibility with popular browsers. Furthermore, an average user wants to be treated with only the high-quality, credible content. Consequently, engines go to great lengths to offer actionable information, although do not see the online world with the same eyes as users. Instead, they rely on meta information in an attempt to grasp and rank the content. These signals tell as story about how users interact with websites and pages.

Factors such as web structure, links, and keywords are taken into account directly, while user engagement, linking patterns, and machine learning form intuitions about the site. For example, links are utilized as a proxy for votes and popularity, with timing, anchor text, source and quantity acting as vital metrics. The aforementioned usability and user experience have an indirect influence, albeit they also have a measurable impact on the external popularity. What’s more, these things contribute to the increase in other signals like sharing.

What we are most interested in is how search engines decipher the quality of content. Well, we all know that they observe your engagement with search results, seeking “long clicks”. Namely, if you click on one link, but go back after a few seconds, that means that you were not satisfied with what you saw. On the contrary, long clicks are taken as an aggregate over millions of queries in order to pull together an impeccable experience, to deliver a promise which is given to users: A relevant, helpful piece of content.

A cyber earthquake

This is to say that emerging trends reflect on the highest level of internet power structure, and trigger a top-down reaction. Many experts argue that the Panda Update from 2011 marks the turning point. Since then, the way Google judges quality has changed, and with it, the rules of the game. Human evaluators started manually rating sites, looking for those with low-quality content. Over time, machine learning has been developed and perfected as a way to mimic the work of evaluators.

Encompassing millions of websites, the Panda Update brought forth a seismic shift, which repositioned 20% of all results. The quality bar has been raised, and quantity lost its shine. Then again, updating the content on a regular basis is paramount to acquiring a higher ranking, because this boosts the frequency of search engine crawler visits. Google simply adores fresh content, and webmasters and marketers are better off giving it. The Googlebots index it rapidly, and newer piece of content tends to rank higher than the old one. Hence, a consistent output of high-grade content becomes top priority.

So, it comes as no surprise that one of the most-repeated SEO principles is crafting high-quality content and that content marketing agencies are becoming ever busier. No SEO campaign can succeed without the backing of content production. We have also witnessed the rise of the app market, proliferation of mobile platforms, and the explosion of social media. These developments have also changed the face of the digital world. Today, success is accomplished by integrating pages with social accounts, optimizing the content for devices with smaller screens, and developing dedicated apps.

Content is the king

Both search engines and the content they propagate have come a long way. The changes in user behavior have created a new content landscape, and forced search engines to adopt a different approach. Crucial overhauls like algorithm updates cause ripples in the digital ocean, and the shifts spill over into all planes. Search engines come up with the basic rules and state the requirements, while content fulfils them. Websites are expected to provide seamless functionalities, as well as a steady stream of top-notch content tailored to the real needs and wants of people.