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20/20 Vision: Rules Regulating Low Value Content Intensify – Jordan Koene // Searchmetrics

Episode Overview: The internet launched nearly 30 years ago and now has more than 1.7 billion websites. Google’s web crawlers can comb websites incredibly fast, but as the amount of webpages increase, Google and other search giants may need to regulate outdated content just to keep up. Join Ben and Searchmetrics CEO Jordan Koene as they conclude 20/20 Vision Week with a final discussion predicting what policies and rules Google may implement to regulate older, low value content.

Summary:

  • Crawling millions of websites with old content costs Google valuable time and money, creating a need to understand and regulate older content.
  • It’s unclear how Google will tackle the problem, but the solution will likely include the opportunity to remove, redirect or consolidate content to save them time and money while providing brands with agency and content management options.
  • Ultimately Google’s solution will align with its main mission – How to give users, consumers, and online searchers what they want and deliver it in an effective way.

GUESTS & RESOURCES:

Ben:                 Welcome back to the last episode of 2020 SEO Predictions Week on the Voices of Search podcast. I’m your host Benjamin Shapiro, and this week we’ve published an episode every day covering our bold predictions for SEO in 2020.

Ben:                 But before we get started, I want to remind you that this podcast is brought to you by the marketing team at Searchmetrics. Searchmetrics is an SEO and content marketing platform that helps enterprise scale businesses, monitor their online presence, and make data driven decisions. And to support you, our loyal podcast listeners, they are offering a complimentary trial of their services and software. That’s right. You can try these Searchmetrics Research Cloud Suite and the Content Experience Tool to optimize all of your content risk-free, no credit card required by going to searchmetrics.com/trial. That’s searchmetrics.com/trial.

Ben:                 Okay. Joining us for the last episode of SEO Predictions Week is Jordan Koene who is the lead SEO strategist and CEO of Searchmetrics Inc. And today we’re going to discuss Jordan’s last prediction for 2020, which is that there will be more rules to regulate your old or low value content.

Ben:                 All right, here’s the last installment of SEO predictions week with Jordan Koene, lead SEO strategist and CEO of Searchmetrics Inc.

Ben:                 Jordan, happy Friday and welcome to the end of the road for 2020 Predictions week on the Voices of Search Podcast.

Jordan:             Hey Ben, we’re getting close to the finish line here.

Ben:                 We’re getting close to the finish line. We just have a few loose ends to clean up. Tell me a little bit about your last prediction for 2020.

Jordan:             Yeah, so my last prediction for 2020 is that there’s going to be more ways by which brands, websites, webmasters can essentially manage old or low value content. The reality is that the internet is now 30 years old, and as you probably know, Ben, as a homeowner just like me, when you get into your 30s and you own a house, you start to collect a lot of stuff. There’s a lot of stuff that you really don’t need. There’s a lot of stuff that you should get rid of. In some cases, there’s stuff that you should burn, and there’s very few ways to do this online.

Ben:                 You sound like my wife telling me to get rid of my sports bobblehead doll collection.

Jordan:             Yeah. And what about those college t-shirts that you still have in a box?

Ben:                 Oh, those don’t fit anymore. Those are gone.

Jordan:             Fair enough.

Ben:                 I get what you’re saying here. We’ve got a lot of legacy content lying around the internet. The internet is a big place. Not all of it’s valuable. Why does Google want us to get rid of the old stuff?

Jordan:             Well, first of all, it’s dollars and cents. I mean, it costs Google time and money to crawl, evaluate all this old content. And if Google’s not evaluating and not crawling it, then they don’t know whether it’s worth having or not or if it has been refreshed, which is also a part of the algorithm. So like there’s a real cost, like a physical cost to do these things, but then there’s an opportunity cost in Google needing to have to understand and regulate all this old content.

Ben:                 So, Google wants to save a couple bucks and they don’t want us to have our old content. What are some of the ways that we should be focusing on depreciating content? Are we deleting it outright? Are we no following or can Google just say, “Hey, I’ve done crawling this. You’ve been publishing this piece of content for 30 years.”

Jordan:             I think that’s the hard part right there, right? You’re nailing it on the head, Ben, because we have these conversations all the time with brands and big websites. It’s really unclear exactly the recipe to use to execute this. And so my prediction for this year is that Google is going to provide just a little bit more guidelines, maybe even some new ways, maybe even a new way, a tool to submit low value content, maybe a fee that allows you to exclude certain pieces of content on a more regular basis. These new mechanisms will allow brands to have a more clear set of steps and procedures in order to depreciate, remove, redirect, consolidate, whatever word you want to use here, fat or low quality content.

Ben:                 Well, I guess there’s two parts to this. One, how do you figure out what the low quality content is? And two, how do you figure out what to do with it? You talked a little bit about how do we figure out what to do with it. Maybe there’s a feed or new ways that Google’s going to allow us to depreciate our content. How do you figure out where to draw the line?

Jordan:             Yeah, that’s also a very tough question. And as you can imagine, you’re going through the steps here in that a lot of big websites go through and they ultimately have a really hard time. It’s just like digging into that bin of old stuff and realizing that you can’t part ways with your 1989 Giants bobblehead.

Ben:                 Don’t you make me get rid of my Will Clark bobblehead.

Jordan:             I knew I could hit a sore spot there.

Ben:                 You’re walking a thin line, buddy.

Jordan:             I know, I know.

Ben:                 I will hang up this podcast.

Jordan:             Fair enough. Fair enough. You can keep it, you can keep it.

Ben:                 Thank you.

Jordan:             But this is the real problem. This is exactly the challenge was where do you draw the line? How do you know when to cut things off? And again, this is going to be the year, 2020 is going to be a year where Google’s going to come make some clear statements. And they’ve done this before, right? So nearly a decade ago they came out with some requirements around refinements. They also talked a lot about search and search pages and not putting your search pages in Google’s index. So Google has done this and made some really clear statements around low to bad quality content, and I expect Google to do that again. Probably reiterate many of the things they’ve already said, but also highlight some new things.

Jordan:             There’s been a lot of changes in how to deal with say refinement in e-commerce, how to deal with old blog posts and old content. And Google’s going to refresh those policy statements along with hopefully, fingers crossed, provide us with some new ways to regulate this and manage this. I think that this combined set of resources will not only allow Google to accomplish their mission, which is, “Hey, reduce our costs, both physical costs and opportunity costs,” but also give brands the breathing room to do this without feeling like they’re cutting themselves off at the knees.

Ben:                 I think as we think about the predictions for SEO as a whole, we’ve talked about a couple of different topics. We talked about what content Google wants to show and what the experience is going to be. Bringing it back to our conversation on Monday, we think there’s going to be more brand SEO, more zero click that’s going to integrate into voice search. We think there’s going to be what we talked about on Tuesday, more featured elements. Hopefully Google is going to communicate this better. That’s what we talked about on Wednesday. And the last two days we’ve been talking about the death of backlinks and how to evaluate and potentially get rid of your old value content. At the end of the day, when you think about all of your predictions at whole, help me summarize, help me package up what you think is happening with Google overall in 2020.

Jordan:             Great question, Ben. At the end of the day, this goes back to Google’s main mission, which is how do we give users, consumers, online searchers what they want? And how do we do that in a more effective way? Making the circle a little easier to process and making the circle a little cleaner, giving you better selection and options. How do we put in new policies and rules? How do we communicate to the brands and the businesses that are providing this content? And ultimately, how do we give the same webmasters the mechanisms to get rid of the things that are no longer needed?

Jordan:             And ultimately at the end of the day, all these things go right back to Google’s main mission. And as you probably know, last month their original founders stepped down, Larry and Sergey stepped down. And I believe that the current CEO of Google believes in that mission and wants the mission of give users what they want, ensure that we’re delivering that and settle for nothing less.

Ben:                 At the end of the day, I think that Google’s mission has been clear and pretty consistent for the last 20 years while the company has been running. What I think is different this year is how the Google technology has evolved and they have a better understanding more now than ever of what the consumer wants, right? What used to be, I’m feeling lucky, now Google really understands not if you’re feeling lucky, but they have a pretty good understanding of what you really want.

Ben:                 And because they’re so sophisticated and pulling out which sentence in which piece of content is going to be the answer to your question or which flight is the one that you’re going to want or what recipe is a really what you’re looking for, they can start ignoring all of the other stuff. They can ignore the signals for the backlink that try to game the system and get things up aren’t necessarily credible up in the rankings. That could tell you to take your old content and throw it away. Get rid of all your old t-shirts in SEO land.

Ben:                 Google is becoming more sophisticated as a technology in terms of understanding what their consumers want and that’s why these predictions are all coming out in 2020.

Jordan:             Absolutely. They know the Vegas odds of all these things, and they know it so well that it’s not just a matter of being able to convey that to ensure that these brands and websites are providing what is best for consumers.

Ben:                 I think it’s a nice way to wrap it up. Jordan, I wish you a happy 2020. I’m looking forward to continuing to do this podcast, and hopefully in 2021 we could look back and say how none of these predictions came true.

Ben:                 And that wraps up 2020 Predictions Week on the Voices of Search Podcast. Thanks for listening to my conversations with Jordan Koene, lead SEO strategist and CEO of Searchmetrics Inc.

Ben:                 We’d love to continue this conversation with you. So if you’re interested in contacting Jordan, there’s a link to his LinkedIn profile in our show notes. You can hit him up on Twitter. His handle is @JTKoene. J-T-K-O-E-N-E. If you have general marketing questions or if you’d like to talk to me about this podcast, you can find my contact information in our show notes or you could send me a tweet @BenJShap, B-E-N-J-S-H-A-P. You can also write us a message on Twitter to our new Voices of Search handle. It’s @voicesofsearch.

Ben:                 If you’re interested in learning more about how to use search data to boost your organic traffic, online visibility, or to gain competitive insights, head over to searchmetrics.com/freetrial for your risk free trial of the Searchmetrics Suite and Content Experience Platform.

Ben:                 And if you like this podcast and you want a regular stream of SEO and content marketing insights in your podcast feed, hit the subscribe button in your podcast app and we’ll be back in your feed next week.

Ben:                 All right. That’s it for today, but until next time, remember, the answers are always in the data.