A clue from Google: on-site content should include rich media

brightonseo logoOn Friday last week I had the opportunity to ask a direct question about how best to optimise on-site content to representatives from Google, Bing and Expedia.

The opportunity arose as part of a panel session at BrightonSEO. Following several questions about link spam (answer: don’t do it) conference organiser Kelvin Newman asked if anyone had a question about a different aspect of SEO – so I raised my hand, took the microphone and asked the panel what advice I should be giving clients who want to optimise the content on their websites for search.

The answers were very interesting indeed.

Dave Coplin, Director of Search at Microsoft, said that Bing would rank websites that demonstrated a strong social media strategy. When I asked him to clarify his definition of “social”, he said: “For us it’s Twitter and Facebook”.

Pierre Far, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, began his answer with a reassuring statement for a questioner from a content agency, namely: “It’s all about content.” Elaborating further, he said: “A website has to be able to answer the fundamental question: ‘Did the user get what they want?’”

As well as the to-be-expected advice about sharable content, and writing good quality product pages, blog articles and Help/FAQ sections, Far dropped a major clue about an important new measure of search engine optimisation: the presence of “user symbols” such as feedback forms, surveys, maps and video.

Martin McDonald, SEO Strategy Director at Expedia, pushed for a more direct statement from Far: “Are you saying that rich media is now part of the Google algorithm?” To the disappointment of the audience, Far refused to be drawn into such a commitment, but I’m sure many of those present at BrightonSEO (including myself) are reviewing their website’s use of rich media in light of these new hints from Google.


  1. Great write-up, Emily. Pierre’s refusal to mention if it was a part of the algo was indeed a disappointment. However that makes me wonder even more if it’s something they’re working on and thinking of including in the future (if it’s not quite a part of it just yet)…

  2. Emily Hill

    Yes that’s very possible Steve. For all of Pierre’s insistence that SEO is “not a checklist”, the only thing those of us who don’t work for Google can do is try to figure out what they’re looking for and implement it as best we can.

  3. Great email headline got me to this page Emily… I hate to think that forms / surveys will score a bunch of points… that will mean all those spammy optimisation sites will get more eyeballs… arghhhh !

    One thing for sure… it’s all speeding up so regular content is key if you want to remain top of the pile… so don’t delay, get Emily to write your stuff TODAY 😉

  4. Emily Hill

    Thanks for the recommendation Jon – and I’m glad you liked the email headline 🙂

  5. Really useful post Emily. Thanks a lot.

  6. Emily Hill

    Thanks very much Jayne, I’m glad it was helpful.

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