Since the election there has been a backlash against false information. A lot of people, Republicans and Democrats alike are tired of the swarm of false-information on the web. But getting rid of it completely is easier said than done. Fake news sites are very popular and bring in millions of clicks each year. They also have millions of followers. In some cases fake sites are more popular, or as popular than traditional media sources. But there is a grassroots movement, regardless of political affiliations, against these click-bait sites.
Google and Facebook are starting to notice as well. Just this week Google and Facebook have both announced they will block advertising from fake news sites. While that’s an important first step it probably won’t stop fake information from appearing on your news feeds, or in search results.
Still search engines in particular tend to pick up the pulse of searchers. Google has been harping on mobile for over two years now because it knows that’s where people are going for search. So I expect in the very near future that Google and social media will be punishing fake news sites and ranking facts. Or at least I can dream that’s what they’ll do.
So how does this impact your content? For starters, if you’re in the business of click-bait, be warned: We’re all getting a little tired of misinformation. The reason why Facebook and Google are going after their ad revenue first is because of the amount of clicks generated by these sites. This fake news trend is popular on both sides of the isle. BuzzFeed found that 38% of Republican and 20% of Democrat Facebook posts contained false information. It’s also popular outside of politics, affecting all aspects of news. So even if you’re using sources, those sources may be complete bunk.
When you write your content, make sure you are using as many sources as possible to verify the facts. I always treat the content that I write for my clients as research papers, just like the ones I wrote in college. While the language may be more informal, there’s no need to skip on fact-checking. Spend the extra time and the readers will trust you more. The more readers and searchers trust your content, the more they will go to your site and rely on you to be the source of information in your field.
Trust is the key. As Facebook, Google and the other internet players start to crack down on false-information they will likely start to reward accurate information. That means you can expect your website to see a boost in searches, with more clicks to follow.
We’re certainly still in the early stages of all this and it will be interesting to see how search and social decide what’s fake and what’s real. Regardless, you as a business should always be aiming for accuracy over clicks. Anything that you publish on your website and on your social media is a direct reflection of your business. You want to be a business that people can trust. And your content on the web is the first impression that you give the public of your reliability.
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