Google continues to make changes to their search algorithm that effect the way that small and medium sized businesses rank. While their changes make it difficult for SMB’s to compete for search engine ranking share there’s also an opportunity for those SMB’s that think strategically, and aren’t afraid of creating unique, custom content.

Google’s Panda update has been rolling out over the last several months, but their latest iteration – Panda 2.5 – places an even stricter emphasis on unique content. The result has been lower keyword ranking and organic traffic for many organizations that go about business as usual. Sound search engine optimization best practices have and will continue to be very important, but now the creation of unique, relevant content will play an even more important role in overall search engine visibility.

Add to this latest Panda update the Freshness Update that was announced last week and content is becoming more like Emperor than King. The Freshness Update – which according to Google will affect nearly 35% of searches (more than even Panda) – rewards sites for posting new, relevant content. Content with outdated information – old events, older blog posts, etc. – will see a drop in ranking in favor of new information. This is especially true for industries that revolve around products that have versions versus industries that are constant – television industry versus enterprise software as example.

These two changes are significant by themselves, but together it means that Google will prioritize search results for content that is unique, fresh, and well-written – something we should all actually be grateful for. SMBs can capitalize on this opportunity by writing blogs, articles, and content that should see a pretty decent spike in rankings – giving them potentially equal footing with larger organizations. The most difficult part of this is the sustained effort that will be required, since rankings will recede over time. So write about new product updates, service enhancements, the latest features you have to offer, and make sure that content is well-optimized.