“You should get a blog for your site.” “It’s important to have regular content going live.” “Google loves regular, original content at the moment.” Three phrases that have been used more than any other in relation to search engine optimisation in the past few months since Google’s Panda update changed the emphasis.
But what many people inexperienced with the concept struggle to understand is just what meets the necessary criteria. After all, they’ve been putting articles onto their site since it was created and they haven’t noticed much of an improvement.
That could be down to a number of factors, but the most likely is that Google doesn’t see the content as relevant or important enough to warrant a boost in its ranking system. Hiring professional content writers to do your blogs, news and press releases can be beneficial, but it’s most likely that these people have helped you improve by chance – if they’ve made any effect at all. With SEO content, successful writing can never be mastered so you need to keep adapting your writing style every time the big G decides to change its algorithm.
While it can never be mastered, you can be rewarded for your efforts. There are three key parts to content writing that are likely to keep the attention of your reader, and Google. Simon Penson, the Managing Director of Zazzle Media recently had a post published by SEO Moz all about post-Panda content strategy, listed product guides, advice articles and news as the most important, and they’re a great place to start planning any article from. Click here to read more.
I came through the University of Lincoln here in the UK, having studied a journalism degree, where it was essential that all the sentences were well structured and that what I wrote was powerful and informative. This has really proved to be useful in writing SEO-favourable content, more so than when I started at Zazzle Media anyway.
Back then, Google was still showing loyalty to keywords being thrown into content wherever it fancied, making you look at the article several times trying to figure out whether or not the author could actually write in proper sentences.
Thankfully, from my perspective anyway, and I think I speak for everyone else too, things have changed for the better and the content now has to be fluent. After all, a sentence that reads “good seo content is key to the success of a site because seo content is awesome and Google loves seo content” isn’t going to make anyone really want to read on is it? You want something that makes sense and has a positive impact on the reader.
The latest update from Google has placed emphasis on unique, fresh content. This means that your site should feature articles that are not only unlikely to be found anywhere else, but that are going up on the site regularly. One a month just isn’t enough anymore, and simply replicating an article written by someone else won’t do you any favours. Duplicate content is being punished severely, whether that’s down to the author copying someone else’s work, or the site being replicated elsewhere under a different URL. Either way, don’t do it! Step away from the computer.
Peter Meyers, or Dr Pete as he is more commonly known, released a really good article at the end of 2011 all about duplicate content since the Panda update, (click here to read it), and he explains exactly what it is and the penalties that can be incurred, ranging from a big red cross over that one page, or the whole site, so it really is important that you do have unique content.
You want your content to have an effect on the reader, and if it’s something they’ve seen written elsewhere in almost exactly the same style, it’s not going to impress them much. The same is true with Google. Once it’s crawled through your site, and the content, it doesn’t want to be doing the same all over again. Like anyone, it’ll get bored of reading the same thing over and over again. Like you, it wants to be informed and entertained, and that is how sites get to the all-important first page of the search results. Appearing on page three may be a dream to some people, but the truth is that the percentage of visits drop significantly once you get off the first page, so it pays to really spend time and invest in quality content.
You might not see instant results for all of your hard work in the SERPs, but you can gauge the success of your content by sharing it. Using social media hasn’t just taken the general public by storm; it’s taken SEO and content to a new level.
With people able to access your articles from around the world, they are now able to share it with their friends and colleagues and give you feedback and advice, something I’ve been thankful for in the past. The more people share your content on Twitter and Facebook, and now Google +, the greater the exposure the site will get and before long Google will hear about it and think “I have to take a look at this.” Once you’ve got the G hooked, it will keep coming back to your site with the hope that it will keep the intrigue and excitement, and it will boost your reputation.
Rand Fishkin, the CEO of SEO Moz recently posted his predictions for the SEO industry for 2012, and he feels that search engine optimisation packages without the addition of social media will become a thing of the past. He says that “It’s not just that social signals are making their way into the ranking algorithms, but also that social is becoming the dominant method of both sharing and discovery for web users.”
What he means here is that the search engines are actually taking serious notice of what people are sharing on the Internet. Social media is no longer the “noisy neighbour” that keeps getting on the search engine’s nerves, they’re coming together to help provide web users with an all-round package that helps them discover the very best, and most informative and entertaining content there is.
A graph, produced by ShareThis in June 2011 showed just how much of an impact sharing on social media platforms has. 38% of all referred traffic comes from Facebook, with 17% coming from Twitter – the same as those in emails.
In my experience, and from that of my colleagues here at Zazzle, we have had to adapt our writing styles with Google’s changes, as mentioned earlier, trying to keep things fresh. Like fashion, things go out of style almost as soon as you take it off the shelf, so change is essential. But that isn’t always a bad thing. If you can keep changing your styles for the better, and impressing the search engines, then you will be rewarded. We’ve worked with a number of clients who have experienced rapid improvements since our most recent modification of our writing styles, which is good from both points-of-view.
However, just because you’ve seen a number of clients improving in the rankings, maybe even reaching the number one slot – well done by the way if this is the case – if you begin to rest on your laurels, you’ll soon find everyone else catching up and overhauling you.
In just over six months with the company, I’ve seen Zazzle Media changing the methods of almost everything in order to stay ahead of the competition. Ok, we might not be spending Manchester City’s millions in an attempt to buy top spot, but we’re finding our own way of topping the table. We’ve adapted our content to meet the necessary requirements and stayed ahead when the competition have suffered because they’ve reached the top and thought that they’ve cracked the code. You can never crack Google’s code, because it doesn’t stand still long enough.
Top quality SEO content can never have a book written about it, because it will always be out of date. You could write the best article in the world, shared by millions across the globe, but in three weeks time Google could have another of its surprise updates and the same strategy will need scrunching up and throwing in the bin.
Or, you can follow me on Twitter for updates and the latest SEO content stories at @Zazzle_Chris.
We hope you enjoyed reading this blog- this blog was written by Chris White, a Content Executive at Zazzle Media.