In the first few months of 2011, Google rolled out an update called Panda. When they did so, they said they were emphasizing quality content. This update did a WWF style smackdown of thousands of websites across the net. Webmasters complained that they lost traffic sometimes upward of 50% to even 90%. Many of those webmasters said that they had quality content although I am sure some of this was psychological since they had invested many hours in their websites and they didn’t want to admit that they had either copied, or just re-written other peoples content, and others were not great at English and did not realize that their content was filled with grammatical and spelling errors. However this was not the case for every webmaster. Some honestly had some awesome quality content yet they still were hit with a panda penalty. I was one of those webmasters that was pandalized by Google’s panda update. I had to step back and look at my content, beef up thin pages (pages with less than 300 words of content), work on things like site speed and advertising placement, and remove any posts that might have been construed as duplicate content. It was a month of hard work but I got out from underneath the panda penalty. So now I am going to share with you how to write quality content that Googlebot just eats up and places on page one of the serps for low to medium competition keywords without having to do major backlinking to push them to those positions.
A different viewpoint concerning quality content.
Most of us instinctively think of quality content as something that adds value and is decently written on the subject we are targeting. And this is true in a limited sense. An newly discovered manuscript written by Shakespeare would qualify as quality content by that standard. However until it is presented in such a way that Googlebot understands and quantifies as quality, that manuscript will never appear at the top of the serps for Shakespeare or be deemed quality content for that matter. It has be to presented to Googlebot in a certain way to in order for that to happen. It can even be put into modern English, or even put into a html format, but until it is formatted in such a way that Googlebot understands what it is and what it is about, it is still just more white noise in the world of the internet. You have to remember, Googlebot is a computer program, not a person. It follows a certain set of algorithms programmed into it’s code by a bunch of pencil necked geeks hovering over a computer terminal talking about the latest update to World of Warcraft. These guys got together after drinking a bunch of Jolt Cola’s and eating Twinkies and decided how to tell a computer program what to look for to determine quality content. So I took a step back from my own ideas of what is good content, and what types of pages and blog posts I personally think are good and tried to get a feel for what people on the internet like in articles and blog posts, and then put myself into the mind of a computer geek and tried to figure out what they would tell their program to look for to determine if something is quality or not.
Good grammar and spelling is a no-brainer when it comes to quality content.
The first thing that a computer geek with a Phd in computer science would say is that quality content has to be written and worded correctly. The days of people using pigeon English and getting top rankings are over. You must be able to spell and to write coherent sentences. I was never a good English student. It was so boring in high school. It is only because I have been writing sermon outlines and on the internet for years that I came across the skill to do what I do today. I still am not perfect by any means of the word and so I use a spell checker and a grammar checker. This is a must in today’s internet world.
Keyword density is important to create quality content that Googlebot loves.
If you have read any of my other Christian Blogging Tips, you will know I am a big proponent of keyword research. You need to find what people are searching for and fill that need in order to get search engine traffic and build your following and fan base. Keyword density is the percentage you use your keyword in your blog post. For instance, if your blog post is 1000 words, then your keyword needs to be used 10 times to have a 1% keyword density. Now again put yourself in the minds of the geeks at Google. They are trying to figure out how to make a program that can tell what a blog post is about. What do they do? They come up with a formula that scans your page, looks for what percentage of the words are used, and the ones that are the most prominent must be the words that indicate what a blog post is about. Then they put in limits. No one uses the same word in every sentence, it is unnatural. So if a keyword is used too many times, it then becomes obvious that somebody is trying to manipulate their algorithm and they get penalized. I have found that somewhere between 1.5% and 4% works well for me. Not enough keywords then it makes it difficult for Googlebot to figure out what your blog post is about and too many keywords makes it unnatural. Most people who are just learning about keyword density do not have the problem with too many keywords but not enough. It is those that are trying to scam the system that fall into the trap of an overabundance of keywords.
It has been determined that quality content is broken down into sections.
Titles, headings, and subheadings are used in most types of informative content nowadays. Go look at the major newspaper websites, or other popular blogs. Content is broken down into headings and subheadings so that people can scan first to see if you have relevant information that they are looking for. People what manageable sized paragraphs and headings on those paragraphs so they know what the content is about. I did not make this rule, it has just become an industry standard when determining quality content. Googlebot scans your blog post to see if it is broken down into manageable chunks by scanning for header tags. In WordPress header tags are easy to do, you just click on the visual editor where it says paragraph and scroll down to the heading you want. If you are so unfortunate to use Blogger, then you have to add the header tags manually. <h2> Heading content </h2> By having headings and sub headings you give Googlebot an outline of your content and if you place your keywords or place longer tailed keywords (3 or more keywords) related to your primary keyword in your headings it makes the relevancy and quality more understandable.
Don’t forget to make your images count as quality content too.
Many people do not know that Googlebot cannot scan a picture or an image and determine what that image or picture is about. It is a blank section in your blog post in the eyes of Googlebot. You can do something to fix this very easily. When you insert your picture, make your file name the same as your keywords, My image in this blog post will be quality-content.jpg. Use the alt tag and again use your keyword. Put a caption under the picture with your keyword and in your description of the photo use your keywords. That gives Googlebot something to chew on when it scans your picture. (Sorry Blogger people, you do not have this option and it is one reason I told Blogger goodbye.) Remember you might be competing with 6 million other blog pages to get to the fist page of Google. Every little bit of help you give Googlebot in determining what your page is about and how well it is laid out helps you get to the top. What do you think Googlebot is going to rank higher? A page with a blank spot or a page that it knows has an image and what the image is about?
Interlinking and Outlinking count in quality content too.
The links that you place in your blog post are important as well. Both the links that you provide to other blog posts on related subjects that your blog has, along with links to other websites that have related subjects is important. Googlebot wants to see that you are helping your visitors on their search for information. If you have other blog posts on similar subjects like this post is related to mine that are on Christian blogging tips then make sure you include them, especially if you can include your keywords in the link. If you know of or spend a little time finding other blog posts on authority sites (not Aunt Mimi’s Blogspot blog that is never viewed or updated) then link out to them. Google has started to include in it’s algorithm who you link out to in order to determine quality and relevancy. If you link out to quality, they assume you may be quality as well.
Don’t be afraid to lead Googlebot by the nose.
Googlebot is not the smartest bot in the bunch. You need to help it out. I suggest you take your keywords and bold, italicize, and underline once per blog post. That little notation brings attention to those keywords and just insures that Googlebot gives them greater importance when scanning your blog post. Also, when entering your meta data for your blog post, (Sorry Blogger users, again something else you are unable to do) enter your keywords, and a few relevant terms around those keywords. For instance every time I do a post on a Bible Verse subject I use the keywords that I am targeting and then add the keywords “scripture, passages,quotes” That way I get known for the synonyms for Bible verses. Use your keywords at the beginning of the description meta tag as well. Make it easy for Googlebot to find what your blog post is about.
2 tools I use for creating quality content.
There are two major tools that I could not live without and there is no way I could have moved my traffic from 200 views per day to 4000 page views per day. The first one is Market Samurai. This tool helps you do keyword research to know what people are searching for and how much competition there is for those keywords. For instance, I recently wrote a blog post about the silent treatment. I wanted to write about this subject, but by doing the research with Market Samurai I learned not only how to word my title, but what subheadings to use that were longer tailed keywords. That post is already producing traffic and it has been less than 2 weeks since posting it. Market Samurai has more than paid for itself on my blog. It cost $87.00 when I purchased it and I am making 5 times that per month now 6 months later.
The second tool I use is called WP SEO by Yoast. It takes everything I shared with you today and puts it on your blog post editing page and tells you what to do step by step. It was FREE and well worth every penny! I started using this plug-in 6 weeks ago and it caused a 3-5 position bump on my posts that were already on the first page, and has placed my page 2 blog posts on page 1, and placed 90% of my new blog posts on page 1. It is the main reason my traffic has increased 35% in the last month.
Well those are my latest and greatest discoveries in the world of blogging and creating quality content. I hope this post makes sense to you and helps you as you try to reach your audience with your blog.