So this little piece I am hoping is going to spark some sort of debate on this subject matter. We are heavily involved in SEO and over the years the whole industry has been riddled with spammers and scammers. I hear horror stories every day about buying links, duplicate content, guest blogging, social book marketing etc..
However this blog is going to open up a little on what tactics are used in content marketing today and why in theory they are going to cause issues down the road.
We be holding our hands up, we have used some of these ourselves but only in the best interests of SEO and also for our clients and our sites. Many SEO companies offer guest blogging and content writing to influence Google into giving your site your linking to a boost on the rankings.
However looking at what Google is doing and focusing on Google Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird, many of the practices these so called SEO companies are offering, are actually hitting exactly into what the algorithms are trying to stop. Possibly not immediately, but a few updates down the line the old work could start earning you penalties.
Google has said from 2012/2013 that high quality content is the key thing website owners should focus on. However everyone knows that search engines need links and good quality links but here comes the problem. Guest Blogging suddenly took off. SEO companies looked at this and thought.
“Lots of content, and lots of webmasters asking for content, to place blogs on their site”.
Site owners rub their hands together as it’s free content, which will drive traffic to their site. This fits all the tick boxes Google is looking for.
• High quality content (well it serves a purpose)
• Unique (Yep we got someone to mash up bits of text semi researched)
• We created a link on a relevant site
• We will share it giving it a social signal
• Does it solve an issue – well it sorts our client out as they’ve got a link.
• Happy Days job done.
Most decent sites do not allow “follow” links as they are fully aware of the possibilities of allowing links to any old site. However a lot of SEO’s are trying to leverage the lower quality sites with lots of middle of the road content, which for a short period of time gain some page rank, however the sites end up spammy. There is talk that Guest Blogging is dead but we don’t think so.
Look at the facts
Let’s look at this logically, and even Matt Cutts has said this. Let’s see what we know about Google’s Panda basic SOP.
• Would you trust the information presented in this article?
• Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
• Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
• Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
• Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
• Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
• Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
• Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
• How much quality control is done on content?
• Does the article describe both sides of a story?
• Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
• Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
• Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
• For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
• Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
• Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
• Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
• Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
• Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
• Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
• Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
• Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
• Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
(Courtesy of Marie Haynes blog on Moz ~ http://moz.com/blog/google-algorithm-cheat-sheet-panda-penguin-hummingbird)
Content Research – Fundamentals to Ranking Success
If you’ve got a highly researched piece of content on your website and you share it with your community via social networks or via email your content will drive your engagement with your users and also be shared.
The search engines will pick up on the social signals and take interest, especially if people are taking the time to share and talk about your content.
If your content is really good someone will add you as a reference and help support your article. Once the reputation of your site grows you then become an authority in your niche/industry and be asked to either comment or create an article for a site. This then will act as a Guest blog. This is what Google is looking for.
Some money content writers are paid so little by SEO companies to churn and burn content that the talent of these content writers is wasted, as they are not allowed to produce well-researched content. You can normally tell one of these rushed pieces as they are all over the web.
5 Steps to what?
5 steps on how to do XYZ… why do you need 5 steps what is the point? Would it not make more sense to do some research on your business and clients?. Then make the 5 steps into 5 high quality pieces of content. Avoid a load of drivel, basically summarizing the points to do something but not actually solving the users desire to learn how to do something
Chances are that 5 quality pieces would start to bring back users again and again to look at your exciting content.
How about this as an idea! What if you wrote an article a year ago and found it had some success but later you add and develop the subject giving it a little bit of spruce up, adding some new research?. Chances are the article would also get picked up and shared on social media.
High Quality Content – Conclusion
To conclude we think that if anyone is looking to improve his or her Google rankings, the first point of call is your own site. Build and develop really interesting and thought provoking content and you will be on a winner thereby generating traffic and increase your Google rankings.