[002] Web Content That Actually Ranks

In an earlier tip [Finding Real Search and Profitable Keywords] I spoke about keyword research and using the 4 cornerstones to find and target “good” keywords. Of course keywords are only part of the whole story.

Google change and improve their algorithm and ability to judge a web page or website. To decide if it is a good or bad site in their eye’s.

Unfortunately Google have by far the largest search share and is the number one search tool or search engine used my most people looking to buy or find  anything online. That means if you want to compete in the search engines you simply have to work with Google.

Actually Google search has sort of come full circle.  Initially the actual content of each page was a high ranking factor along with their newly invented Page Rank (PR). This meant that you needed the right content and backlinks to get those top search results.

However the simplistic view of the page content led to “keyword stuffing” which basically made content useless for the visitors or readers but it did come high in the search results.

To get around this Google’s algorithm made a swing more towards backlinks and anchor text. This worked for a while but SEO people soon caught up and started to fire thousands of links with the same anchor text to web pages to shoot them to the top of the rankings. The content was all but irrelevant so it became rubbish, spun content simply used to fill in the gaps on the page.

At this point Google had a major task on their hand to “clean up” their search results and responded with two of the most influential and high impact changes ever made in search engine history.

1. The Panda Update
2. The Penguin Update

Although there is some cross-over primarily Panda looked at poor content (on-site SEO ) and Penguin attacked bad backlink and anchor text practices (off-site SEO).

I will cover Penguin and backlinks in my next email but for now I want to focus on Panda and the need for quality content.

I mentioned both updates here because it was aft the Penguin update that the value of site content ramped up considerably.  Panda removed a huge amount of sites with poor content from the higher rankings and Penguin killed of anyone who had been link spamming.

This meant that a site now with great content could actually rank well will little or no backlinking. As Google’ became able to judge the quality of the content then they could allow it to rank well without the backlink signals.

So once again your site content has taken on a hugely important roll in your rankings.

By quality content I mean. Unique, useful content that answers the searchers questions.  If a user types in  “ where can I buy mineral make-up”. Then the web page in the top results needs to answer that question  NOT just have a general topic on mineral make-up but specifically tell you where you can buy it.  Of course it also needs to add value to be unique and considered better than all the other pages that tell you the same thing.

So in short:

Unique content
Useful content
Content that answers the searchers question (search keyword).
Content written for the reader

There is also likely to be some SEO benefit by using multimedia on the page. So videos and images will help make the page more readable and friendly to the visitors. This may also help with keeping people on your page longer. Visitor time spent on your page will also be an influence on your ranking. A high bounce rate will certainly see your page slide down the results.

Much has been written (good and bad) about keywords in content and long gone are the days of keyword stuffing. In fact you can find pages ranking without even having the :keyword” at all.  As long as the subject is right then Google can tell if it is appropriate. They don’t always need a specific keyword.

However it still makes sense to help Google identify your content and you should use your keywords in the page title at least.  The main body content of your page can include your keyword but better to include LSI keywords. By that I mean  for instance if you keyword is “how to walk a dog” then lead, leash,collar, traffic,pavement are all LSI keywords. What you don’t want to do is use closely related keywords as these will certainly be seen as the same and results in keyword stuffing penalties. I..e  overuse of things like how to walk a dog, how to walk a dalmatian, how to walk a Dachshund, how to walk a Bulldog might be seen as bad SEO.

It also makes sense to help Google with your video and images. They are still unable to easily identity the content of an image and most videos so it makes sense use the image description in the file name and of course use the alt tag to give a description of the image or video. As images and  should be related to the content this will help tell Google what your page is about and as a result it will improve your rankings

<img src=”dog-walking-on-river-bank.mp4” alt=”Small dog on leash with old man”>

Beware of free images

Another important thing to realize is that you cannot just grab images from Google to put on your website. Most images will have a copyright and many will find you in a legal battle that you will lose (and can lose your site and/or get a very large fine). Google will also can your site if a  breach of copyright is lodged with them.  One (pretty) safe site to use for free images is  pixabay.com.  You should only use images that come from a site or source that is specifically for distributing those images. Never just lift one from another site as you have no way of knowing who actually owns the original image.  Always view the Terms of the site to check specifically the following

1. The image is available for commercial use.
2. The image does not require attribution.

Some general site don’ts are:

Use spun content
Use duplicate or scraped content
Keyword stuff
Use copyright images
Write content for search engines.

I’ll wind up this email here and will talk more about the off-page SEO requirement in my next email.

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