A short guide to website content writing
During the last year and a bit, Google has taken a great deal of action against low quality content websites and has been punishing the sites with poor and thin content with ranking penalties. Since the Panda update (an update designed to filter out poor content as well as other quality factors such as trust, design and speed etc) we have been working closely with clients to help build better content and improve rankings.
• Vague content that lacks authority and real direction. Google is an engine looking to provide quality information for the searcher of the search query. Do not simply rehash content with the expectation of seeming like an expert in the field. Ideally if you have a topic that you or a team member is passionate about write about it and offer your own insights and opinions and expect to be able to answer questions about the subject. Unfortunately for some the days of low cost article out sourcing are ebbing away as Google’s algorithm can detect quality in the copy. If you are struggling for content - research and write – become the authority!
• Long content written for search engines. Writing long content purely for search engines is the wrong approach. Content on a website should be written with the reader in mind (yes we ideally want it to be indexed and ranking well if possible) but we want our content to be read by site users and shared socially! Long content can run the risk of boring users, duplication of message and eventually the reader leaving the content before anything useful is obtained (of course this does not always apply if the topic genuinely requires a long explanation/detail)
• Short Content written to “add pages” to a site. With our correlation testing we have found that whilst each piece of content/ article needs to be gauged on its own merits, articles with 450-650 words can compete well within search rankings. Simply bulking out websites with short content and hoping for a miracle ranking is a no go. ! A couple of points on the webmaster central blog suggest that hastily written content lacking in detail and factual information will be flagged as thin.
• Basic spelling and grammar errors. Google is able to understand the editorial quality of your work. This if one of the major factors on deeming content to be of any quality. Ensure that proofreading is undertaken on all work prior to publishing. Remember that sentences, paragraphs, punctuation, nouns and adjectives, verbs and adverbs will all play a part in the above.
• Information structure. Ensure that your content layout is readable and broken up so that readers (and engines) can read the text and understand the content in a flowing manner ie is Paragraph B relational to paragraph A? Maybe it could be offering an alterative viewpoint or additional information relating to a point of paragraph A etc
Remember the quality of offline content (magazines, books, papers etc) should be applied to online content too!!! Don’t just write for the engines, will your content be useful to a human?