If you determine your site needs quality web content, my plumbing buddy and some term paper tips can help you create it.
First, does your website need quality web content?
The simple answer is yes if you want to use that content as a marketing tool. Otherwise, take a step back and ask yourself why you are spending valuable time and money adding to your site – an ROI issue I’ll address in a later post.
So the short answer is, if you are writing content, be sure it’s well conceived and written.
Now for the good news, or bad news if you hated high school English: writing quality web content is simple if you recall a few basics about writing high school term papers. And you don’t mind the twist of two instructors “grading” your papers. Because both your clients and Google have expectations.
How to satisfy two audiences with quality web content: Google and your clients
Today two audiences pay attention and evaluate what you have on your site. Both your clients and Google. But luckily your web content will be evaluated by these two audiences in much the same way.
As I’m sure you notice, quality content wasn’t and still isn’t the norm. Sites are still rife with poorly researched information, bad grammar, plagiarized posts and downright drivel. Not to mention chock full of distracting ads.
But experts across the internet are finally shouting out a resounding yes when asked if sites require quality content.
Because in the last two years, like a big, scary language arts instructor who demands a well-written and researched term paper, Google has spoken.
How web content changed under the watchful eye of Google Panda
No more plagiarizing , leaning on spellcheck, or grabbing with graphics
Google’s Panda introduced an algorithmic update aimed at punishing low quality sites by examining web content. Whoa. That change made more web developers, designers and writers sit up and take notice than juniors at the beginning of an SAT test.
Sites can no longer get away by publishing low quality, duplicate content, or by dragging readers to a page with nothing worth reading. Google is looking for content that contains practical tips for the site’s target audience. Information on the site must be grammatically well-written and well-edited.
So how can you please both clients and Google?
Well, more good news. The requirements for satisfying both of those audiences are not complicated and pretty much the same.
Straight from Google’s mouth: Suggestions on good content
Google provides 23 bullet points on its blog answering the question of “What counts as a high-quality site?”
Fortunately, the list doesn’t read much differently than a high-schooler’s guide to term paper writing. Google clearly states in its last paragraph that if you write and edit well, come from a place of expertise, and write with your audience in mind, you don’t need to worry about the rules because you will automatically meet their requirements.
For example, here is a quick summary of their suggestions:
- Trust: Would you trust the information presented in this article?
- Expertise: Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Quality writing and research: Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
- Reader interest: 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?
- Original content: Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
- Analysis: Does the article describe both sides of a story?
- Editing: Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Ad Ratio: Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Relevance: Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
- Specific and practical: Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
- Technical issues: Does the site have broken links, poor meta titles and weak meta descriptions?
Expert Suggestions on writing for your readers
First, for one expert’s point-of-view, I introduce Natalie Chan. Chan is Marketing Manager at Outbrain, a content discovery solution resource. Chan addressed this issue as a guest blogger on Duct Tape Marketing’s site. Duct Tape Marketing is noted as a contemporary leader in on and offline marketing.
Chan says small businesses should steer away from the hard sell and provide, “interesting, high quality and highly sharable content that allows you to capture your audience with engaging information, advice, stories and more, to provide value . . . “
Here’s my take on Chan’s suggestions:
The exploding toilet or how a plumber might add quality content
- Relevant practical information: If you are a plumber, give readers tips on plumbing tasks they can actually do themselves—if there are any. Be honest. Don’t provide them with highly technical directions or tell them to try something they can’t do with equipment they don’t own.
- Advice: Back to the plumber—when should your customer call you? When will they blow up the family toilet trying to fix it themselves?
- Stories: If you can insert your information into a story about an exploding toilet, all the better. Readers are engaged by stories. Why? Because it both entertains and helps them remember the information you provide. “Once upon a time, this guy tried to fix a toilet . . .”
So before you post, consider term paper guidelines and remember an engaging story about a client. It doesn’t have to be about an exploding toilet, but story details are engaging. And that too will become the topic of another post.
Because, once upon a time I had a client who only wrote great posts, and here’s what happened . . .
- Web Content – Are you writing bad website content? (educationalcopywritereditor.com)
- How Unique Does Content Need to Be to Perform Well in Search Engines? – Whiteboard Friday (seomoz.org)