Since Google released the Panda update in February last year, the importance of having high-quality content on your site has increased hugely.
In May 2011, Amit Singhal published a post aimed to help people build better quality websites. One of the most important points to take away from it was, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, having good-quality content. Here I’m going to go into detail over some of his points and explain what you really need to do if you want to rank well.
One of the key issues brought up is that of authority. The questions asked include whether the reader would trust the information being provided in the article, and whether the site is considered to be an authority on the topic being discussed.
In other words, is your website a credible place for this content? Obviously, if you specialise in car sales you’re not going to write about gardens, but this point goes further than this. For example, if you’re selling cars, then are you an appropriate place to post information on engine repairs and maintenance? Although the areas are related, they’re not that closely linked. Therefore, this content isn’t actually very relevant to your site. Content on the reliability of certain cars with certain amounts of mileage or of a certain age would be more appropriate. This is because your site has real knowledge of this area, whereas content on engine repairs would be better suited to a garage or engineering website.
This is backed up by the insistence that your content actually contains helpful specifics, rather than just generalities; that your content is written by an expert, or at least a knowledgeable enthusiast; and provides a comprehensive discussion of the topic it is covering. All of this is of course far easier to achieve if you and your company chose to produce content on subjects which you have real knowledge of.
To summarise: write about topics you and your company really know about and you should be able to hit all of these objectives with ease.
Set quality standards
Next, Google asks that you produce content that is readable. It asks you to produce content that is well-edited, grammatically accurate, and factually correct. It wants you to consider whether the piece could be printed in a magazine, or published in a book or encyclopaedia.
Basically, Google wants you to make sure you’re producing pieces that actually have some value and which have had real effort put into their creation. They pointedly chastise mass-produced content which has not received the proper care and attention that quality articles require. So put some thought and attention into your content. Consider the value of each piece – could you get it published anywhere apart from the web? Make sure you take the time to thoroughly proof-read and edit everything – get rid of all typos and clean up sloppy presentation.
Google thinks content is important and valuable, so you need to start treating it as such; put some real time and effort into each and every piece you publish. Set yourself high standards and stick to them.
Provide real insight not just information
Finally, Google wants you to consider whether your content will mean anything to your readers. Is the information you’re providing interesting and original? Does it offer an insightful analysis, new information, or a well-balanced debate on the topic? If not, then what’s the point of it?
You need to make sure the content you’re creating has a reason for being. There is no point producing content on a topic which has been done to death unless you’re looking at it from an entirely new perspective or you’re bringing fresh information to the table. You need to do this because in doing so you will encourage people to share it – something which Google values very highly. The best way to get your content recommended and passed on is to make it new, or helpful, or interesting, or preferably all three! So stop re-hashing old material and be innovative. One caveat though: don’t be offensive. Although a bit of controversy can be great for getting people to read and share your article, Google warns you off creating anything offensive which could cause people to complain.
So that’s it. That’s what Google recommends and, really, it isn’t that much to ask. They value content because internet users value content. All they want is for you to do the same. It’s time to stop being lazy and stop churning out poorly written, badly researched, unhelpful, and irrelevant articles. Start putting some real effort into the content on your site and treat it like the valuable commodity it is. In doing so you should not only improve your rankings but also the real value of your site for the people who matter – the users. It’s a win-win situation!
If you’ve got anything to add that I’ve missed, please feel free to include them within the comments below. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Image Credit: FindYourSearch