Update: We are now on Panda 4.2, which is slowly being rolled out through 2015. This roll out might affect certain pages more than others on your website. Nonetheless, advice about quality is the same as it was in 2011, when this post and its sequels were originally written.
Quality Content- A Closer Look
By now, you know that your website needs quality content, but what exactly does that mean? In May 2011, Google published content advice for webmasters and content providers. This list offers specific guidelines to better navigate the content needs of Panda 2.2. Let’s jump in and dissect what it means to write quality content. We’ll cover the first quarter of Google’s list in Part 1 of our quality content series.
1. Is the information trustworthy?
Writers need to check their facts and refresh outdated content. Misspelled words and punctuation errors are dead giveaways that the site is not professional.
2. Is the article written by an expert or an enthusiast who knows the topic well?
While writers can’t be experts in all topics, they can certainly research. Interview experts to gain background information. Read other blog posts, watch podcasts, attend webinars, and give credit where credit is due with links to your sources. Think about what you’d like to read and ask yourself if your article worthy of your attention or just a version of what’s floating around in different forms. Offer an original, expert angle.
3. Is it more shallow in nature?
Include evidence in your blog posts. Conduct an informal, telephone or digital media poll to gather original data. Follow the scientific process. Offer an example and then elaborate. Offer another example and elaborate again. Charts, pictures, and graphs can also be useful layers to your presentation.
4. Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
Duplicate content slows down Google. Search engines are in the business of delivering super-speedy, original search results. Therefore, if you have many pages, product descriptions, or sites with the exact same paragraphs- ug! Bots have to wade through all of those to find content developed by an original mind- not just a copy. Upgrade sites that look the same to your readers and customers. Give each website its own voice.
5. Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Think deeply about this one for a moment. You’d probably give your credit card info to Amazon.com or Walmart.com, but there are some sites to which you’d say, “no way!” What tells your gut that a site is questionable? Iffy sites don’t properly identify the business’ address, country, or customer hotline. The content, if there is any, may not sell the products or offer ideas about how to use the products. Maybe the “about us” page is lackluster or elusive. The services and experiences of the brand may not be clear, either. Your web writers should make the content wholly readable and authoritative.
6. Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
If you’re like many, it’s sometimes hard to tell when you’ve misspelled a word or split an infinitive. Try the following:
- Rely heavily on a spelling and grammar software program and use it religiously.
- Read your copy outloud before posting it.
- Hire a professional proofreader or editor to clean up your article drafts.
Make sure that you check your facts if you’re stating something as fact. Go back through old blog posts and update them. Fix broken links and stylistic errors to breathe life back into old posts.
7. 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?
If you are the expert on a topic or you are representing experts, your experiences will dictate the article content. A site shouldn’t revolve around the semantics of keywords solely and overtly for ranking purposes.
We’ll cover the next quarter of Googles’ Panda list in “What is Quality Content? Part 2”