Category Archives: Panda

How Much Does Grammar Matter to Google and Bing?

Copyright 2014 My Web Writers

Copyright 2014 My Web Writers

We’re often ask us how much punctuation and grammar matter to search engine results. The short answer is, “Yes, grammar, spelling, and usage do matter.”  It’s like asking a business professional if he or she will be judged on his or her clothing at work.  While some offices are more casual than others, you’ll be judged. Google’s grammar dress code might be slightly less formal than Bing’s, but both search companies value articles that users can read without hindrances.

Google’s Content Quality Guidelines

We wrote a whole content quality series based on Google’s content guidelines after Panda came out in 2011.  Check out the four parts to learn more about Google’s quality content checklist. You’ll want to make sure that you double check spelling and grammar, as well as provide authoritative support and elaboration.

Bing’s Position on Common Errors

Duane Forrester of Bing, wrote a post February 20, 2014 that establishes Bing’s position on content quality.  If you haven’t read it, yet, take a moment to do so.  In a nutshell, Mr. Forrester suggests that if your content is littered with common errors, the reader will be frustrated and the poor quality will affect your search results.  Web pages with grammar or spelling mistakes won’t float to the top of Bing.

My Web Writers is available with several editors if you need help proofreading your copy.

Article Evaluation Template

If you’re just looking for a little guidance, download this article evaluation worksheet and ask someone else in your office to score your articles with it. Use the rubric to solicit general feedback from others or just use it as a general checklist to review before publishing. I used this template for student peer review when I was teaching English 101 years ago.  The template was originally published by D.C. Heath Grammar and Composition, which was sold to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Originally published by DC Heath and Company

Originally published by DC Heath and Company

Remember, even the best writers borrow a second set of eyes before publishing! Revising and proofreading are just standard actions steps.

Leave a comment

Filed under Grammar, Panda, Revising & Proofreading, SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Radio’s One-to-One Marketing Secret Resurrected

radio-dialOne-to-one marketing is not new.  Successful radio broadcasters have leveraged this form of communication for almost one hundred years.  As the Radio Association of Broadcasters Users Guide notes, “Most people listen to radio on their own in their own personal space such as the car, the kitchen, the bedroom etc.  When they say it on TV, they’re saying it to everybody, whereas when I hear it on the radio they’re saying it more to me personally.”

Just like radio, this is how the Internet works today.  While surfing the web, a one-to-one message is targeting a specific audience group.  That message is further refined with each click to the individual level as specific content marketing strategies for top sites are being personalized for each user.

Four trends will continue to support this ongoing growth of one-to-one content marketing on the web for many years to come:

The one-size-fits-all marketing broadcast from the 20th century is not relevant in this era of social media.  Take note of how many Super Bowl and Olympics commercials on the broadcast networks encourage viewers to engage personally with the brand.  Customers are individuals and do not want to be treated like masses.  That was how TV broadcasts used to work.  Today, top brands treat individuals as they are and address their own unique sets of wants and needs.  Just follow the conversations brands are having with followers using hashtags seen on these television commercials.  By its personalized nature, one-to-one marketing via social media fulfills this desire to have each individual’s voice be heard.

Personalized direct marketing will only increase.  Despite all the time saving devices, shoppers are more pressed than ever for time.  Personal content marketing will continue to grow to meet the needs of customers who don’t want to wait in long lines or sit in traffic.  They seek to make quick purchase decisions.  Crowd sourcing product recommendations through “customers who bought this also bought this” algorithms cut to the chase and streamline the web shopping experience.

Consumers will freely share the brands they are loyal to with others.  Shoppers love the perks they receive from brands that reinforce a unique value proposition during every purchase occasion. One-to-one marketing techniques used by eCommerce marketers today focus on discovering a brand’s best customers and reward them frequently for their loyalty.  Who doesn’t share news of big discounts received or memorable experiences?

Mass-media approaches will decline.  With advances in business intelligence gathering, market research analysis, and database mining technology, marketers will be able to engage customers personally in ways never before imagined.  GPS tracking, geo fences, and instant messaging will provide potential customers with the right message, at the right moment, at the right location.  These technological advances will offer one-to-one marketers a more cost-effective way to reach customers as businesses continue to personalize their messages.

While most decision-makers realize that one-to-one communication opens the door to revenue, knowing which technologies and human resources are worth investing in to make your marketing plan successful takes wisdom. The number of companies in the content marketing space has more than doubled in the last couple years. This rapid growth was sparked by Google’s Panda update in 2011, which emphasized quality content and continues with the 2013 Hummingbird update. While there have been abuses to guest posting for SEO back-links, which Matt Cutt’s addressed in his January 2014 post, “The Decay and Fall of Guest Blogging for SEO,” marketing with a targeted message in mind will continue to thrive in blogs, social media, press releases, video and on your website. Investing in quality content creation continues to be an integral part of one-to-one marketing success.


Leave a comment

Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Hummingbird, Marketing, Panda

What should web writers know about content creation?

Strong content is a must-have to make your sites not only user-friendly but highly-ranked in search results. These tips will help you find a strong balance of readability and SEO.

Move Beyond Keywords

With each change to the Google algorithm, the role of keywords becomes more sophisticated. Keyword density higher than 2% can actually hurt your ranking. Just looking at keyword data will no longer work for generating high-ranking content. Additionally, the implementation of encrypted searching will make keyword data less reliable. Jayson DeMers at Search Engine Watch suggests continually building your content and refreshing pages to signal that your site is alive and growing, rather than focusing strictly on search terms.

Write Like People Think

When you do use keywords, the new secret is to instead use search terms in a way that more naturally reflects how the word is used conversationally or the way people think about the words. For example, instead of using shorthanded terms in your meta titles and keywords, use phrases or concepts. As search engines begin processing natural language more frequently, the change may become a hindrance to ecommerce and business sites that use keywords less conceptually. For example, rather than using a title like “Find the Best Writing Solutions,” which emphasizes keywords like writing and solutions but doesn’t sound much like an inquiry someone might ask a search engine, you might try “How to Write Better” or “Best Ways to Improve Your Writing.” Whereas older algorithms focused on keywords, the new algorithms are looking more for phrases and concepts that reflect real people’s language use.

Engage Your Audience

Since you’ll be writing more like people think, it’s important to think more about for whom you’re writing. As content becomes more prevalent in search algorithms, so do different ways of assessing the quality of the content, such as authority and audience engagement. Quality content is frequently updated, helpful, and targeted for your audience. Aim for content that will get the audience to comment, bookmark, or share. End your posts with questions or prompts to encourage audience participation and use reader feedback to help you assess who your audience really is. Not only does engagement with readers boost your SEO rank, it also helps you better address your readers in a way that makes them feel connected to your site or brand. Pay attention to signals that let you know what language, examples, and other trends are most engaging for your readers. Building a relationship with your audience is more complicated than analyzing keyword results, but it provides the biggest boost to your brand and content quality.

Use Social Media

While all social media is a huge means of generating traffic, you can’t underestimate the use of Google+ in developing your rank and content. Link your blog or website to Google+ and make sure that you generate content that crosses over well. Think eye-catching pictures, engaging questions, and sharp summaries that encourage users to click from your Google+ page to your blog or website. That linking builds your presence and authority in the Google algorithm.

Creating a broader social media strategy is an important part of getting your content seen and of generating more engagement and authority. When using social media consider your audience and which sites offer the best reach. A social media strategy must do more than simply sharing links and hoping they’ll get reposted. Introduce content with thought-provoking or click-worthy leads. Ask questions. Use visuals that grab attention. Many social media platforms use a lot of white space in their design, so visuals really pop. Meet your audience where they are and draw them into your content.

~Kasey

More Posts:

Content Improved Our Client’s Keyword Reach and Searchlight’s Data Proved It

Ten Tips for Starting a Social Media Conversation

A Writer’s Insight into Google’s Hummingbird

Seven Helpful Apps for Social Media Marketers

1 Comment

Filed under Algorithms, Content, Hummingbird, Keywords, Panda, Penguin, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media

What is Google Authorship and What Do Writers Need to Know About It?

UPDATE: We are leaving this post up for history’s sake but Google’s Authorship is no more. Google scrapped the concept by the end of 2013.

By My Web Writers

What is Authorship?

Google Authorship can basically be thought of as your online, digital signature that directly corresponds with your Google+ profile, where Google would like you to store your manicured and verifiable online identity. Just a quick search on the internet for “Google Authorship” provides a flood of results explaining Google Authorship as well as how to and why you should use it.

Why is it so important, though?

The simple answer, as well as the most accurate, is that Authorship is important because Google really, really wants it to be. Google decided and decreed its importance and has helped proliferate the internet with what appear to be incredibly compelling reasons, particularly for writers, to use Google+ Authorship.

When you sign up, Google provides a “rel=author” mark up to include on your writing, which then ties back to your G+ profile. This, ostensibly, is to increase quality web content, increase authority and build trust for quality writers as well as protecting your original content and increasing ranking on SERPs and improving CTRs.

Authorship can be thought of us Google’s reward for writers who are willing to put their name and reputation at the forefront for content that they created. It is marketed as a natural continuation of the Panda update that swept through the search engine results and came down heavy on a lot of bad content companies that were heavy on links and light on unique, engaging content that web users were interested in. These articles were most often ghost written by anonymous content writers, so there was no accountability for terrible content and no reward for greatness.

So, as a writer, what do I need to know about Google Authorship?

Remember that web search for the phrase “Google Authorship”?  Ask yourself why the only results you’ll find are ones promoting and extolling Authorship. There are countless SERPs populated with digital-age John the Baptists crying out, “Prepare Ye the Way for Author Rank with your Diligent Use of Authorship!”

The benefits of Authorship are seemingly numerous for many fairly established writers and bloggers. Here is a visual representation of the glory of Google Authorship.

Authorship graphic

However, what if you are a writer who sells content to a publisher and ghost writes copy for clients?  Those industry-typical publishing companies own your writing and often play a part in editing and promoting your writing (Read My Conversation with Matt Cutts).  At this time, Google doesn’t acknowledge authorship for publisher or business G+ pages.

Reputable content publishers compensate writers for the content at fair wages that intrinsically reward quality insights and creative material (what Google claims you need Authorship for).  If you, oh Writer, happen to earn a living this way, Google Authorship would require you to sign up for a G+ account to use authorship.

Is this truly a “reward” for writers who produce professional and unique content, or a way to promote G+ accounts with the promise of increased SERPs ranking backed by the echo of Eric Schmidt’s ominous remarks at 2013 SMX West:

Eric Schmidt quote

“The truest cost of remaining anonymous… might be irrelevance.” While unnerving, writers need to be able to question not only the truth of that statement, but any other assertions encountered time and time again both in life on-line as well as off. Without questioning assertions and providing unique perspectives that often challenge the status quo, writers face the danger of falling in line with the current dotcom doctrine, when in reality, no matter how big Google is (and how awesome many of their products and features actually are), they aren’t the boss of the internet – but sometimes we let them think they are.

For more information on Google Authorship, check out a few of our posts (and others) to make up your own mind about how effective Google Authorship will be for your writing and work.

~Sara

What Would History Say About Google Authorship?

How Should My Business Use Google+?

8 Comments

Filed under Business Strategy, Content Marketing, Marketing, Panda, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Writing Careers