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Benefits of good content

Discussion in 'Guest Articles' started by FirstPageResults, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. FirstPageResults

    FirstPageResults Membership: VIP

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    This guest article is written by Shane of Bait.com.au.

    Original and good quality content can benefit your websites in a number of ways. The benefits range from improved rankings to improved conversions - and ultimately more profitable websites!

    Please feel free to leave some comments.
    ------------------------------------------------------------


    Benefits of good website content

    Unless you have a portfolio of premium domains that get strong type-in traffic, to make proper money from your domains I believe that good content is the key.

    Some of the SEO experts on DNtrade may disagree with this comment, but in my opinion good content is the most important factor in building profitable websites.

    Before I go further into the benefits of good content, I’d like to set the scene with one of my own experiences.

    Case Study

    A few years ago I setup my business website in the rather competitive insurance industry. I built a decent website, and within a few months of launching I took on the services of a large firm that managed the SEO of some other very high ranking and well known insurance sites.

    Despite paying them a considerable sum each month, I was told that position three was the maximum I could achieve for my main keyword, as my top two competitors were just too strong.

    The SEO firm I was using concentrated mainly on link building, as they believed my on-page SEO was already pretty good thanks to my own work. They did provide some supposedly good SEO-friendly copy, but it was absolutely horrible and I made sure it never appeared on my site!

    As I reached the end of my twelve month contract with this firm it became evident that position three was indeed the best ranking they could achieve for me. I chose not to review the contract, and instead decided to focus on creating good content for an hour or two each week instead.

    Within five months of the SEO contract ending, I had moved my website up into position 2, solely through the consistent addition of good content. But what was more impressive is that number 1 position was a new site of mine, that I had built from scratch and loaded with good content.

    So from having a large and seemingly successful SEO firm tell me that position 1 and 2 were unachievable, 18 months later I AM position 1 and 2!

    Yes I did a small amount of link building, but I credit these results mainly to good content.

    Crap Content V Great Content

    I’ve heard about all of these “article-spinner” systems and other ways to obtain cheap and easy content. I’ve also heard all about the cheap content that can be obtained through services like elance, where people from developing countries will write articles from $10 or less.

    As well as hearing about these methods, I’ve also read plenty of the content that they provide, including the rubbish that my old SEO firm provided me with. Seriously, I would be embarrassed to have that content on my website!

    Sticking within my main niche, insurance, I have read some really diabolical content on some websites, including the websites of licensed financial advisers and insurance brokers, who it appears have unfortunately taken the advice of their SEO firm and used cheap overseas content providers who have no knowledge of the Australian market or our regulations.

    Often the content is grammatically poor, and of most concern to me is that the content is often technically inaccurate. As a former financial adviser myself, it pains me to see high ranking websites that contain incorrect information. Maybe this doesn’t impact on your rankings, but it could potentially impact on someone’s life if they believe what they’ve read on your website.

    Furthermore, if someone is reading your website who knows a thing or two about the subject, they will pick up on your errors immediately and will leave your site without having achieved your desired outcome, i.e. completing a lead form or continuing to browse before clicking one of your ads.

    Are you a professional or an amateur?

    Of course any of us can throw together a cheap website with crap content and make a few bucks each month. If you make enough from those websites you might even be able to make a living out of it.

    But is that what you want? Do you want to have a portfolio of mediocre websites that rely on Google search for your traffic and Google Adsense for you your income? Websites that you know a person is only ever going to visit once and then disregard forever?

    Or do you want to build websites that can become businesses in their own right? Businesses that make proper money, and can one day be sold for serious money.

    If it’s the latter you want, then you have to build quality websites that people will want to come back to. Websites that other people will want to link to, and websites that provide real value to the visitors.

    A good domain name and good design is obviously very important, but in my opinion good content is king.

    Good content as ‘bait’

    I like to think of good website content as an online version of fishing bait.

    Google Bait – Your content should be good enough to attract the right attention from Google.

    To do this it should be original, relevant to the subject and your target keywords, and going forward I also believe that it will have to be grammatically sound.

    Client Bait – Your content should also be good enough to attract the right kind of visitors.

    If your visitors read the first two paragraphs of your landing page and feel that the content is poor, chances are they are going to hit the back button and click on the next search result.

    This leads to a failure on a number of levels, because they haven’t completed a form or clicked on an ad, and they’ve also contributed to your bounce rate which affects your Google rankings.

    You need to have content on that first page, be it your home page or any other page indexed and ranked by Google, that grabs the visitors attention and makes them want to hang around.

    Regardless of what your desired outcome is, be it a subscription form, lead form or a clicked ad, the longer the visitor stays on your website, the better your chances of success.

    Furthermore, if they really felt your website provided value to them, they are more likely to link to it or share it via social media.

    A changing world

    With the recent Google Panda updates, it became clear that Google is finally starting to favour quality over quantity.

    People say that Google will soon start placing less emphasis on exact match domains, but personally I feel they are more likely to start placing less emphasis on the number of links. Or at least I think they should!

    Everyone knows that the majority of links to most ‘optimised’ websites are artificial. I often check the link profiles of highly ranked websites, particularly those of my competitors, and most of the back-links come from spam blogs and directories.

    Going forward, it is my belief that Google will focus more on the quality of the content within the website. If programs such as Word can check your spelling and even grammar on the run, then I see no reason why Google could not do the same.

    Surely a website with poor spelling and grammar is more likely to be of lesser quality that a website with good spelling and grammar? I feel that Google will take this into account eventually, and that they will further punish the websites that try to fool Google with cheap content and spammy artificial links.

    Content is king!

    Link building will always be an important part of SEO, and not for a second am I saying that you should stop putting effort into it. In my experience however, great content has always been the key to good rankings and profitable websites, and that’s where the majority of my energy is directed.

    I take the same approach with most of my websites – and that is to build them in a way that respects every visitor to the site. I don’t want to waste their time or mislead them with garbage content, because I hate when that happens to me.

    Instead, I build each site in the hope that each visitor will get a little something from the content. And hopefully, depending on the site, they’ll have enough faith and trust in the site to complete one of my forms, or at least hang around long enough to click on an ad. If they really liked it, then a back link would be nice too!

    Creating your own content

    I’d like to believe that most people are capable of writing their own good content, but in reality some people just aren’t good writers. Personally I get great joy from writing, but not everyone is the same.

    Often people don’t have a lack of writing skills, but perhaps a lack of technical knowledge on the subject, a lack of available time, or perhaps just a lack of interest since they can pay someone else to do the work whilst they undertake more profitable work themselves!

    I encourage everyone to have a go at creating their own unique and quality content, but if that’s not you, then I can help...

    Free plug!

    I currently write quality content for a few different websites, including my own sites, a couple of DNtrade members and also a number of licensed financial advisers. For more information please click here.
     
  2. James

    James Membership: VIP

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    I agree with you that content is a key to most niches, yet really when you have niches where they have a dedicated team who make great content and you have a dedicated team who do link building you need the best of both worlds, not just one piece of the puzzle.

    I agree with you that great content will enhance great links, but you also need to bring in link bait content videos, info graphic and what not.

    I also agree that most SEO's get jaded into the sense of what is great content and what is SEO garbage which is spun out a million times, I think moving forward Google is really looking for quality content providers. I am really trying to boost up the content levels on the sites I own at the moment it is hard when I try to outsource like 75% and do 25% myself hehe =)
     
  3. Shane

    Shane Membership: VIP

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    Thanks for your comments James.

    I'm sure you know infinitely more about SEO than me, so I'm glad that you agreed with many of my points!

    I definitely think that Google will start to concentrate more on the quality of the content. Spelling and grammar will be an easy one for them, but I don't know how they'll address content that is inaccurate, especially as regulations, product specifications and even terminology differ from one jurisdiction to the next.

    I'm also certain that they'll start to place less emphasis on bulk links. Myself and friends of mine in business have all spent many thousands on professional SEO, and in our experience a lot of the work has been in building spammy links. I guess right now that's not a problem since it seems to work, but I think this strategy's days are numbered.
     
  4. Chris.C

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    If only they were able to start taking into account social metrics and user experience with some eqivilent of the Facebook "like" button...

    :p
     
  5. Search

    Search Membership: Community

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    Thanks Shane, good article. As you say, content is King! And it has been for a long time, throughout many Google algo changes.

    Backlinks are one facet of SEO, but links by themselves won't get you conversions.
    But content will!...
     
  6. Shane

    Shane Membership: VIP

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    I couldn't agree more! :)

    SEO tricks will come and go, but good content will always be valued by Google - as well as your website visitors.
     
  7. LemonChip

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    I really enjoyed reading this... I started a website up about a year ago and it's finally showing some promise, and looks like it'll get sold in the next 6 months or so... I too definitely noticed a difference when I started pouring on some quality info for visitors... My ranking crept up, visitors increased, bounce rate dropped, and then ranking picked up some more. And now it's just an upward spiral, it's a great feeling! :)
     
  8. Shane

    Shane Membership: VIP

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    Thanks for the comments. :)

    That's a good point about bounce rate. Good content should definitely keep your visitors hanging around for longer and hopefully looking at more pages.
     
  9. webdeal

    webdeal Membership: Community

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    Google loves websites with a good quality content...more quality ( informative ) pages website has, more chances to get faster to the top....Remember when Page & Brin created the Google, the idea was to create a web application which will be able to get as accurate info as possible....

    I would say relevant to user search criteria content is the King !

    Great Article Shane ! Thanks
     
  10. DnEbook

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    I wonder how much content it takes to tip the scale ...... 5 pages, 20 pages ??

    I have found in the past 5 full pages of content will not do much (original content)

    I have never paid for articles because i cannot trust the sounce, i prefer to do my research and write in my own words

    I am wondering when it starts to nudge up higher ??
     
  11. shags38

    shags38 Membership: Community

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    I agree that content is King. I struggle though with the "originality, uniqueness and quality" of content being assessed by a series of mathematical formulae. How does the GoogleBot know what the finites of the Australian Insurance regulations are and how they vary from those of another country? What spelling and/or grammar language basis does the Bot use - we all struggle with the U.S. English auto correction, color-colour, program-programme (seeing lots of red lines as I type). What determines "original or unique" content? if articles were watermarked with a registration / copyright code then I would concede that the Bot could determine the authenticity of the originality or uniqueness.

    I have written many articles - with certain commonality of theme of a number of my sites many of my "original" articles appear on many of my sites - how does the Bot assess the originality of that one article it sees on many different sites?

    The correctness of grammar is as arguable as time in eternity. It is a fine day today isn't it. A fine day today it is is it not. Tis a fine day for sure it is.

    The first two - are they questions or statements? Which of the three are grammatically correct and which are not? Where should the commas be placed in those brief sentences to change them from statements to questions or vice versa? why is viceversa flagged as incorrect spelling, as is versa?

    Length of an article - the optimum length is?? (42 different answers). An authoritative article on a particular subject may be absolutely maxed out at 500 words (3000 -3500 characters) and be a literary masterpiece and another article on a different topic coming in at 3000 words (in excess of 25,000 characters) could be legitemately judged as nothing more than a precis by some. Wise SEO sayers were suggesting over 1000 words was too long - they now say with Panda that 1000 is the minimum acceptable as authoratative.

    Pages ? one page with more than one article is seen to be an article farm - even if the page is paginated - go figure. The same article in two different sections of a site, even though there is absolute relativity in both sections of the site is seen as duplicate content ..... go figure.

    I think we all agree - content is king - whether old or new, borrowed or blue (the Bot can't tell) - the key IMHO is continual regular submission of content to a site so that every time the Bot whizzes through it sees something NEW on the site, ORIGINAL on the site, RELEVANT on the site. (key = "on the site" )

    cheers,
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  12. DnEbook

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    Consider all to be ............. 'open questions/statements'

    I am interested in comments about this 'rumor mill' of a topic
     
  13. Shane

    Shane Membership: VIP

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    I don't know if there's a magic number of words per article or articles per site.

    For my personal sites I try to keep things mixed up. The average article is around 700 words, but sometimes I'll put together articles exceeding 1,000 words if it's an important subject that I'm passionate about.

    Other times I may find myself with a spare 15 minutes and bang out a quick 300 word article to stick on one of my sites.

    As far as my clients go, most prefer the 1,000 word option, whilst others go with 500.

    I've read that Google can pick up if all of your articles are a within a specific word range, and may give you less credit due to to the unnatural look of having every article within 10 words or a certain word count.

    Whether that is true or not I don't know (and I guess nobody other than Google does!) but I find that keeping the word count varied seems to work fine for me.

    I think the key is to consistently update the site with original and relevant content, rather than getting caught up on specific word counts or page counts.
     
  14. Billy01

    Billy01 Membership: Community

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    This one for Spacey

    Keep dreaming brother you too might make some money "one day"
     
  15. shags38

    shags38 Membership: Community

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    Poor quality content ....

    I made reference earlier about the effect of Panda on Parking sites using what Google class as poor quality articles. Some stats from some of my parked sites at one parking site back this up.

    ...................... Visitors - Page Views - Searches - Clicks

    MAY 2011 Total: 24,065 ...... 41,599 ...... 3,630 .... 959

    JULY 2011 Total: 6,954 ...... 14,454 ....... 316 ..... 143

    no prizes for guessing when the Panda effect took place :)

    My revenue is way down, essentially pro-rata to the drop in traffic (albeit some of the sites with the better quality articles have a higher CPC/RPC return) so it lends itself to these parking sites must also be hurting.

    Aside from articles I have read about the effect of Panda I need no greater validation of its effect than my own stats.

    cheers,
    Mike
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2011
  16. DnEbook

    DnEbook Membership: VIP

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    And you might stop spamming .......we all live in hope
     
  17. payattention

    payattention Archived Member

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    I don't think you give the algo enough credit shags, Google have so much data it isn't funny. Sure, sometimes the bot can't tell but that isn't too often. For comparison, Facebook has been around only half as long yet they have so much data that they can predict when someone is going to break up with their partner with fairly good accuracy.

    The fact you're trying to sell a transformers website on Netfleet is a good indicator they got it right IMO :p
     
  18. nina

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    Nice one...:D

    Nina