In my previous article, we talked about four pillars of modern SEO. Quality content or text in SEO is the number one major ranking factor. However, not many people agree with me. Let me explain. Supposing you are looking for a search term on Google. You find a relevant page and looking at page title and meta description you go on that page. However, you do not find the content of the page relevant to what you were searching. You will go back to the SERPs. This will increase the bounce rate of that page and also decrease the session duration. Google takes into account these two factors as well while measuring page ranking. Creating quality content online is something that Googles stresses a lot. This is because Google does not want bad visitor experience to its users. Let us understand the quality text in SEO.
The focus on quality content was stressed much after the Google updates which were released from the year 2011 to 2016. Namely, Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Payday loan, mobile-friendly, & Possum update. Importance of quality content in SEO & Quality text in SEO is a must and you should consider writing good content on your webpages.
Google’s definition of good content
Google helps webmasters to create quality content and quality text for SEO. They have laid out directions and guideline for content creators. They have clearly differentiated between unique good content & un-ethical ways of creating content. Let me explain each of the guidelines in a simple way for you to understand.
1. Useful content for the visitor
I always create content which the visitors on my web blog want to see. If I get them by spam techniques on my page with content not relevant to them, they will bounce off. This will leave a bad experience for my blog on Google.
2. Embed search terms
Before creating quality content online, do a lot of keyword research. Google gives you a free tool to do this. It’s called a Google keyword planner. You need to know what people are searching online. What keyphrases are they searching? Try to use these search terms into your page. Google crawlers will look them up and this would be very helpful in SEO. Getting to know the intent is very necessary. For e.g. this page is about quality content. So there are a variety of search terms that I picked up from the keyword planner which users are searching. Furthermore, I have incorporated those search terms in the content of this page. Keyword research helps you to plan your tags and focus keywords better. I use Yoast as an SEO plugin. Their premium version let me rank my page on 5 different key phrases.
3. Alt text in Images & text for important phrases
We all know that Google crawlers do not recognise text in images. So if you want to highlight any important key phrase of a keyword in your content use it as text. Like for e.g. if you want Google to know that Indian mountain is an important key term in your picture then use in text. The other way around is to write an Alt tag to create a short description of your image. This Alt tag will be read by Google and it will know exactly what the picture is all about. Another thing is that while connecting important keywords with links try to use the anchor text which tells you about the page you are linking to.
4. <Title> & Alt Attribute should be descriptive
Let us break things up for better understanding. There are three things we are going to talk about. Title, Meta description and Alt Attribute here. The title is the first line of introduction of your webpage in search. The title has two tasks. Firstly, to get a user click on your page listing depending upon how user engaging your title is. Secondly, to tell Google what the page is all about. Try to write a compelling title that should compel a user to click on your webpage listing. This can also be a reason for good or bad CTR. If your CTR is low, try tweaking the title a little. I have found this to be useful in terms of increasing CTR.
A meta description is a small description that is below the title in searches. If you do not specify a meta description Google will pick it up from the content, however, I would recommend you write this as well. A user engaging one, that attracts a visitor to click. This also can be modified and keywords can be induced for a better CTR.
Now let’s look at the Alt tag. These serve two purposes as discussed earlier. Firstly for people who are vision-impaired can use text to speech to identify the images. Secondly, it helps Google crawlers to identify the nature of the image and focused keyword.
The alt tag, Meta descriptions & title can be written with keywords in them to increase the CTR. However, I would advise not to stuff the keyword unnecessarily. Whatever is specified must make sense.
5. Webpages are for visitors and not for search engines
This is where black hat SEO practices come into the picture. Most of the webmasters including myself used to make pages which could please search engine. I did not pay any attention to what users were looking for. So you could image I had little success. However, you need to keep in mind that the webpage is for the user and not for Google. The best way of writing quality content online is to think like a user. What would you type if you are looking for a specific search term? What should the page include, what shouldn’t be there? These are basic questions that you should ask your self before creating any content. Look the simple way it works is that if you can keep your visitors happy, Google will be happy.
6. Make your presence and make your content stand out
Whenever I want to rank any webpage on a keyword, I first look at the top 10 results in Google SERPs. These websites are doing exceptionally well in terms of quality content, CTR and rankings. Ideally, if I want to beat them I need to deliver something which will make my webpage stand out. What is the point of being and offering something which 100’s or other websites are offering? Try to be unique and offer something new and fresh to your visitors. Make your presence felt and make your page stand out. Looking at your competitors i.e. the top 10 results in the page will tell you everything that you need to do to make your page stand out. Creating quality content online is a habit and you need to get used to it. You need to consider all the factors which I am listing on this page.
Google tells us to avoid these things
1. Automated content generators
There are a lot of online free content generators. At all cost avoid these. The content quality coming from these online tools is crappy. Google does not support any automated content which is generated through any third party. I know in order to speed up the process you might have used these generators in the past. However, if you are still using it please stop. This can get you penalized or worse can permanently get you banned from Google SERPs. The content has to strictly unique and without any plagiarism.
2. Do not have pages with little or copied content
Do not have pages with little content. There is a minimum word limit which a post or a page should have. Luckily, in WordPress Yoast plugin does this job. 300 words are the bare minimum and for a cornerstone content 900 words and above. However, I consider a good article should have at least 1500 to 2000 words. Content is indeed the king here. Also, make sure that your content is original and not copied from anywhere else. There are many tools to check the plagiarism in content. I do accept guest post on my blog every now and then. I use a plagiarism checker tool to check if the content is unique of not. Ensure that your content is unique and does not have any copied content.
Some webmasters in past used to hide rich snippets content on the page. This content was stuffed excessively with keywords in order to rank the page better. However, this used to work in the past and not now. Google algorithms are on a hunt for these hidden texts and hidden links. How did they use to do it? It’s simple using the same colour font as background. This sounds so funny, but there were webmasters who were doing it. They were doing it with the text and with links both. Ironically, this technique used to work some time back, however after the series of Google updates this does not help. So don’t do it.
4. Doorway pages
Let us first understand what is a doorway page. The page which is created and optimized to rank for a particular keyword only. That is the sole purpose of that page. Then once you start getting a ton of traffic on this page, then you can funnel it thorough this page to different other pages.
5. Scrapped content & using synonyms
A lot of webmasters in order to set up their website quickly copied the content from other websites. This scrapped content is bad for your website. Spammers often do this to create content online quickly. Furthermore, webmasters used to change certain words or user their synonyms in the content to make it look unique. However, with the plagiarism tool in places, Google knows how much unique the content is. Creating quality content online is a time taking and a process that requires dedication. There is no short cut to it.
6. Participating in an affiliate program without adding too much value.
In one of the previous update, Google came down heavy on those pages which were stuffed with adverts. Quality content comes first then the adverts. I am an affiliate partner of a few brands. Brands like Amazon, Bluehost, SiteGround, Booking.com. All these affiliate links are on my website. However, I would recommend to make a separate page and make it rank for each affiliate program. Simply just putting an affiliate link will not help and Google will not like it. Every link every text should give a unique experience to the user. I have a unique page for Bluehost affiliate. Check it out if you are looking for hosting plans. I am making other pages too which will go live shortly.
7. Stuffing pages with keywords
A lot of fo webmasters still do this. In order to rank their page on a particular keyword, they stuff the content with that particular keyword unnecessarily. When you over the page with the keywords the content looks grammatically incorrect. This even though used to work earlier, but it does not work now after the Google updates. So stop stuffing the content with keywords. Content has to be in a flow and should not look vague & unnatural. Take a look at the example below to understand keyword stuffing it better as to what is a Quality text for SEO and how keyword stuffing spoils the whole content.
“Keyword stuffing is bad for SEO. Why keyword stuffing is bad? Well, because Google knows all about keywords stuffing. Keyword stuffing was used by a lot of people. Now, no one uses keyword stuffing anymore”
So you see, the above content looks so unnatural and vague to read.
8. Stop user-generated spam and indulge in creating quality content
While operating my web blog on WordPress I have seen a lot of incoming comments. Normally, Akismet filtersout the spam comments and let me see only the one that I need to moderate. Even moderated comments are sometimes spammy comments. Make sure that you approve only genuine comments and not the spam comments. There may be comments like “hey I love you site” or “Nice theme”, do not approve comments like this. If you do it would be user-generated spam. Approve only legitimate comments.
Furthermore, I have seen a lot of people accepting guest posts. It is good provided the content quality is excellent and there is no plagiarism. Just ensure that there are no embedded links in the text pointing to another webpage when you get the guest post. Never allow any author to put any external links in the article, and definitely not use the key-word rich anchor text. If someone wants to include a link pointing to their domain, you should allow this to happen in the author bio section only. Also, check the DA of domain where the author wants to point.
If you set rules like this, fewer people might be interested in the guest post. However, you will get quality content and improved SEO. Creating quality content online is what we are focusing on and your guest post policies should align with it.
Let’s sum it up
Creating quality content online is a time taking activity, and there is no short cut to it. Do not even try looking for a short cut as that will accumulate a lot of junk content which will not be relevant to the user and hence Google will disapprove it. Let us briefly sum up a few key points.
- Content has to be created for the user and not for search engine. Create what you would like to see. It should add value and there should be no keyword stuffing.
- If you want to be the best than take out the best. This is true, look at the top 10 results and try and come out with something which is unique and is not included in the top 10 results.
- Getting visitors to your website might be easy, however, retaining them is tough. Try and create quality text for SEO regularly and give your visitors something new every time so they keep coming back to your page.
In the end would like to say that whatever your niche is, the content has to be top-notch. Quality text for SEO is what everyone strives for but few get the way to it. That’s what would get you to the top. If you have any questions here, please leave them in the comments section. I would love to answer them.