Google's "good writing" content filter
Summary: The web pages actually at the top of Google have
only one thing clearly in common: good writing. The usual SEO sacred cows
if they even matter at all.
I was recently struck by the fact that the top-ranking web pages on Google
are consistently much better written than the vast majority of what one
reads on the web. Yet traditional SEO wisdom has little to say about good
writing. Does Google, the world's wealthiest media company, really rank
web pages based primarily on arcane technical criteria such as keyword
density, link text, or even PageRank?
Most Common Website Content Success Factors
I took a close look at Google's top five pages for the five most searched-on
keywords, as identified by WordTracker on June 27, 2005. Here's what I
The web pages that contained written content (a small but significant
portion were image galleries) all shared the following features:
* Updating: frequent updating of content, at least once every few weeks,
and more often, once a week or more.
* Spelling and grammar: few or no errors. No page had more than three
misspelled words or four grammatical errors. Note: spelling and grammar
errors were identified by using Microsoft Word's check feature, and then
ruling out words marked as misspellings that are either proper names or
new words that are simply not in the dictionary. Google almost certainly
has better access to new words than the dictionary, with its database
of billions of web pages. Supposed grammatical errors that did not in
fact violate style rules were also ignored. Google would certainly be
less conservative than a grammar checker in evaluating popular stylistic
devices such as sentence fragments.
* Paragraphs: primarily brief (1-4 sentences). Few or no long blocks of
* Lists: both bulleted and numbered, form a large part of the text.
* Sentence length: mostly brief (10 words or fewer). Medium-length and
long sentences are sprinkled throughout the text rather than clumped together.
* Contextual relevance: text contains numerous terms related to the keyword,
as well as stem variations of the keyword. The page may contain the keyword
itself few times or not at all.
SEO "Do's" and "Don'ts" that Don't Really Matter
A hard look at the results slaughters a number of SEO bugbears and sacred
* PageRank. The median PageRank was 4. One page had a PageRank of 0.
(Note that the low PageRank would seem to discount the idea that these
pages owe their ranking completely to numerous incoming links.)
* Frames. The top two web pages listed for the most searched-on keyword
for their internal page links.
* Keyword optimization. Except for two pages, keyword optimization was
conspicuous by its absence. In more than half the web pages, the keyword
did not appear more than three times, meaning a very low density. Many
of the pages did not contain the keyword at all.
* Sub-headings. On most pages, sub-headings were either absent or in the
form of images rather than text.
* Links: Most of the web pages contained ten or more links; many contain
over 30, in defiance of the SEO bugbears about "link popularity bleeding."
Moreover, nearly all the pages contained a significant number of non-relevant
links. On many pages, non-relevant links outnumbered relevant ones.
* Text content: a significant number of pages contained little or no text.
These pages were almost all image galleries (there was one Flash movie),
with the images being photographs of the subject covered by the keyword.
Originality: a significant number of pages contained content copied from
other websites. In all cases, the content was professionally written content
apparently distributed on a free-reprint basis. Note: the reprint content
did not consist of content feeds. However, no website consisted solely
of free- reprint content. There was always at least a significant portion
of original content, usually the majority of the page.
* Make sure a professional writer, or at least someone who can tell
good writing from bad, is creating your site's content, particularly in
the case of a search-engine optimization campaign. If you are an SEO,
make sure you get a pro to do the content. A shocking number of SEOs write
incredibly badly. I've even had clients whose websites got fewer conversions
or page views after their SEOs got through with them, even when they got
a sharp uptick in unique visitors. Most visitors simply hit the "back"
button when confronted with the unpalatable text, so the increased traffic
is just wasted bandwidth.
* If you write your own content, make sure that it passes through the
hands of a skilled copyeditor or writer before going online.
* Update your content often. It's important both to add new pages and
update existing pages. If you can't afford original content, use free-reprint
* Distribute your content to other websites on a free-reprint basis. This
will help your website get links in exchange for the right to publish
the content. It will also help spread your message and enhance your visibility.
Fears of a "duplicate content penalty" for free-reprint content
(as opposed to duplication of content within a single website) are unjustified.
* In short, make sure the bulk of your investment in your website is devoted
to its content, rather than graphic design, old-school search-engine optimization,
or linking campaigns.
|About the author
Joel Walsh is the owner, founder and head-writer of UpMarket Content.
To read more about website content best practices, get a consultation
with Mr. Walsh, or get a sample page for your site at no charge, go
to the SEO website content page: http://www.upmarketcontent.com/website-content/#seo
your mind about an eBay bid?
We have all made choices in life that two seconds later
we know we should take back. Especially when there is money involved
this can become a problem.
simple way to create 7 effective autoresponder messages
Email is the Net's most powerful marketing tool. And autoresponders
are the best idea yet for marketing with email.
ways to drive laser-targeted traffic to your website
Getting people who matter to see one’s website
is a difficult undertaking if he tries to consider the fact that
there are rivals everywhere waiting to pin him down.
valuation: Why standard website pricing methods will emerge
The market of buying and selling developed websites is
becoming more and more liquid each day.
way links are better than reciprocal links
You probably know by now that where your website ranks in
the search engine rankings dramatically affects how many visitors you
have to your site. Did you also know that you can change where your
site is ranked by being proactive and getting as many one way links
to your site as possible?
to make visitors stay at your website
The very first thing which you should provide the visitors
with is some free interesting reading material.
to make your visitors click your ads
Here is a simple solution; Convert your banner advertisement
to look like a text advertisement!
advertising should be a part of your online strategy
Day by day, online business has become more & more
complicated and competitive.
to sell traffic
Selling the traffic arriving at your site is a good method
to increase profits from your portal.
money from online auctions
Online auctions have the best benefit of a vast platform.
Your product is viewed by loads of people & hence there is
more possibility of finding a suitable bidder.
explained in easy terms
Groupware is a term used frequently to describe collaborative
software. Groupware is application software that integrates work
on a single project by several concurrent users at separated random
back up can save you from disasters
Few things which people often back up are e-mail addresses,
bank records, photographs, personal records, software’s,
should one go for autoresponders
Autoresponders are programs which get automatically
executed in particular situations.
your own boss - Start your own online business today
A survey conducted by SBA states that two third of new
business survives at least two year and about forty four percent
survives at least four year.
your thoughts - Creating your own blog!
What exactly is a blog? Technically speaking it is a
journal or a newsletter which is regularly updated and can be used
by any one.
ads - To be or not to be?
According to a study conducted by the Bunnyfoot University, “The
Efficacy of Pop-ups and the Resulting Effect on Brands” Internet
users feel harangues and harassed by pop-up ads.
content is king on the Internet
The advantages that Internet holds over the rest of
the other communication mediums should not wasted because of
the inability to find a comprehensive plan that will bind all
these faculties together.
niche marketing tips
In our increasingly driven consumer economies, the average
customer is bombarded by choices. With increased saturation of the
market, companies look towards niche marketing to search new, ever-evolving
and sophisticated consumers.
free traffic exchange
These days internet has emerged as both, a market and
hub for marketing. Unlike the ‘brick and mortar’ world
where large manufacturers manage to squeeze out the market bases
of smaller companies, the internet provides haven like the free
ways to drive traffic to your website
Developing a web site and then letting it grow is
like planting a tree and then nurturing it.
through keyword articles
One of the most effective tools of Internet marketing
is the use of keyword articles.
to make money online? Market a service to businesses
Don walked across the street from his house to mine to
announce he had finally retired. "But I'm not ready for the
golf course," he said. "I want to make a living on the
Internet. What can I sell?"
site design mistakes - Database parameters in URLs
Creating a web site takes thought, planning and execution.
Unfortunately, many designs are dead in the water before they are
even published as far as search engine optimization is concerned.
Whatever you do, avoid these critical mistakes.
Toolbar - The ultimate internet tool
There are numerous tools available on the Internet to
assist online businesses. A valuable tool that you should use is
the Alexa Toolbar. Even better, this tool is free.
site design mistakes
Some wise human once said "Learn from the mistakes
of others. There isn't nearly enough time to make them all yourself."
Hence this article. Here are five of the most annoying and common
web design mistakes.
- Why visitors don't turn into customers
Every good Internet business understands the value of
conversions versus hits received. Far too often, businesses become
fixated on the hits they are receiving instead of monitoring their
hit to sale conversion rate.
search engine optimization - A case study
Search engine optimization this and search engine optimization
that. You read and hear about it all day, but what about your site?
|Tools & services to enhance your online
Over 100,000 small businesses of all kinds outperform
larger, well-financed competitors. Read about this all-in-one site-building-hosting-marketing
system of tools that delivers results.
To Their Success
Take a private tour of two "Mom & Pop"
web sites every month that earn $100,000+ a year... and discover
the exact step-by-step strategies they have personally used to generate
these massive profits.