Whatever your thoughts were on content before 2012 (some of us were more conscientious than others), Google made it very clear with their yearlong roll out of Panda that we were no longer allowed to “cheat” our way to the top.
If you wanted to be seriously considered for ranking in the almighty G’s algorithm, then you’d better have a killer content plan – one that actually offered value to the readers.
How does the algorithm know the difference between 5 articles written for $1 each and those produced by a trained writer from a native English speaking country?
We don’t really know for sure, but what we DO know is that it can and that with every passing tweak to the algorithm, it gets a little better.
From the content mills that got nerfed in early 2011 to the blog networks that were kiboshed in early 2012, Google wants people to do it right and that means content.
So, this module is arguably the most important in this entire program. You NEED the information in this section, so I want you to promise yourself and your computer screen that you will NOT skip ahead, take short cuts or skim your way to the end.
This is not the section where you can say “I already know that”, because you probably don’t.
Not only do I have a boat load of creative strategies I want to share with you, but this is information that most Internet marketers (new or old) haven’t considered before. Yes, some of it is common sense, but a lot of it isn’t and that’s where you can get tripped up.
So, keep reading, take notes and think in terms of what you can do as you build your first site.
5 Golden Rules of Content Creation
I’m about to share with you my five golden rules of content development and why the prevailing wisdom is so wrong.
Golden Rule 1 – Quality Does Not Mean Quantity
Before we go any further, I want to discuss with you the single biggest misconception people have in this business.
The idea that there is only option for content: volume.
People assume that because Google says they want better quality content, that means MORE content.
Quality does not mean quantity – that’s the first rule in building your site. The old model was relatively simple and beginners to Internet marketing liked it for that reason:
Create a New Site with a direct match keyword domain.
Buy $50 worth of $5 articles and load them onto the site.
Spend $200 on SEO and build thousands of cheap backlinks to your site.
Bam, it either works or it doesn’t. If it shows promise, pour more into SEO. If not, move on to the next keyword.
This doesn’t work anymore. These kinds of sites were the first ones to get nerfed by Google during the Panda/Penguin cleansing period.
The new model is to build a site with quality content that is updated regularly and to scale back SEO a bit.
But, people are still going at it the old way. They think they need a lot of pages on a site for it to be effective. They think that the once powerful “sniper” methods are done and gone.
But, they’re not.
The idea that you need to write thousands and thousands of pages of content for a site to be popular in Google is dead wrong and here’s why.
Google doesn’t care how much you write. Remember one thing above all else. Google is a public company that needs to make money to continue growing. How does Google make money? With advertising.
So, they need to make sure their search results offer quality answers to the queries proffered by their customers – the searching public. If someone searches for “debt forgiveness” Google doesn’t care if the first response is an ad if that ad offers enough valuable information that their users return to that page.
They measure the effectiveness of this content with a number of metrics, including:
- Return Rate – How often people return to that page.
- Bounce Rate – How often people go straight back to the search results and look for something else.
- Time on Site – How long do people view content on that site and how many links do they click.
Basically, if you create a good site with useful information, Google can measure that usefulness by how often and how long people use the site.
At the same time, if it is a clear spam site with a poor design and everyone bounces off the page quickly, they will also know and you will lose ranking.
That’s an incredibly oversimplified version of Panda-search mechanics, but it should give you a rough idea of what Google wants. They want their customers to keep coming back to their search engine so the more often they find exactly what they need in one search, the better.
Which brings me back to our point – content quantity vs. content quality. If someone lands on a single page website and reads all 1500 words on that page and then clicks a link, Google will see their behavior and think “that’s a good page”. It doesn’t matter if the site has 100 pages or just 1 page. It’s all about performance of the content on that page.
The goal of this system is to create quick, simple sites that cash in on a trend – that means the sites should take as little time to build as possible and should run on autopilot when you’re done.
You can’t do that if the content has to be updated every 3 days.
Keep this in mind because it will be VERY important when we start writing content.
Golden Rule 2 – Say it Once and Mean It
Have you ever been to (or built) a website on which there were 50 or so pages that all said roughly the same thing. Where the site creators were so clearly trying to game the search engines by hitting on every keyword in their mental thesaurus for their niche?
It’s a bit transparent but for a long time it worked because machines are limited in how much context they can derive from a piece of text.
That is changing however. Google’s newest algorithms are getting better with each passing year at recognizing speech patterns and signs that a topic is being pounded to death.
More importantly, Google is using human editors to review important keywords and top rankings. So even if you manage to ding the top spot for a specific keyword, if that keyword is even mildly competitive, there is a good chance that a human editor will eventually take a peek and decide whether your content is written for the people or the machines.
If it’s the latter, you’ll get flagged and possibly dinged.
This is an easy problem to solve and honestly, it will save you a lot of time and money (thank you Google!)
Just write less and make sure it is better. Keyword stuffing and matching is less effective than ever before. If a piece of content is relevant and useful, you will perform better.
And to be perfectly honest, you want to know that when you create a site that focuses on a heavily searched keyword that you will eventually rank for that keyword, not 25 longtails related to that keyword.
So creating page after page of content that just revamps the same information in fifty different ways is not helpful – to you, to Google and definitely not to your readers.
Golden Rule 3 – Match Content to SEO Efforts
If you create a website about how to generate money selling baseball cards, don’t write articles about fantasy baseball stats to try and cash in on that traffic source. Google is smart enough to know that, A) you are not writing about hte same thing and B) you are trying to trick them.
No one wants to be tricked.
And the punishments for being caught are stricter than ever before – not worth it. So, we are going to make some tweaks to the methods we use and generate content that is not only interesting but exactly matched to our keywording efforts.
This again, means more laser focus. It won’t behoove you to create a site with 55 keywords and 10 pages. You won’t rank for all of those keywords, nor will you generate as much traffic from all of them combined as you would from must one or two if you ranked really well for them.
I know I’m talking about SEO a lot here, but let’s face it, the SEO tends to push the content and I want you to get away from it. The only way to do that is to explain how this stuff actually works.
I want you to stop thinking of Google as a mega-conglomerate that wants nothing more than to make you feel like an ass. They aren’t. They are a company that wants to make money – like you.
They are our business partner in the game of online marketing and the quicker we recognize that and take advantage of the methods they’ve clearly outlined for us to do so, the better off we will be.
Plus, it’s so much less stressful when you spend the time to create a site that you KNOW will last in the rankings because it is a quality site. Crap sites disappear. It might take a year, five years, even ten years if you’re incredibly creative, but they will eventually get slapped and then your hard work is down the drain.
Golden Rule 4 – The Content Licensing and Spinning Business
Okay, so this is a tricky one so I’m going to lay out a few things that I believe, a few things that are myths and some that are still being argued by both sides of the quality vs. quantity argument.
Five years ago, if you had a website and wanted to put fresh content on it, the simplest way to do so would be to create a great article, spin it into fifty new fresh articles and submit them all.
Today, we have a few things stopping us from doing this:
Human content reviews.
As I said in rule #2, you can’t cheat by having the same content written in fifty different ways any longer. You need to be careful how you build your site.
I like to ask the following question of every new page I add to a site:
“What unique value does this page add to the site?”
It doesn’t have to be unique to the universe, but it had better be unique to your website.
Now, there are instances when you can get away with cheating your way around uniqueness. For example, say you offer a service in 25 cities in a certain state. You can and should write 25 different pages for those different cities and describe your services in terms that speak to each of those cities. The content will be very similar, but it will be ready by different readers so it is important that you have a unique angle.
That’s the exception. Now, what are the actual rules here?
Things I Don’t Do:
Duplicate Content – This is a no brainer. There is just no way in the day and age of content filters actively looking for lazy site owners that I would reuse anything that I’ve written for another site. Forget the penalty or lack thereof (there is no penalty for this btw) – you simply won’t rank.
Content Spinning ON SITE – Spinning is a point of contention between Internet marketers. Some believe it is the ONLY way to build out a site rapidly with fresh content. Others feel it is being actively targeted by Google and that the same patterns built into the spinner are detectable by the spiders. I don’t know which is true, but I imagine if Google is capable of detecting this they will penalize those that do it, so I avoid it on site. That said, I still use spun content for sites linking to my site. We will discuss this more later, but the basic idea is that if you create an incredibly useful page why not spin that page and then build a new landing page somewhere – on a web 2.0 resource of some sort – that links to your main page?
Rewriting Content from Another Site – Again, write your own content. If you rewrite it well or hire a good writer, you will probably not get caught, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still suffer. Successful sites are those that provide something new and intriguing – not rehashes of what other successful sites have already done.
Keyword Swapping – Swapping out keywords from one article to the next to stuff as many longtails into your site map as possible is a big no-no. For me. The stuffers out there have been dinged pretty hard by the recent updates. Stick to the core keywords and build content around the specific question represented by those who search for it.
Anchor Text Only on Follow Domains – This is a recent change but one I’ve been trying to teach people for years. It is not natural to always use anchor text when linking to something. It is a best practice, especially on wikis (more on this in the backlinking and SEO modules), but if Google sees 10,000 anchor text backlinks that all match your keywords pointing at your site’s main landing pages, it doesn’t take much to deduce that you are trying to cheat a little. A little anchor text diversity in your content along with posting on both follow and no-follow sites can certainly help with this.
Throughout this module there will be other things I will show you that I do NOT do, despite how popular some of them still are with other marketers. Remember that I am only one person and that the results you see on my sites are not necessarily the same you will receive or that other people get. That said, I know these strategies will not be nerfed by Google any time soon, so use questionable gray-hat tactics at your own risk.
Things I Do:
Rewrite PLR Content – Private label rights articles, eBooks and reports like those on ArtisanPLR or Leet PLR are fantastic. If all you do is use them for research, they still save you a ton of time. I’m not going to go into the use of PLR for deeply in this guide, but if you are interested in really getting some solid info on this topic, check out how I get 100,000 unique targeted visitors to my website per day and earn as much at $48,333 in just one week - click here to check it out.
Diversify with Keyword Modifiers – While I don’t like keyword swapping, I am a big proponent of advanced keyword integration. The basic method is simple. Use X keyword Y times in a page for a density of Z. However, you can really pack your article without making it sound so unnatural by providing a list of related industry terms and encouraging “active use.” My first ocndition for all new writers is that they use NO pronouns. Replace all pronouns and empty verbs with active words that represent parts of long tails in my niche. It’s richer, easier to read content too.
Landing Page Diversity for Various Audiences – I create multiple landing pages on my sites not to tap into multiple keywords but to provide value to different types of readers. If someone is looking for tips on training their beagle, they may want to learn about stopping biting behavior, or they may be interesting potty training a puppy. Or they might want something completely different.
Each keyword is fairly similar, “stop beagle biting”, “beagle puppy training”, “beagle potty training”, but the actual content on those pages is written for a different target audience. What I DON’T do, however, is write a second page about biting with the keyword “beagle bites” – it’s the same information and adds no value to my site.
These are things that you CAN and should do for your website because they offer benefits specific to your audience. However, what makes this so important is that you have to do it within the context of your site. You can’t create 50 state pages for a business that is not tied to those states or won’t be searched for in those regions.
Golden Rule #5 – Be INTERESTING!
I’ve given you four rules with varying levels of technical information for your content planning.
The last rule and, in my eyes, the most important, is to create content that is above all else interesting. This is the one thing that people ignore more than anything else, too focused on making money.
Forget the click thru rates and the conversions and all the other metrics that reflect your ROI.
Ask yourself the point of the site you are creating. The real, actual point of that site is to provide value to someone who has a question in your field.
If the site doesn’t help someone solve their problem or at least help them find more information elsewhere, it fails. I don’t care what they click on when they leave.
Google will eventually catch up to these sites.
What Google will not do is penalize a site filled with interesting, useful content that is frequently updated and that provides a fresh take on a popular topic.
So, don’t focus on how to build content that is somehow unique from everything else on the Internet (though if you find a way to do this, it certainly won’t hurt), and don’t focus on a way to cheat your way around content and get people to click on links anyways.
If you build it, they will come, to quote a particularly American movie for the baseball fans out there.
If you write it, record it or produce it, people will visit you site and enjoy it.
And to top it off, quality content has a habit of finding its way into the zeitgeist of popular Internet opinion.
Write something really interesting and people from around the globe will share it with each other and you will get even MORE traffic to your site. It’s a simple formula and yet so many people mess it up.
Let’s get started. Let me show you how I get 100,000 unique targeted visitors to my website per day and earn as much at $48,333 in just one week - click here to check it out.