Great content writing: how Panda continues to look kindly on it [Infographic]
During my daily trawling throughout the net, I came across this fabulous infographic I had to share with you. It gives an excellent visual summary of how the latest Google Panda update (4.1) affects bloggers. It looks like there’s still a glimmer of hope on the blogging horizon, especially those who make a real effort to produce their best great content possible.
And I also need to acknowledge I first saw this infographic on this post: http://keepupwiththeweb.com/google-panda-4-1-rewards-quality/ – well worth reading, and written by the sumptuous Sherryl Perry, who I follow most avidly, and certainly writes lots of great content!
Now, what is my take on this? No, this is not being presumptuous, it’s just another blog writing tactic I’ve been investigating lately as part of my blogging made easier e-courses I’ve working on this autumn – watch this space.
Anyhow, back to the infographic.
Use expert writers
Expertise and authority count a lot for Google. The amount of quality content that is found in a post can certainly boost your brownie points, and this is aggregated through the writer really knowing their onions. Added benefits will arise if the blog contains a lot of similar high-profile stuff as great content, revealing a lot of knowledge delivered in a suitable and forthcoming manner.
To overcome this, perhaps more research is in order before placing fingers on keyboard. Posts should contain a lot of information that is valuable and beneficial to the reader, whereas skittish contributions that lack any substance may see short shrift.
Update old content
Your blog needs to be constantly updated. Actually it’s good practice is to go through your old posts and rewrite some of them, both the really good ones and those that have failed, to create different or better great content, especially if you have obtained more expertise in writing and knowledge in the subject since.
As long as you change the title and the permalink, you could republish this regenerated content as a new post, which will certainly help towards producing more fodder to keep both readers and search engines happy.
Link to sources
Linking within content has always been a good thing, but now emphasis is placed on relevant links, presumably outbound (but I’m sure this could also be adapted for internal links too), to sources of authority and credibility placed within what you write. Google claims this will develop more trust by showcasing the authority, but certainly linking to high-ranking and quality websites as points of reference, particularly if it is extremely relevant to your post’s subject, will place you more in Panda’s good books.
Bad, inappropriate and irrelevant links have always scored low to Panda. But now it seems more emphasis needs to be directed to where these references are going, in relation to the post’s subject and readership.
Get positive reviews
This is all about reputation. And reputation seems to come from getting good reviews for your great content, especially on recognised review sites (mentioned above in the infographic). But how else can this reputation be gained? Does sharing and engagement on social media count? Obviously it would be fabulous to get a flurry of comments after the post, but we all know that this practice has been dwindling at an alarming rate recently.
Reputation is enhanced through social networking, engagement and recommendations. It seems that bloggers need to work harder at getting their great content recognised, valued and shared, in order to attract more attention from Panda. But what about those who are just starting, or aren’t able to accumulate a load of subscribers or followers, but still produce fabulous work? The answer is to get off your high horse and start engaging, sharing, commenting, discussing, liking and more.
Question: no mention of Google Authority here, so how much does this influence the new Panda update?
Pay attention to detail
The secondary message here was to focus on user experience within your blog. Apparently how the reader reacts to other stuff apart from the posts can have an affect on Panda. For example, I can think of instant recognition of the blog’s or post’s subject as soon as the reader arrives, the ease they have in being able to read and understand the post, whether it is easy to find links to other relevant posts within the blog, or use the navigation to browse other pages.
I also maintain a visitor, even if they’re not a reader, should have something to do on the blog to keep them there. Involvement results in staying power. Sharing and liking buttons, comment boxes and relevant internal links will help reduce bounce rates. Subscription facilities or incentivised sign ups to newsletters or other products will enable visitors to return another time. Gone are the days of just delivering great content and a pretty theme; interaction is key.
Obviously a well maintained blog bursting with great content that is readily available for existing and future readers will be a desirable place to index. Dark blogs cannot rely on their old material to help them out any more, especially as Panda now focuses on old content being updated and reissued.
This means if you want your blog to please the new Panda update, you need to get cracking. Guilty here as charged, as I don’t write enough for my own blog, due to a lot of guest blogging elsewhere. Consistency is better than flurries of activity followed by fallow spaces of nothing. Give the spiders something worthwhile to chew on, and you will be justifiably rewarded.
A blog shouldn’t only be a post listings site any more. Panda would like to see more static pages, in particular a well-written About page and some sort of contact method so visitors and readers can connect or ask questions. This additional great content is just good practice. If you want your blog or website to flourish, let alone your business or objectives, you need to provide more relevant, valuable and worthwhile pages to keep the punters happy.
Another way of maintaining your relationship with visitors and readers is to show where they can find you elsewhere. Any blogger worth his or her salt should have at least one account on a social media platform, and anyone who visits your blog, human or robot, should be given the opportunity to check this out. This should be packed full of great content as much as on your blog, being another source of great and relevant information about your chosen subject or niche.
The trustworthy bit comes from allowing the rest of your life to be explored. Your blog shouldn’t be your be-all-and-end-all. By being more transparent and open, you will enable your followers to like, know and trust you better, which can only be a good thing in the long run.
Keep up standards
Good writing, perfect spelling, appropriate grammar and suitable sentence syntax, which all contribute towards attention to detail, will obviously place your blog in a higher level. You don’t have to have studied your subject up to a PhD – in fact it is advisable that if you have, it is imperative not to deliver at a similar level, to avoid alienating your readership – but standards need to be maintained to safeguard respectability, reputation and credibility.
There’s nothing more distracting and annoying than reading a post that obviously hasn’t been edited properly (oops, I’d better play particular attention here), but it’s worth bearing in mind people have different styles and some may not have English as their first language. The answer is to pay attention, check your work thoroughly, wait a bit before publishing and get help if necessary from a proof-reader. It will pay dividends in the end.
This is a bit of a repeat of the user friendly experience I’ve mentioned above. Obviously if the blog is well designed, it will be much easier on the visitor’s eye, and may encourage them to stay, read and investigate further. Attractiveness is relevant, especially if it is in tune with the kind of reader you want to attract. A black background with fiery red imagery isn’t very amenable for the older woman reader, whereas pink and fluffy won’t impress a load of businessmen.
If you want to take this further, there are plenty of psychologists and designers out there to advise you as to what will encourage better retention of visitors and readers. But don’t forget the ultimate reason, great content. A blog is somewhere to read fabulous stuff that will help you, answer your questions, change your mindset, educate you in what you didn’t know, deliver a point of view, set a trend. A well-designed, clearly presented and easy-on-the-eye template will only assist towards better success.
This one is for multi-author blogs. It is difficult to maintain standards and ensure expertise, but with a good set of editorial guidelines, clear rules and adequate vetting, there is no reason why a blog with many writers cannot deliver a fantastic experience stuffed full of great content.
It is also a matter of consistency. Keep everything relevant, maintain standards, watch what is delivered, supervise content and safeguard against inappropriate behaviour, both from the authors and the readers, and Panda will be happy to index somewhere that regularly provides great content to the Blogosphere.
Let me know if Panda has affected you recently. Ideally if you were aware of the points set out above, and had done something about it, you needn’t worry too much. But as always, you can’t rest on your laurels. Remember great content writing is always imperative in blogging; you just have to get better at it!
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