Writing copy can be hard, especially when the rules seem to change like the wind. And in 2018, we’re going to have to make a few more adjustments.
Content quality has been closely monitored by Google since it launched the Panda algorithm in 2011, but this year it will be more important than ever. With Panda now being part of Google’s core algorithm, there will be a greater emphasis on creating unique, user-first content that entices the reader.
Here’s how you can do just that.
Rein in the keywords
We’ve been using keywords to connect with different audiences for years. The concept is simple: if you integrate words which your audience are likely to search for into your copy, there’s a higher chance they will find you.
Although keywords are an effective way of directing traffic to your site, too many of them can quickly make your prose pretty clunky. If this is the case, it’s unlikely that readers will stick around for long – and you can be sure that Panda will be keeping track of bounce rates.
The fix? Fewer keywords. Although keywords are still an integral part of optimisation, we need to think more carefully about how they impact the reader. Keyword stuffing, obscure synonyms and stock phrases are an almost guaranteed put-off, and could be doing more harm than good.
We already know that Panda looks to demote any duplicate content, largely because a) there’s a good chance it’s been read before, and b) it’s an indicator of low quality. This has always been the case. However, this year, if you’re bringing something interesting and, more importantly, new to the table – you will be rewarded.
In this sense, it seems that Google wants us to start treating readers less like traffic, and more like people. Specifically, people who have visited your site with a view to getting something out of it. If your content isn’t giving them that something, then Google will rank a site that is.
Furthermore, if content quality comes at the expense of content frequency, then so be it. Creating content that is truly unique in today’s digital landscape can be extremely difficult, so take your time.
Always keep your audience in mind
If this is the one point that you take away then that’s great, because what’s been expressed elsewhere in the article is implied by it.
In 2018, Google want to put the user first, so if you think your audience wants it, you can be secure in the knowledge that Google want it too.
The audience you have in mind for your content should guide everything you do, from the topics you select right down to the wording of particular phrases. You might think such small decisions couldn’t influence things like conversion rates and rankings, but they can.
So, in summary: cut down on keywords, use them in a way that keeps reader frustration to a minimum, spend less time writing, and more time thinking about ways to create unique content; and always put the reader first. Don’t forget to sweat the small stuff too. If you do all of these things, you’re well on your way to creating high quality content this year.