SO WHAT’S THE COMPETITION LIKE IN THE BLOGGING WORLD?
Certainly, I’d love if more people read this blog—but, fortunately, being #1 is not why I write it—just as well considering the sheer scale of the competition.
I write it to communicate with readers, potential readers, friends, and such family as are speaking to me (we are a hot-headed lot) and because I have learned to really enjoy writing it. Also, I have a sneaky feeling it is improving my writing. If the writing advice, I include from time to time, helps up-and-coming writers, then better still.
The following extracts from a piece by Bill Faeth give the scale of the competition in the blogging world—and also give some insight into how Google assess content. Thereafter, you are on your own.
Every 24 hours, 2 million unique blog posts are published. In light of this statistic, the quest to claim the #1 spot on Google’s search results for key terms in your industry suddenly seems harder than ever, doesn’t it?
Google’s search algorithm uses myriad different factors, known as “signals,” to determine quality of content. The factors and their relative weights are all a closely-guarded secret, but you’ll be pleased to know that content creators aren’t completely left out in the cold. It’s critical to not just acknowledge Google’s quality guidelines, but to also make them an integral part of how you approach the production of web content.
It’s definitely in your brand’s best interest to avoid using deceptive principles just because they’re not illustrated on the list, and uphold “the spirit of the basic principles.” There’s no substitute for reading the guidelines, but the points consist primarily of the following:
- Create blog content, landing pages, and site pages for people, not search rankings.
- Don’t try to trick anyone, and don’t use any tactics you wouldn’t feel comfortable explaining to Cutts himself.
- Invest significant time and resources into differentiating within your niche, and providing value.
Google also contracts with third-party organizations to utilize human quality raters, who use a prescribed method to describe the quality of search results. This feedback doesn’t measure the quality of content or affect results, but instead is used to determine how accurately their algorithm is indexing results by quality.
Google has various categories into which content is separated, too, that help determine which articles pass the quality guidelines and which do not. Vital content is stuff that would come directly from a particular company’s site about their products or services. Useful content might answer questions the company website does not, provide reviews about the products or services, or perhaps suggestions for use. Relevantcontent might include an overview, expand on previous content, or perhaps answer less in-depth questions. Slightly Relevant would, as you may have guessed, provide information that only marginally relates to the topic at hand. Off-Topic, obviously, is content that has nothing to do with the search at all.
Following several leaks of the guidelines given to search raters, an annotated version of the document has been made public. While the 43-page document is pretty much the opposite of light reading, and there’s plenty of information that’s not particularly relevant to inbound marketers, there are some outstanding insights on the definition of spam that are well worth incorporating into your research.
Do Google’s quality guidelines contain all the knowledge you need to stay out of hot water, and create content people love? Probably not, but that’s okay. In fact, it's probably by design -- because the intent is clear: Google doesn’t hate content creators or SEO, they just probably won’t reward anyone who isn’t willing to put the legwork into building an authoritative website over time. There are no shortcuts.
Bill Faeth is Founder and CEO of Inbound Marketing Agents (IMA), a gold HubSpot partner in Nashville, TN. Check out IMA’s latest ebook,The Science of Enterprise Lead Generation.