Why we should Create High Quality Content?

Who decides what is quality content?

In a post panda World, low quality content no longer cuts the mustard. It’s the high quality stuff that Google now requires when deciding where to rank your website.

This refers to both the content on your web site and the content on the websites linking to you.

Quality web content can be defined along the following terms:

  • It attracts and persuades a person to link to it for no other reason than to cite the information.
  • It attracts and persuades a person to share it on social media for no other reason than to show the information to others.

It is the intent within these two statements that is fundamental.

It is human action or reaction that defines what is or isn’t quality. Action regardless of any other factor than the content itself.

This is what we would call social proof or more accurately human proof. By it’s very nature it cannot be manipulated in the same way a search engine algorithm can be.

To be able to accurately quantify web content, the content that must be the sole influencer.

The human signal remains pure and is the product of each individual who makes the decision to create each social signal they produce.

It can of course be mimicked by software designed to act like humans, although such software is unable to replicate the nuance and detail which human social signals produce. We see this in software designed to inflate social media accounts such as Twitter, Pinterest etc. Although they aid to give some signal, it is one of very low quality and easily identified.

The human social signal can also bought. In large offshore setups, low paid workers toil in Internet factories creating social signals to order for clients to gain advantage in search engine rankings. Similar offshore factories already exist to build links in forums, blog comments etc.

Thus, the human social signal is noisy and contaminated and if Google is not able to identify and isolate the manipulated social signal then Google’s search engine rankings can be manipulated regardless of the quality of the content.

We may be seeing evidence that Google has somehow factored in a way to quantify the veracity of the social signal. I only have anecdotal evidence and is an educated guess, but it is the only way to determine whether the social signal is worth listening to. And also Google does give us clues on the direction of how their search engine is going to work.

It has gone beyond Google simply listening to the social signal, all social signals must now be quantified if they are to be of any use and authorship is one way to do this. If Google knows who wrote the article and who is responding to the article it can in someway more accurately predict the quality of the social signal.

For example, if an SEO agency writes an article and someone else calls it “Awesome”, that is a signal. But if Google then works out that the person works for the SEO agency, or constantly calls the content which the SEO agency produces “Awesome”, then the signal needs to be quantified to be accurate.

I have noticed this behavior on Twitter and it feeds into my study of the tribal psychology that exists on Twitter and social media. A certain website will release an article, its immediate employees respond in an unnaturally hyped up fashion, the approbation cascades down to partner companies and individuals seeking attention and validation from association.

Sometimes the content is excellent, sometimes it is mediocre and yet the same applause emanates from the same individuals creating a never ending stream of hype. It is only when the content is viewed by dispassionate readers that we are able to assess its true quality and quantify it. Therefore if Google were to determine the quality of the content it would have to apply a filter to those who express relentless, sycophantic adoration.

If Google knows who is initiating the social signal it will be able to build an algorithm around the data it knows about the signal. If it knows the author and if they have given their data to the Google database voluntarily or not then the Company can perform a correct quantification of the social signal and even the link signal if it comes from a website or webpage soley in the control of the the author.

Therefore, we may be seeing a way that Google has accurately determined which is quality content and also which are quality links.

It may even determine that if the author is not in their database their signal cannot be correctly quantified and must be treated accordingly.

This may already be happening with the data Google has in its database from its G+ system. It may that this so called “social network” is not a social network at all, but more of a way for Google to acquire an accurate human social signal in relation to web content

In conclusion, it is essential that websites continue to produce high quality content, defined by the viewer who is independent of any benefits which may come to the website which hosts the content.

The content must be judged by the reaction of those outside of the tribe if it is to be regarded as high quality or not.

SEO Content Executive London

Take a job role and add the term “executive” to it and it adds more gravitas to the role.

Or does it?

What is an executive anyway? Probably something dreamed up by recruitment (executives ;)

“Grunt”, would probably be a more accurate term.

SEO Content Grunts wanted

Would that get a better class of application? I don’t know, but it would let people know that the company hiring is different and does not bullshit.

Content grunts are valued at Cornwallseo, they are the bods that make the machine move. Without them there are nothing. Our content grunts are well looked after. I’m getting the feeling that you lot who have executive after your name may feel a tad used and abused. I don’t know.

Do you think the term “executive” really changes anything?

Does the boss feed you free donuts daily?

When we hire for a post we treat it the same way as we would a bit of linkbait or infographic. We need to attract people who are highly creative and want to make a mark, and have a twinkle in their eye.

We are not hiring just yet, in Cornwall or London. But when we do we want to win “The Most Creative Job Advert” award at the next BAFTA’s.

If you are looking to work with one of the most Zarjaz and Froody outfits in online marketing, keep a look out on this blog, sign up to the email, RSS feed, Twitter feed etc.

More about this later.

Using Google+ to Aid Your SEO

Over the last few days Google have launched a potential game changer into the search world. ‘Search plus Your World’ has set up a firm foundation for Google to move into becoming a social search engine in an effort to make its search results more personalised and relevant to the individual user, allowing them to have more access to information and content from people they know or from within their own online sphere.

One of the main changes brought in through this update is the way that Google+ accounts, pages and information have become even more deeply intertwined with search results. Information shared on Google+ is becoming even more prominent in today’s SERP (Search Engine Results Page), out ranking rival social networks in search rankings and set to play a deeper role in personal searches. This is why any current SEO Training should include information about the way we currently use Google+ and guidelines about using it as a tool to help get your content, and message, across.

Circles

Keeping organised groups of experts, pages and enthusiasts of different subjects is a great way to filter and view new content and comments around one topic. Building your own directory of large circles not only opens up your network to a wider audience it also helps to build internal links.

When your content appears on other users’ streams it is indexed by the web crawlers and the more a piece of content is crawled the more importance search engines place upon it.

So the more people you share your content with the better chance you have of achieving a high search ranking, as well as improving your odds of receiving more shares, +1’s and comments.

Google + Circles

We have put together a few Google+ circles for you to add to your own profiles, so you can get a start on growing your network:

  • SEO: Here is a circle of SEO experts profiles and pages which will give you the latest and up-to-date information from the world of SEO
  • Social Media: A circle of the movers and shakers in Social Media
  • Project Management: Includes experienced project managers, project management methodologies and pages offering project management tips
  • Software Testing: Pages and profiles offering insight and tips on software testing
  • Photoshop: Adobe Photoshop enthusiasts and professionals who share their knowledge of how to best use the photo editing software.

Make sure you add more profiles and pages to these circles expand your reach.

Google+ Authorship

Authorship

Google have been including author information into their search results for a while now, displaying a thumbnail photo and link to the author’s Google+ account within search results. However, now they have made it easier for Google+ users to lay claim to their online content without having to link your content to your profile using HTML author tags.

By adding the sites you contribute content to in your profile’s ‘Contributor to’ box and by making sure your email address is added to the ‘Work’ box all on your profile, Google will include your image and G+ account details to its indexed links; as long as the original post includes your name and ideally your email address.

This is a great tool to allow you to stake claim to your work and direct readers to your own account, as well as being potentially a great way of cracking down on people copying your work rather than sharing it.

Take a look at Google’s content guidelines to find out more about including your author information in search results.

The Profile

Google+ Authorship

Your profile is your online you. Google+ has set itself apart from other social media sites such as Facebook by making public profile pages far more searchable to search engines by default, indexing information such as:

  • Your Biography
  • All text from any publicly shared posts
  • Anything you have +1’d, be it on Google+ or on an external site
  • All of your photos
  • Links to anyone who has added you in one of their own circles

A lot of information can be extracted from this, which is why you can use your profile as a tool to connect everything you have done online, making it searchable in personal searches and Search Plus Your World queries. Luckily, Google do make it easy for you to manage what information you do and don’t want shared and indexed, so spending that extra bit of time sorting out your privacy settings is a must.

Sharing

Sharing on G+

Due to its keyword rich and easily web bot readable set up, shared content on Google+ has a tendency to do very well in search results. While some say this is due to Google favouring its own products a lot of it is due to the way they optimise their pages, which include long and descriptive title tags which hold more valuable information for crawlers to use in order to accurately index the page.

Also, using your circles you can easily specify who you share your content with, so you can easily target your audience with relevant content they would be interested in. This will mark the post as “Limited” on your shared post, which when clicked will show who you have selected to be privy to the post. Combine this with tagging people using a “+” or “@” before typing their name to really give a sense of personalisation, thus highly increasing the odds of your content being viewed by the people you really want to see it.

We have recently published a post giving the low-down on ‘Search plus Your World’ and its potential threat to SEO and online marketing, so be sure to give it a read to find out more about how the new development could affect your SEO efforts.

From what we’ve seen personal search is here to stay, so the time is now to adopt techniques to get your content found or risk falling off of the search map forever.

Written for Cornwall SEO by Silicon Beach Training providers of SEO Training, PRINCE2 Training, Business, Management, Programming and Mobile Development Workshops.

 

Why Attract the Linkerati

If you want links, it is the Linkerati you need to get the attention of.

Who are the Linkerarti?

The Linkerati are those who link

They are distinctive from your customers or your clients or the other people you would like to impress, but do not have the power to link to you.

There are various tribes within the Linkerati, and these all respond to different stimuli.

Most are excited by information.

Not just any kind of information, but information that intersects their current thinking. Which raises other problems.

How do you find out which kind of information intersects the thinking of the Linkerati?

How do you get the linkerati to take notice of you information?

How do you create information which will juice up the linkerati enough for them to link to you.

You have to tap into the Lizard brain, or the Old brain. You need to get down to fundamentals.

People link, motivated by emotion. It’s why popular bloggers can produce mediocre content and get links. Emotion counts.

A lot of the linkerati get emotional about data, particularly when it’s represented in a graphical format. Hence the rise of infographics for seo. The brain can digest pictures or visualisations quicker than text and the linkerati love information that is steam pumped into the visual cortex.

Although linkbait is still effective, an infographic or visual based linkbait will generally get more links.

But, if you are not part of the linkerati it’s very tricky to get into the head of this tribe. You certainly have no chance if you are a suited marketing executive, you must dip into the tribe and employ a translator, negotiator, emissary.

The best advice I can give is become like them. Even if you are one of the Marketing Executives, come over to the side. Other than that, you are going to have to talk to one of us who can communicate with both sides.

Would you buy a link for the Price of a Mars Bar?

Can a link, retailing at 55p be both profitable for the link builder and effective for the linked to?

A while back I came across a link building scheme that was effectively selling links for 90c, or about 55p. Which is the price of a Mars bar.

As I offer a link building service I was left scratching my head over how they did it whilst keep it effective and making a profit.

Consider one link being built every ten minutes

(they stated all this on the site)
By hand
Do follow
Indexed
Correct anchor text

6 links per hour
30 links per 5 hours = one day
600 links built over 20 days = one month

Retailing at 90c per link
= $540
Costs = $320
Profit = $180

Worker gets $360

This does not take in to account links which are rejected.

To hire a full time worker you would have to outsource to a country where $360 a month is a decent wage. They do exist, but running a team offshore raises other issues.

The only place which fits the criteria are forum links, not the signature links, but within a snippet of text. Could this be performed within the 10 minutes? Probably could be, but you would have to have a team process where each member concentrates on a specific task.

Tasks would be:

  • Researching forums
  • Opening accounts
  • Opening email accounts
  • Seeding the account
  • Writing link text and posting link
  • Entry into spreadsheet and saved in Dropbox
  • Indexing of links
  • Report to client

It could be done, whether or not a link from a forum is worth the effort is worth it is another thing. And you would only know this if you tested it. And if this did work you would hardly blog or comment about it.

My thinking is that it is cost effective, rather a binary yes/no work/not work.

The problem is the effort involved in setting up this kind of thing is not worth it if you only have one site. It really only works if someone else sets up the service for others to buy and then creates efficiencies of scale which make it worthwhile, and would probably need quite a few clients.

It’s interesting though isn’t it?

Content Marketing Training and a dog called Fenton

One of the biggest problems I come across in helping people build links to their websites is how to build magnetic content which attracts links. It seems that selling plumbers supplies online does not naturally lead to expertise on online publishing.

Who would have thought?

The reality is, creating effective web content is a highly specialised skill and in some ways is counter intuitive to running a business online. So, someone who may be expert in sourcing plumbing supplies and negotiating favourable terms may not be able to produce digital information which excites the cockles of the linkerati.

Website marketing is a nuclear arms race. If one website in the niche gets a 30 megaton bomb, then everyone has to, just to keep up. If someone goes out and gets a 35 megaton bomb everyone again has to run out and get the latest nuke. And thus it is with getting websites to rank.

Your plumbing supplies website can compete in the rankings without having over 300 back links, just as long as no one else does. Once you get your links from the usual places, the industry body, local chamber of commerce and a link from your web designers (web designers have a cheeky habit of sneaking in an advertising link on the website you just paid for) etc. it becomes a bit more of an effort to go and get the links.

And so a natural backlink ceiling is imposed on your niche. But along comes Frank the plumber and he uploads a picture of a dead squirrel that he pulled out of the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher. The picture goes viral, his local plumbing supplies website starts to rise in the search engine results page and the cash starts flowing in.

Frank the plumber has not offered cheaper prices, or become a better plumber, arrives at his jobs in a quicker fashion or has improved his business in any way. Except, his revenues have increased because a dead squirrel has caused his website to collect more links, thus rising in the rankings and becoming more visible in the search engines.

Frank starts thinking. If the linkerati like pictures of dead squirrels found in the waste pipe of a Bosch Dishwasher, I wonder if they will like a picture of a dead mouse stuck in a hose retaining ring? Frank goes on to find that people online find pleasure in emailing pictures of dead animals found in plumbing, thus creating an online gallery of user generated content and also creating a community of rabid fans who can be nudged to do things with help the marketing of the website.

Now, I’ve outlined a scenario which has happened many, many times. People fall into becoming skilled at using content to market their websites. These people have no obvious training in online publishing or any kind of publishing and yet they just seem to get it, whilst others find coming up with ideas for effective content incredibly hard.

My theory as to why this is so hard for the average business person to grasp is that they simply don’t have the time to understand the basic concepts of what works and why it works. It’s important to know why a piece of content works.

You laugh and share Fenton, but do you know why?

Content like this is sometimes called Linkbait, which is misleading, but that’s for another blog post. This skill of creating magnetic web content and using it to juice up the linkerati can be taught and is something I am going to be teaching with the launch of Linkbait Coaching 3.0. Which takes a focussed look at analysing what works, why and how to replicate it. It’s not ready for launch yet, but soon.

You could of course hire someone specifically for this task, or you could train someone in-house. Training in the art of content marketing will pay you back in sack fulls over time. Investing in creating better content is something that can be used over a variety of mediums and is not just for improving your Google rank.

Should going Whitehat be an ethical decision or a Business decision

To Go White Hat or Black Hat SEO is not an ethical decision it’s a business decision

The aim of the white hat seo is to unnaturally manipulate the Google results page in their favour. The aim of the black hat seo is exactly the same.

Where it differs is the white hat keeps within the Google guidelines and the black hat does not.

Therefore it is inaccurate to call the black hat unethical as it is absurd to allow an American Corporation whose legal obligation is to its share holders to define what is ethical and what is not ethical behaviour.

It is not an ethical decision to employ black hat techniques, or white hat. It is a business decision.

Sometimes I use what is erroneously called black hat techniques, sometimes I use white hat. I use what works.

What works is defined by how Google works.

I would have no problem being 100% whitehat if blackhat made little business sense.

When I realised that many seo agencies who publicly said they were whitehat but were ranking by employing blackhat techniques I realised it wasn’t about slavishly following what Matt Cutts told us to do, in fact in some niches if you follow the Google guidelines you will lose.

When well known newspapers sell links for thousands of pounds with impunity you have to ask, what exactly is going on here?

I don’t do paid links as I have other skills which I can use. But I have to compete against sites which do buy links. I have no problem with that per se, but why doesn’t Google level the playing field.

Unload the dice and make the buying of links in line with the Terms of Service. Because right now it’s the big boys which can get away with buying links whilst the small guy is terrified of getting caught.

Now that is what I call unethical.

AT&T get not talked about in Huffington Post blog that zzzzzzzzz

I used to like the Huffington Post a lot, run by…. you know the story. Look, I even gave Arianna – or is it AOL – a link. But come on on guys, simple pumping out the Reuters news feed is a bif naff.

Here is the headline.

AT&T Sues Users Who Want To Block T-Mobile Buy

Hypnotists are thinking of using the headline to put users into a deeper trance, it made me take a one way trip to snoozeville.

And here is the story.

AT&T Inc is turning to the federal courts to thwart an effort led by law firm Bursor & Fisher to derail AT&T’s $39 billion takeover bid for Deutsche Telekom AG’s T-Mobile.

Real page turner right. But come on, any good SEO worth his weight in PR knows what’s going on here. Get a blog Google loves and then start pumping out the soporific dross which will cause a mind numbing freeze to take place. Only released by repeated visits to the Onion.

From a business POV it makes sense, because this is how Google does the Internet. Should you do it, of course, it’s a proven model. Should I do it, I think I may have to if I want that Aston Martin.

SEO Linkbuilding Video of the Day

Very interesting debate with Wil Reynolds and Brett Snyder from Seer Interactive, an (if you want the points you have to give the right anchor text as well as the link ;)

I have this conversation with clients all the time. Both sides have merits and I think it comes down to the business model of the client and the amount of knowledge they have. The best client will just give you the cash and say, “you do that voodoo that you do so well,” but very few actually say and even less sing it in key.

There is something I call, Positive Domain Name Context. If you have a blog and call it Death Star Pizza and stick a blog post about space ships, it makes it more likely that you will get links. You tap into a niche where you clients and the clients competitors will not normally be able to get links. The site then only links to the sites the client wants to link to.

Also, there are a few other things that you can do with a Microsite like this which gets good quality links. But, I’m going to leave that for another time.

Linkbait has definitely evolved and there are quite a few creative ways we can use content that gets links. A client I was chatting too last week was amazed how his site for Ironing Board covers jumped in the SERPS from a link from a an authority site on cat snacks. (Niches have been changed to protect the innocent) You hear a lot about you gotta get links from sites from in your niche to rank for your keyword. No you don’t.

Time and time again I see sites ranked with links from all sorts of niches, as long as those sites are linked to and are seasoned over time it doesn’t matter.

Now, back to creating content about space ships.