On the 24th of Feb, 2011, Google rolled out an unprecedented update that changed content writing as we know it.
Hundreds of thousands of websites with mediocre article content were punished and pushed into a corner. There was panic amongst webmasters across online forums and the affected webmasters were seeking remedies in order to recover from the Panda penalty. Content networks that were thriving on low-cost and low-value content earlier saw their Google rankings plummet overnight. It took a while for the affected webmasters to come to terms with the damage. Many still tried to fix their content in a bid to recover from the Panda-monium. But it was too late.
Since that fateful day in the history of SEO, Google Panda has emerged as the nemesis of low quality content networks that aim at driving traffic to their websites and get rich quick.
But, frankly, unless you’re running a few websites with a short-sighted vision, deprioritizing your content generation can hit you hard with Google Panda updates every now and again.
For serious webmasters that look for long-term and sustainable success, I present the following tips for Panda-friendly content creation.
Plan Before You Write
The truth is awesome articles take a while to create and hence, quite a bit of planning. However, writing an awesome article is darn tough, and even tougher is to replicate such a success, unless you’re an established and popular author with a decent fan following. But, how do you know if an article is actually awesome? Google has laid down a set of guidelines for you to evaluate your own content quality.
Thankfully, those days are behind us when we had to actually read an article to figure out its quality. In this social media dominated age, it’s often easier to find if an article is useful, thanks to the social shares and interactions it generates. Therefore, if you’re looking at an article with little social traction, that article most likely doesn’t offer any unique value.
Planning is a necessary ingredient of valuable articles, and for that matter, any article written in a hurry is highly unlikely to produce any value for your audience i.e. the end users. The process of planning consists of many important decisions as to whether a specific author (including yourself) in the team is the best choice to cover a particular topic/subject matter. It may also include the decision to allocate specific time to writing the article and the research required on the subject. Rushing through the process will result in mediocrity. Therefore, take your time to plan an article writing process.
Research, Research, Research
The most useful (and also more popular) of the articles are often well-researched, and therefore, based on facts, quotes and accurate data. In fact, in some cases, the time spent on research turns out to be much higher than the time taken to write the article itself. But, if you come across an article like this, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you.
Low-quality articles are easy to spot not only with their low word-count, but also the way they are presented with no credible data. Whether you’re a new author or an established one, credibility of your info depends largely on the amount of research you’ve done. With no or little research, it can get really hard for you to add any meat to the post, especially when the post promises to break any existing myth in a certain industry or establish a set of best practices.
Conceptualization – Be Creative
Think of your audience – sometimes, presenting a long post with lots of data can overwhelm your readers and make the post lose its potential interest for the audience. To avoid this, you must conceptualize the post in order to generate interest among your audience from the word go. This calls for a blueprint of your post even before you start to elaborate on it. The longer the posts, the better it needs to be designed. The best practice is to include supporting images or infographics whenever necessary. Moreover, great posts have great sub-headings that are attractive and thought-provoking. Once you have a great blue-print of what the post will finally look like, you’re ready to write the post with a lot more conviction.
Carry the Proof of Your Claims
Simply announcing what you believe won’t cut ice with your readers, unless you’re quite well known in your industry. You have to support your claims with credible sources that lead you to believe in something. If you have done your research, you should fine ample sources to support your story. Citing a credible source makes it easy for you to drive home the message. Include a link wherever necessary or a screenshot to show that you’ve actually done all your ground work and know what you’re talking about.
Make It Exhaustive
Great posts have many takeaways and they benefit the readers in quite a few ways. Although it ‘s not imperative to make your post very long, but the readers will be with you until the end if each and every section of your post are well connected with each other and make a lot of sense to your readers. Some authors add a take-away message at the end of each of their section to show value for their readers immediately. There are no hard and fast rules as to what the ideal length of a post is, but if your post offers unique value, it should be exhaustive enough to appear authoritative.
So, those were my tips on making your content Panda-friendly. Hope you find this post useful enough to share or comment on. If you have thoughts on this, feel free to leave them on the comment box below.