The world of search engine optimization (SEO) can seem like a mystery to some people. Whilst there are many guidelines out there that can teach you the basics of SEO, a balance will always need to be struck between writing engaging and authoritative content and following the rules of SEO in order to ensure that your texts are optimized for search engines. With the release of Google Panda last year, the lines between once holy SEO ground rules such as keyword density against the need to create high-quality, fluid text have become blurred. However, being aware of the biggest pitfalls of SEO with regards to web writing remains absolutely vital for your writing career.
The codeword “Panda” was used to describe the wide-ranging update that Google rolled out across its entire search engine last February. Panda concentrated itself on delivering the best search results possible to web users and Google took great care to actively demote those websites from search results that featured poor-quality or duplicated content. Since Panda, Google has emphasized the aspects of quality, authoritativeness, user intention and freshness in its search results and thus the effect on web writing was clear; texts created for web pages would need to move away from traditional, quick and unoriginal copy.
The effect of Panda:
Websites that relied on freelance writers to create a large array of texts that lacked in originality and creativity were the big losers of the Google Panda update. Ecommerce websites in particular were hard hit by Panda because they would typically consist of hundreds of nearly identical product pages that differed minimally from each other in terms of content. These sites saw their keyword rankings drop dramatically and this should be a lesson to all web writers out there that the old tactic of creating quick and simple text that simply met the basic requirements of a keyword density check would do nothing to rankings.
The solution for your web writing:
To ensure that your web writing passes the Google Panda test there are a number of SEO writing factors that you have to abide to;
. Web user intention: The first rule of writing in a post-Panda world is to create texts online that would fit what the user had in mind when they searched for a particular keyword and landed on your particular webpage. Your text should aim to either answer the questions that the visitor may have, or should otherwise provide relevant, unique and helpful information to the reader that they would not find on other websites.
. Freshness: Whilst Google trusts content found on websites that have existed for years instead of days, this does not mean that your website should feature the same written texts that it featured three years ago. The Panda update now focuses on finding fresh content for the web user as it knows that the user is more likely to be interested in up-to-date information and news about a topic. Thus, keep your web writings topical and be sure to create content on a regular basis. For a blog a new and original article once or twice a week is ideal.
. Length: The length of the text on a webpage is a dead giveaway that your content is written for search engines and not for actual people. Writing at least 600 words in your texts will ensure that your web pages are not flagged up as spammy content by the Google search bots.
. Authority: The “authoritativeness” of a text may seem a little vague to judge at first; however Google judges the quality and authority of a web text on the number of links that are created to it – or more broadly the level of web user interaction with that text. If your goal is to rank with blog articles, then in order to increase the likelihood that people will link to your writings, you have to put a level of dedication and research into your texts. Bring something new to the scene and try to make your article original. If, over time, people are impressed by your writings and frequently interact with your content or create backlinks to your website, then Google will recognize this and consider your writings to have a certain level of quality and authoritativeness about them and will increase their ranking positions in search results.
For us web writers, Google Panda only increased the importance of bringing some originality, freshness and individuality to our writings. The large majority of web writers should have no problem bringing these aspects of writing to the forefront of their work, as these are the main reasons that we entered the industry in the first place!