If search engine traffic from Google matters to your business, then there is little chance that you haven’t heard of the recent Google Penguin update. What exactly is this?
Apparently, on April 24, 2012 Google activated new ranking algorithm changes to take care of websites and blogs that indulge in:
- Excessive link building with no regard for quality
- Deceptive doorway pages
- Lots of keyword stuffing
- Publishing lots of meaningless content just to get traffic from search engines
Which, basically, means all websites that don’t comply with Google’s SEO guidelines.
In terms of improving search quality, this is a good change. It is also good for businesses and entrepreneurs legitimately trying to get good rankings without the headache of competing with websites that try to game the system.
But, as happens with most “simple” changes like this, there has been some collateral damage. Although Google claims that the new update has affected just 3 percent of websites, there have been multiple declarations across the internet of it causing a bloodbath. People are even going to the extent of laying off their employees and considerably scaling down their businesses.
Are you one of those negatively affected by the Google Penguin update? If you are, you can salvage the situation by taking corrective measures. If you’re not, you should also take preventive measures so that you do not get caught in the fray the next time something like this happens.
How do you do this? With effective content writing, of course.
What is effective content writing, and how does it help?
Effective content writing provides the true value. It is not done simply to improve your search engine rankings. Although there is nothing wrong in trying to improve your rankings, the problem comes up when you write and publish content for that purpose alone.
The days of cheap and low-cost SEO articles are rapidly going away — thankfully. With its successive updates, Google is trying to push forward content that really deserves its place in the ranking index. In turn, this means pushing down content that doesn’t carry much value: Content that just rambles on will not be ranked well no matter how brilliantly it has been “optimized.”
So how do you create effective content that Google and other search engines love? Here are a few things you can keep in mind while creating content for your website or blog:
- Use your keywords only when needed: Keywords are great, but don’t over-use them because this will make your content reek of spam. For instance, if I needlessly go on repeating “great content writer” everywhere on my website, not only will I fail to rank well for the phrase, I might even get penalized and removed from the rankings altogether. Use keywords but only when there is a relevant context. Don’t worry too much about keyword-optimizing your copy – just focus on quality and value.
- Make your content social: Create your content in such a manner that it gains some popularity on social media and social networking websites. This way you don’t have to depend solely on Google for all your traffic. Create compelling and meaningful headlines. Provide content that is bang on target. Develop an original style and focus on quality rather than quantity.
- Create a resource that is highly useful: An ability to write and publish content is a great privilege. There is so much you can teach and communicate to your audience. Make use of it. Whether you share your own information, or gather it from the internet, make sure you create content that addresses topics your audience is interested in and will have a use for. This will naturally make it irresistible for search engines, bloggers, and social media users, alike.
- Create content for other websites and blogs: Prepare an editorial calendar for writing articles and guest blog posts that can be published on websites and blogs other than your own. This helps you gain new exposure and earn quality backlinks – just make sure you only offer your content to trusted and reputable content publishers.
- Create engaging content for online forums and blog comment sections: Online forums are still alive and kicking, and so are blog comment communities. Great interactions go on at these places. There is a misconception that you interact on online forums and blogs just to get backlinks, and when you don’t get those link benefits, there is no use leaving comments there. Yes, sometimes you get some link juice, but even if you don’t, the added exposure you get — and the potential for greater traffic — is well worth the effort.
- Regularly publish a newsletter: Newsletter publishing still rules the roost, as evidenced by the many quality email marketing newsletter publishing services that have been cropping up. It is the best way of keeping in touch with your readers and subscribers, and once you have built yourself a mailing list of a few thousand subscribers, you can instantly broadcast your ideas and offers to these people without having to rely upon search engine traffic.
- Maximize your conversion rate: Re-examine your content writing and see how well it is working to convert your website visitors into customers. A higher conversion rate can compensate for low traffic periods, so look for ways to measure, analyze, and improve your content wherever necessary to make sure that those who do find your site (through search or through other means) are getting what they want from the experience.
All the points mentioned above will not only help you improve your search engine rankings, they will also strengthen your overall online presence — both on your own blog or website and across the web. Content writing with integrity and purpose is the way to go after the arrival of Penguin.
Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.