Google's "Good Writing" Content Filter

Written by Joel Walsh

Summary: The web pages actually atrepparttar top of Google have only one thing clearly in common: good writing. The usual SEO sacred cows and bugbears, such as PageRank, frames, and JavaScript, are less important, if they even matter at all.

I was recently struck byrepparttar 146254 fact thatrepparttar 146255 top-ranking web pages on Google are consistently much better written thanrepparttar 146256 vast majority of what one reads onrepparttar 146257 web. Yet traditional SEO wisdom has little to say about good writing. Does Google,repparttar 146258 world's wealthiest media company, really rank web pages based primarily on arcane technical criteria such as keyword density, link text, or even PageRank?

Apparently not.

Most Common Website Content Success Factors

I took a close look at Google's top five pages forrepparttar 146259 five most searched-on keywords, as identified by WordTracker on June 27, 2005. Here's what I found.

The web pages that contained written content (a small but significant portion were image galleries) all sharedrepparttar 146260 following features:

* Updating: frequent updating of content, at least once every few weeks, and more often, once a week or more. * Spelling and grammar: few or no errors. No page had more than three misspelled words or four grammatical errors. Note: spelling and grammar errors were identified by using Microsoft Word's check feature, and then ruling out words marked as misspellings that are either proper names or new words that are simply not inrepparttar 146261 dictionary. Google almost certainly has better access to new words thanrepparttar 146262 dictionary, with its database of billions of web pages. Supposed grammatical errors that did not in fact violate style rules were also ignored. Google would certainly be less conservative than a grammar checker in evaluating popular stylistic devices such as sentence fragments. * Paragraphs: primarily brief (1-4 sentences). Few or no long blocks of text. * Lists: both bulleted and numbered, form a large part ofrepparttar 146263 text. * Sentence length: mostly brief (10 words or fewer). Medium-length and long sentences are sprinkled throughoutrepparttar 146264 text rather than clumped together. * Contextual relevance: text contains numerous terms related torepparttar 146265 keyword, as well as stem variations ofrepparttar 146266 keyword. The page may containrepparttar 146267 keyword itself few times or not at all.

SEO "Do's" and "Don'ts" that Don't Really Matter

A hard look atrepparttar 146268 results slaughters a number of SEO bugbears and sacred cows.

* PageRank. The median PageRank was 4. One page had a PageRank of 0. (Note thatrepparttar 146269 low PageRank would seem to discountrepparttar 146270 idea that these pages owe their ranking completely to numerous incoming links.) * Frames. The top two web pages listed forrepparttar 146271 most searched-on keyword employ frames. * JavaScript-formatted internal links. Most ofrepparttar 146272 websites use JavaScript for their internal page links. * Keyword optimization. Except for two pages, keyword optimization was conspicuous by its absence. In more than halfrepparttar 146273 web pages,repparttar 146274 keyword did not appear more than three times, meaning a very low density. Many ofrepparttar 146275 pages did not containrepparttar 146276 keyword at all. * Sub-headings. On most pages, sub-headings were either absent or inrepparttar 146277 form of images rather than text. * Links: Most ofrepparttar 146278 web pages contained ten or more links; many contain over 30, in defiance ofrepparttar 146279 SEO bugbears about "link popularity bleeding." Moreover, nearly allrepparttar 146280 pages contained a significant number of non-relevant links. On many pages, non-relevant links outnumbered relevant ones. * Text content: a significant number of pages contained little or no text. These pages were almost all image galleries (there was one Flash movie), withrepparttar 146281 images being photographs ofrepparttar 146282 subject covered byrepparttar 146283 keyword. Originality: a significant number of pages contained content copied from other websites. In all cases,repparttar 146284 content was professionally written content apparently distributed on a free-reprint basis. Note:repparttar 146285 reprint content did not consist of content feeds. However, no website consisted solely of free- reprint content. There was always at least a significant portion of original content, usuallyrepparttar 146286 majority ofrepparttar 146287 page.

Forget SEO – It’s All About Conversion!

Written by Stephen Munday

Which SEO hat do you wear? Is it white or black? Or perhaps it’s a subtle shade of gray. Well, wherever you are on this spectrum, if you are like 99% ofrepparttar SEO-fixated webmasters out there, you are doing all you can to get visitors to your site. Where you used to optimize your keywords meta tags, you now worry about anchor text and XML site maps.

So, you finesse your site, schmoozerepparttar 146177 algorithm du jour and begin to climbrepparttar 146178 slippery search engine rankings pole. But this is where you have to leave your SEO tricks behind and start thinking conversion.

Whoa there! Conversion? That’s all about making sales on shopping sites. My site’s a forum! I don’t sell anything. What has conversion got to do with me?

Everything, my friend. Everything….

SERP Conversion

You want visitors to come your site, right? That’s why you climb greasy SERP pole, after all. (And why you lay awake at night wondering whenrepparttar 146179 next Florida, Hilltop or Bourbon algorithm earthquake is going to hit.) But what does it matter if you reachrepparttar 146180 peak, but no one clicks through to your site anyway?

The fact is that you have to convert prospective visitors even before they arrive. You have to pique their interest, tweak their curiosity and make sure they click your link and notrepparttar 146181 other guy’s. And all you have to use are words. No technical tricks will help you now – your only tools are plain ol’ words.

The SERPs will show words from two of three places. Two of these you can control and one you can’t:

1.Your title tag.

2.Your meta description tag.

3.A directory description.

(For example, Google is known to use DMOZ descriptions in their SERPs, and Yahoo uses their directory descriptions in theirs.)

Now, there’s not much you can do about how Yahoo or DMOZ editors describe your site, so don’t worry about number 3. But do what you can do: Place your value propositions clearly in 1 and 2, and use them to lure searchers into your website.

So you have to convert people before they even get to your site. But that’s not all…. You want them to stay, right?

Flash Conversion

No, this has nothing to do with being blinded by bright lights onrepparttar 146182 road to Damascus. Nor am I telling you to go and make a 100% animated website.

This “flash” is that split second, that tiny window of opportunity that opens up when a searcher arrives at your site and decides whether they have actually found what they are looking for… or not.

Typically, you’ll have a couple of seconds to persuaderepparttar 146183 new visitor to stay and hang out. That’s all you get. It’srepparttar 146184 ultimate in speed-dating. So, how do you wow your “date”? Do you show him a page of scraped “content” interspersed with Adsense ads? Not if you want this to be a lasting relationship.

Follow these tips and be sure to impress your “date”:

1. Have a clear theme

Ranking high for “blue widgets”? Then be sure your visible title, copy and images are clearly focused on them.

2. Have a clean design

Imagine you are taking a first date to a movie. Do you pick her up wearing your pajamas in a dirty, trash-filled car? Or do you cleanrepparttar 146185 car, wash your face and dress to impress? Of course you want to impress her, so you make sure you look (and smell) good.

It’srepparttar 146186 same with your site: Clean design, a nice text size and pages that don’t scroll from here to eternity are going to float your first-time visitor-date’s boat.

3. Write clearly and focus on your “date”

Waffle on about yourself and your date will get bored. She wants you to be interested in her. And in terms of your site, that means giving her what she wants to know as quickly and succinctly as possible. This comes down to your ability to write and communicate. So, if you are like Steve Martin in “Roxanne”, make sure you get a someone else (a copywriter) to composerepparttar 146187 lines to wow your “date” for you.

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