Google's SEO Advice For Your Website: Content

Written by Joel Walsh

The web pages actually atrepparttar top of Google have only one thing clearly in common: good writing. Don't get so caught up inrepparttar 149901 usual SEO sacred cows and bugbears, such as PageRank, frames, and JavaScript, that you forget your site's content.

I was recently struck byrepparttar 149902 fact thatrepparttar 149903 top-ranking web pages on Google are consistently much better written thanrepparttar 149904 vast majority of what one reads onrepparttar 149905 web.

Of course, that shouldn't be a surprise, considering how often officials at Google proclaimrepparttar 149906 importance of good content. Yet traditional SEO wisdom has little to say about good writing.

Does Google,repparttar 149907 world's wealthiest media company, really ignore traditional standards of quality inrepparttar 149908 publishing world? Does Google, like so many website owners, really get so caught up inrepparttar 149909 process ofrepparttar 149910 algorithm that it missesrepparttar 149911 whole point?

Apparently not.

Most Common On-the-Page Website Content Success Features

Whateverrepparttar 149912 technical mechanism, Google is doing a pretty good job of identifying websites with good content and rewarding them with high rankings.

I looked at Google's top five pages forrepparttar 149913 five most searched-on keywords, as identified by WordTracker on June 27, 2005. Typically,repparttar 149914 top five pages receive an overwhelming majority ofrepparttar 149915 traffic delivered by Google.

The web pages that contained written content (a small but significant portion were image galleries) all sharedrepparttar 149916 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 149917 dictionary. Does Google use SpellCheck? I can already hearrepparttar 149918 scoffing onrepparttar 149919 other side of this computer screen. Before you dismissrepparttar 149920 idea completely, keep in mind that no one really does know whatrepparttar 149921 100 factors in Google's algorithm are. But whetherrepparttar 149922 mechanism is SpellCheck or a better shot at link popularity thanks to great credibility, or something else entirely,repparttar 149923 results remainrepparttar 149924 same.

* Paragraphs: primarily brief (1-4 sentences). Few or no long blocks of text.

* Lists: both bulleted and numbered, form a large part ofrepparttar 149925 text.

* Sentence length: mostly brief (10 words or fewer). Medium-length and long sentences are sprinkled throughoutrepparttar 149926 text rather than clumped together.

* Contextual relevance: text contains numerous terms related torepparttar 149927 keyword, as well as stem variations ofrepparttar 149928 keyword.

SEO Bugbears and Sacred Cows

A hard look atrepparttar 149929 results shows that, practically speaking, a number of SEO bugbears and sacred cows may matter less to ranking than good content.

* PageRank. The median PageRank was 4. One page had a PageRank of 0. Of course, this might simply be yet another demonstration thatrepparttar 149930 little PageRank number you get in your browser window is not what Google's algo is using. But if you're one of those people who attaches an overriding value to that little number, this is food for thought.

Big Business Web Design Disasters

Written by Joel Walsh

When you think ofrepparttar world's most successful businesses, what names come to mind? Most likely, consumer-oriented giants such as Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Sheraton, Disney, IBM, and General Electric. Not only have they spent billions on advertising to buy their way into your head. They offer convenient products and services that have made them a part of your life.

But when you think ofrepparttar 149900 most successful web sites, what names come to mind? Names like Google, Yahoo! Amazon, AOL, Kazaa (for better or worse), and Hotmail.

The late-1990s mantra aboutrepparttar 149901 web being a disruptive technology that would destroy traditional companies may have been overstated. But a decade and a half intorepparttar 149902 web's existence, it is clear thatrepparttar 149903 world's leading corporations have been sidelined onrepparttar 149904 web.

The biggest shopping site is not but The biggest map site is not but

Established companies have usually only been able to buy their way into this market through acquisitions (as with Microsoft's purchase of Hotmail, which it used as a base for creating MSN).

Why, with few exceptions, wererepparttar 149905 world's most successful web sites not launched byrepparttar 149906 world's most successful corporations?

Many Big Name Companies' Web Sites a Vast Waste of Time for Visitors

The McDonald's web site talks about food, but has no real menu. The Coca-Cola USA web site has no clear ingredients list or nutritional information, no recipes for floats or mixed drinks, no company history, and nothing else useful to people who like Coke. All that information has been inexplicably located onrepparttar 149907 "company" page, which on every other web site is used for investor relations. The Johnson and Johnson web site has useful information if you can access it—whenrepparttar 149908 author attempted to open it, it crashed two different web browsers (Internet Explorer and Mozilla) before finally yielding (torepparttar 149909 Opera browser).

Many big-name companies' web sites offer lessons in what not to do in web design. The biggest lesson by far is not to sacrifice usability in an attempt to look cool, and never forget why your users came to your site inrepparttar 149910 first place. McDonald's may berepparttar 149911 world's largest restaurant chain, but it didn't get that way because of its web site.

Why Big-Budget Websites Are More Often Bombs than Blockbusters

The web sites of many successful corporations (both B2C and B2B) are like big-budget Hollywood movies that spend millions on stars and special effects, and a quarter of a percent ofrepparttar 149912 budget onrepparttar 149913 script. Worse,repparttar 149914 special effects of blockbuster web sites are far more annoying than impressive.

Special Effect that Bombs Number 1: Flash!

When web sites don't offer any content—any useful information to read—what do they put up there instead? Spinning Coke bottles. Chicken McNuggets and French fries that zoom out toward you when you position your cursor over them. Changing pictures of generic-looking office buildings and men in suits (onrepparttar 149915 web site of real estate giant CB Richard Ellis—but that essentially describesrepparttar 149916 generic look of many corporate web sites).

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