Google’s Panda algorithm update has shaken up the web quite significantly. One of its biggest aims has been to correct a previous change which saw quantity presiding over quality in terms of web content. Low-quality content farms and sites with poorly constructed content have suffered most this time around. And with some of your favorite article marketing sites having to mend their ways to get back into favor with Google, it’s also time to take a long hard look at your own content creation methods.
It is no longer good enough to churn out a few articles each week, particularly when they are little more than thinly veiled sales pitches. Short articles, pieces written primarily for SEO, and content that simply fails to serve a purpose are all on the out. Instead, we’re seeing a new era of content for a specific purpose being ushered in.
With these changing demands, how does your content creation process fare? Make sure you stay on the right side of the algorithm change by following these steps to creating more useful, lengthier, more factual and more interesting articles…
Getting Ready To Write
The moments before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard are actually when the success or failure of your article in SEO terms is determined.
1. Identify your reason for writing — Each article must have a purpose (and not one that relates to SEO improvements). What inspired you to want to pen the piece? What opinion, fact or thoughts do you want to convey? If you don’t have a tangible objective then the article shouldn’t be written, as it is simply a vehicle for keyword placement and in the long run, that can do more harm than good to your SEO.
Trying to write an article that doesn’t have a clear objective would be like a newspaper columnist writing a front page story without having an actual event to base it on. Or a novelist writing a book without any semblance of a plot line to sustain it. Think about what you want to convey and why.
2. Gather your data — If your article is going to be truly useful, in-depth and informative, you’ll probably need to do a little background reading before you start. Even if you’re very knowledgeable about the topic at hand, there’s always room for new data from recently completed studies or quotes from those with an alternate point of view. Very few industries stay still and being on top of the latest developments will add additional interest to your article.
Starting To Write
Having identified why you’re writing the article you’re writing and having done some preliminary research, you may already have a rough outline of your article in mind so it’s time to get down to business.
1. Titles — You can come up with a title first or you can leave it to last. Regardless of your personal preference, it needs to be attention-grabbing without being too clever. Plays on words and puns are fine, but as this is an article to help with search engine visibility, keywords do need to be included. Don’t try to be too clever with your title as some of the snappiness is often lost online. Likewise, don’t play it too safe and come up with a headline that borders on dull and puts readers off before they even click through.
2. Semantics — The text of your article should never register a word count lower than 250 words. The longer the article, the better quality it is likely to be – more words equal more space for discussion and detail. That does not mean though that sentences should be long – short and simple work best on a computer screen. Shorter sentences and paragraphs are easier to scroll through and read online, so your viewers can find what they are looking for quickly and easily if they can’t commit to reading the entire text.
3. Keyword use and placement — You need to use keywords in your article; otherwise, there is no point in writing it for your website in the first place. However, there’s also a tricky balance to find between using keywords in prominent positions and at an effective frequency and pushing as many possible in to the text. Try not to focus on keywords while writing and see if they fall into place naturally. If not, consider the fashion accessories rule – take off the last thing you put on. So revise your article at the end and take out a few of the keywords you just inserted.
Tying Up Loose Ends
Put the article away after writing it and leave it for at least half an hour – more if time permits. Then, when you’ve had a break from it, go back and proof read it. Any mistakes that you read over should now be apparent and you’ll have a fresh perspective on the text. Look out for spelling and grammar mistakes in particular. If you didn’t write a title at the start, you can add your headline now and then either upload to your website or distribute to appropriate recipients.