… well, the proof is in the Panda...
Pudding Creative could most definitely be accused of repetition when it comes to the words “we have a publishing background, don’t you know?” But we hold a high regard for the old disciplines of print publishing where one mistake could have a detrimental effect on a very large, not to mention expensive, print-run.
There was a time when every page of a magazine was first sent to bromide proof, then produced as 4-colour film and only printed to page once the colour cromalin proof had been fully approved. But then just 3 letters – PDF – replaced this long-winded process. And now, time has moved on so much that the “mag” has been largely replaced by 1 sole letter – “e”.
Of course, the concept of magazines and publications of all types has further progressed with the evolution of the Internet and, most notably, the blog. The blog, which was crowned as a noun in its own right in 1999, provided individuals with a voice. The writer no longer needed to await invitation from the supreme Editor. By 2004 the “blog” was even being used on a worldwide scale by businesses and politicians. And, of course, it was not overlooked that this rather convenient new tool was also helping companies to make their way up the search engine listings.
There are many different options for the business or the individual to use when publishing their updates. Forbes has created a list of their top 11 with Wordpress being number one www.forbes.com
As you will guess, with so many formats, there is obviously a lot of demand. And rapidly the power of the blog rolled into overall website content with more and more website templates being made available for minimal cost to the users. But whereas all traditional print publishing was proofed, proofed and then… well, proofed a little more, there is little to zero proofing involved in what is published within the World Wide Web.
Well, until now…
It seems that Google (the undisputed force of law and online order) has had enough of their cyberspace being littered with substandard content. And so they have introduced “Google Panda”. googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/
Google Panda is a new algorithm that has been designed by the rather clever ‘bots to help people find more high quality sites when searching the web. And one of the first points that they like to make is that it is the client who is the reader, not the search engine.
As Rand Fishkin, CEO of SEOmoz and Will Critchlow, founder of Distilled, discuss in their “Whiteboard Friday”, these new Panda algorithms are based on real human responses to website content.
“…people don't think this is high enough quality. This isn't going to get past the Panda filter. You're in jeopardy", says Rand.
They continue by explaining that the oh-so clever Google can actually evaluate a website content in terms of reliability, trust and authority. And so, perhaps, the days of churnalism are over.
Term coined by author Nick Davies to describe poor practices of modern day journalists who "churn" or recycle news stories off the wire or Internet without appropriate critical investigation.
But that begs the question, what is good website content?
SEO mastermind Paul Lopez of Solar Internet and owner of celebritiesinmarbella.com says that it comes down to just 2 basic rules…
“Rule 1 for good website copy is to write good quality content without thinking keywords or search engines. Research your subject and write as if it were a normal article. You don't want to bombard your visitors with keywords and the chances are that if you are trying to write for the search engines it will be bad quality and not a good user experience. Rule 2 is never just copy content. There are a few reasons for this but the main point is that the search engines don't like duplicate content and the latest panda update is very much focused on quality content. If you want to figure in the search engines then write your own copy. Show the search engines, and your visitors that YOU are the authority on your subject.”
Lisa Richards, Editor of www.resource-magazine.com also agrees that “content farming” is detrimental to the standards of the World Wide Web. This focus on producing words that satisfy the algorithms set by search engines (rather than the subject matter itself) often produces confusing articles with little factual relevance. She notes, “the appeal of high visitor numbers is proving more alluring than high quality. I’ve seen journalists and PRs garnering editorial support from bloggers by rewarding responses or offering freebies rather than actually looking to the quality of their own work”.
|Content Farming can be a thankless task|
Of course, the actual words contained within a website are only part of the battle when considering an “authentic” website. Rand reminds us that appearance is equally important.
“A lot of this comes down to design, and authority is really branding familiarity. Have I heard of this site? Does it seem legitimate? So I might get to a great blog like StuntDouble.com, and I might think to myself, I'm not very familiar with the world of web marketing. I haven't heard of StuntDouble, so I don't recognize him as an authority, but yeah, I would probably trust SEO information from this site. It looks good, seems authentic, the provider's decent.”
Companies have been known to work very hard to create a reputable brand name in the real world, only to throw all that hard effort away with a substandard appearance online. It is important to remember that your brand is the sum of your staff, your services and all of your marketing initiatives – and that includes your website. So, make sure that it receives equal time and effort.
Pudding Creative can help you to achieve a high quality website presence with solid content and an irresistible style.
Contact us for a free consultation on how we can improve your business.
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