Getting chosen to be on the first two or three pages of anyone of the Big Three SE’s , is becoming a lot like trying to make it onto one of the Olympic teams; you may look good with all your fancy theme’s, widgets, share buttons and Twitter feeds; but if you’re not posting quality content on a regular basis, you might as well pack up your gym bag and go home.
It wasn’t that long ago that all it took to find our posts on the first one or two pages of Google’s infamous SEO, was stuffing it with mystical codes, popular tags and cleverly placed hyperlinks. Given enough fairy dust , elf runes and magical wands, even the worst blogger could make themselves appear on the first page of at least one of the Big Three.
But those days of technical wizardry and sleight of hand are pretty much over. According to guest author, Rich Gorman in his article, “How to Write Online Content that Appeals to (Almost) Everybody“, Google has now made it nearly impossible for posers to get away with luring unsuspecting readers to their sites by using misleading information.
Now, with the help of nano-sized spiders, programs like Panda and Penguin are able to crawl over our web sites, read our mail, digest our content and return to their masters loaded down with all the information needed for the powers on high to determine where our sites and their posts get ranked.
So what is it that the Big Three are looking for? How do the powers that be determine which sites get chosen and which get left in outfield? And even more important, what can you and I do to give ourselves a fighting chance so that we’re consistently hit home runs?
“…write as if you’re sitting in the same room as those who read you, keep them entertained,
and don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s you they’ve drop by to see.”
In reality, search engines are looking for the same things as readers; quality content, consistency in posting and eye catching presentation. In Heidi Cohen’s post on creating compelling content, she gives a lists of some of the key ingredients that can help us do that; strong headlines, strategically structured paragraphs, and well placed bold font.
But what are some of the things that will attract new readership as well as keep the ones we already have? What will peak their attention, bully their thoughts and provoke their interest time and time again?
I started thinking about what it was that drew me to add someone to my own reader board. What was it about their content that made them interesting enough for me to copy that URL and drop it into my Google Reader board?
Here are the four keys I use to judge content.
- Write posts that add value: If people are following our posts, then we owe it to them to write about things that gives our niche readership something that add to who they are, and can be tucked away in a folder for their own articles or future posts.
- Speak the language: Every niche has a language all its own. Techno geeks speak Techneez; journalists speak Journaleez and emerging authors ….well we’re still trying to learn how to speak Authoreez. Don’t waste the reader’s time speaking a language that has nothing to do with them. Whatever your niche audience is, write to that.
- Know what’s hot and what’s not: Look for topics that are either filling Twitter feeds and Face Book, or ones that are just now breaking on the scene. Several months ago I came across a little blurb on the horizon about Amanda Havard and a new Ebook technology called Immersedition. At the time of my original posting, little to nothing was being said about the author, her book or the company her father founded. Now she’s getting ready to publish her third book in the Survivor’s Series and she’s headline news.
- Write for your audience: With all the information available at the click of a mouse or the push of a finger, it’ s totally unrealistic for any of us to try to write for everyone. So write as if you’re sitting in the same room as those who read you, keep them entertained, and don’t lose sight of the fact that it’s you they’ve drop by to see.