Writers face unique opportunities and challenges in the post-Panda Gogle search era.

The Google Panda update has brought new meaning to the term “it’s been a bear” with websites falling out of the search engine results sky and others rising to new heights they had never really experienced before.

Somewhere in the middle, between the falling bought-content sites and the rising blogs of active bloggers stand writers, bewildered at yet one more Google algorithm change, desperate for publicity and uncertain on just how to manage the little time they have for writing and not lose it all marketing themselves.

The Google Panda update puts an official stamp on a trend Google started towards the end of 2007 when it began to gradually favour brands in an attempt to deliver search engine results which were more relevant to search terms and did not waste the end-user’s time. What’s different between then and now is that in the intervening time Google has been able to sensitize its algorithm to actually create a better judgement of the ‘authority’ of a web page.

For instance, a post with the title ‘Top How-To Practical Business Books’ posted on a top-notch athletics wear website which routinely gets to the first page of Google for its content, is unlikely to now get much traction (and will represent a waste of time and effort to create) while a less well optimized post in a business books publisher’s website will get to the top page of Google without any problem.

The reason this will happen is because Google can now analyse the contextual authority of a particular website and judge whether its pages on its results page are truly relevant or not.

Writers have just been getting good at understanding keywords and SEO titles and have just been resigning themselves to the fact that their writing, however ‘clever’, will have to play second fiddle to SEO. Now the Google Panda update is upturning it all.

Writers Are Content Creators

The phrase ‘Content is King’ has been a bit of a joke for SEO. While every marketer bandied it like a banner from 2005 onwards, the reality was that you could get content written up for less than a cent a word, you could get articles created through spinners and you could create nonsense articles and get a bunch of paid links and rank higher than someone who put their heart and soul into the writing of a post.

This was the case with decreased effectiveness right up to April 2011. In March that year Google brought out its Panda update and made content crucial once again. Here’s the mantra you’re going to see all over the web:

  •  Content needs to be unique.
  •  Content needs to be high quality.
  •  Content needs to be long.

Long, unique and high-quality is not enough however. If you want your content to stand out you need to spice up the recipe with a pinch of social sharing and a smidgen of personal branding. Then you need to stir vigorously and allow to percolate through the search engine index.

Because writers are content creators they usually find it easy to create content, and many do just that. The trick here is to create the right kind of content. The Google Panda update favors relevancy over uniqueness, so if you happen to write period romantic novels and you simply create post after post after post on how great romantic novels are and how we should all be reading more of them you are truly wasting your time.

Write a 400 word article however on 17th century bustles and the explicit nature of the action associated with a woman showing a bit of ankle and you have yourself a winner. The rationale is that those most likely to be interested in the bustle and the revelation of a woman’s ankle are also your target audience. If your strategy is right then the results will bear this out and your site will start to rise. You need to keep an eye on the results through Google Analytics and adjust where necessary.

The end results, over time, always favour the person who can write and writers, well, erm…write!

Related Content Which May Be of Interest

Google Panda Update SEO Health Check
How to Tell if Your Site Looks Like a Spam Website
Is the Google Panda Update Penalizing your Website?
Four Things to Do on your eCommerce Website after the Panda Update
Google’s Panda Update Penalizes Poor Content Websites

 

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