Google’s Panda and Key Points for SEO
Are you wondering if you’re writing your Web SEO copy the right way?
Google’s Panda update raised the content bar. Now, it’s not enough to “have keyphrase-rich content” for a top ranking. With the Panda release content must be relevant, informative, and well-written.
Additionally, your readers demand smart writing that meets their needs. That means knowing what makes your reader tick and the best way to write and present the content.
In short, it’s more than just sitting down and writing. You need to make sure that you have all your SEO writing bases covered.
Whether you’re an in-house SEO content writer, a business owner or a SEO copywriter, this 25 point guide will help you write more engaging content that Google requires for effective SEO.
Is the content based on the target customers profile?
How do you know how to structure your writing if you don’t know who you’re writing for? One way is to simply ask your customer for their main interest that defines who the target customer is and their specific requirements. If the client doesn’t have a good profile, be prepared to spend at least 30 minutes to a hour asking questions about their interests.
Is the content based on good keyphrase research or is it based on a trending topic that resonates with your readers?
It’s easy to blog about whatever strikes your interest. The problem is your readers may not care as much as you do. So, you should base your blog posts and site pages on good keyphrase research. That way, you’re giving your readers the content they interested in.
Is your Call to Action clear and is it easy for the reader to implement?
Since your site wants readers to take a specific call to action. For example, in a sales environment, the call to action is purchasing a product or service. It might be contacting the company for additional information. Be direct and tell your reader what you want them to do and make it simple for them to take action.
Do you have a secondary Call to Action?
Many sites have a secondary Call to Action. Many times, the Call to Action relates to lead generation (signing up for a newsletter.) Other times, it could be a link to related products or blog posts. Make sure that your secondary call to action is clear and doesn’t take attention away from the main Call to Action.
Does the page include too many choices?
It’s important to keep your reader focused on your primary and secondary Call to Action. If your page lists too many choices For example, a long scrolling page of products or a long list of related blog posts. You should eliminate any unnecessary choices that don’t justify your main calls to action. Otherwise, your client may be overwhelmed and not take any action.
What is your main per-page keyphrase focus?
Don’t make the mistake of conducting keyphrase research after you’ve written the article. Perform your research first, and then choose the best keyphrases for your page.
What internal pages will you link to? What’s the anchor text?
This is especially important if you’re writing a soft-sale blog post, where the secondary Call to Action is to send readers to specific product or services page. “Dead end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages,) don’t encourage further reading/interactions and can be a cause of higher bounce rates. Please note, always hyperlink the keyphrase rather than linking to words like “click here” or “read more”.
What are the product/services features and benefits?
As most sales and marketing people with tell you; purchase decisions are based on the benefits of a product and not its features Make sure that you tell your reader how your product/service will make their lives better and satisfy a need. Always perform all the background information/research you need to write the page.
Do you have vertical-specific testimonials?
In general testimonials are great way to offer third-party proof that your product or service is topnotch. Nonetheless, if you are writing a sales page for a specific vertical, always include vertical-specific testimonials (for example, a clients testimonial on legal services supplied by a law firm.) This has the effect of increased conversion rates.
Is your main headline “clickable?”
Readers initially quick-scan your content so benefit-rich headlines tell the reader “what’s in it for him/her” and entices them to keep reading. Ensure that your headline is compelling and the benefit statement is a proven technique which is too powerful to pass up.
Does your headline include a keyphrase?
Searchers are following the “search scent” from the search engine results page. When they reach the landing page, they are quick-scanning for their search term so including a keyphrase in your headline is important. Adding your keyphrase to your main headline is also an excellent way to reinforce keyphrase relevancy.
Did you include keyphrase-rich sub-headlines?
Sub-headlines are an excellent way to visually break up your text, making it easy for readers to quick-scan your benefits and information. Furthermore, just like with the main headline, adding a keyphrase to your sub-headlines can help reinforce keyphrase relevancy.
Does the content provide the reader important information?
Google’s Panda update spanked sites with “thin,” low-quality content that was poorly written. Before you upload your page, ask yourself if the content answers your reader’s questions and is informative. If you find that you’re focusing more on the keyphrase usage than the actual content, rewrite the page.
Did you use bullet points where appropriate?
Bullet points help to highlight your content, making it easier for your readers to read. Use bullet points whenever you find yourself writing a list such as a features-benefits list.
Did you use too many keyphrases?
Remember, there is no such thing as keyword density. If your content sounds keyphrase heavy and stilted, reduce the keyphrase usage and focus more on your readers’ experience.
Is the voice of the page appropriate?
Does your tone resonate with your reader. Your content doesn’t have to sound formal, but it should sound like you talk. Knowing your customer character can help you find the “right” voice for the page.
Are your sentences too long?
Vary your sentence structure so you have a combination of longer and shorter sentences. If you find your sentences creeping over 30 or so words, it may be time to edit them down or turn them into individual sentences.
Are your paragraphs too long?
Long paragraphs without much white space are hard to read off a computer monitor and even harder to read on a mobile device. Whenever possible, make your paragraphs shorter for easier readability.
Did you edit your content?
Resist the urge to upload your content as soon as you write it. Put it away and come back to it after a few hours (or even the next day.) Eliminate any spelling and grammatical errors and then see what you can do to shorten the word count.
Did you edit it again?
Once is never enough. Review your content at least one more time. It’s amazing what you can find to edit the second time around!
Does your Title contain one of your main keyphrases?
Always include your main page keyphrase in your Title and work in other keyphrases if they “fit.”
Is your Title clickable and compelling?
Remember that the search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Consider how you can create an enticing Title that “gets the click” over the other search result listings. Remember, you have about 65 characters to work with, so it’s important to write efficiently.
Did you create a meta description?
Your meta description is like a short page summary and it helps encourage searchers to click-through from the search engine results page. Although Google may not always use your meta description, it’s still important to create one. Don’t forget to weave in your keyphrases. There are many good SEO applications for WordPress and Joomla, you should use them as they help automate the process.
Does the meta description fit the intent of the page?
If you’re writing an article or blog post, the meta description should be informational and not a sales point. On the other hand, if you’re creating a meta description for a sales page, your meta description can be more promotional.