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#1 EGOL

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:26 PM

Has anybody read... What is Quality Content: The Road to Panda Recovery
http://www.beussery....uality-content/

I thought that this was a really interesting article. It discusses different types of "authority" and different types of "credibility".

Plus has a lot of information about how search engines might determine the recency, reliability and quality of your content.

It touches on everything from site design, site maintenance, page layout, content formatting.

Also, "who is this author?" seems to be an important question.

Its a good read for serious webmasters.

#2 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:41 PM

Also, "who is this author?" seems to be an important question


Which is why I previously said this:

Google wants to - in some cases - be able to replace PageRank with AuthorRank. No, that's not a real word but the point is the same. Trust....it's all about trust. If an author has some trust and gets shared a lot, etc., then eventually that will matter in the algo.

Don't put this off people. (Egol, I'm looking at you).

It will be important.



#3 DCrx

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 05:45 PM

What this article is talking about is being a leading authority. That means pushing the envelope of your field.

That means getting backlinks from curricula (blackboard.com) and citations in white papers. That means being cited by book authors.

In short, most people (honestly, the vast majority) shouldn't even bother thinking about such articles. The Panda update is an apocalypse because this is true. The SEO industry exists because this is true. Industries are inbred. Imagination is short. The 'net makes fossilation look pliable. It just wouldn't be a conceptual possibility.

Pretty much anybody who wouldn't be affected by Panda doesn't know what Panda is ...isn't interested in SEO. And is far too busy pushing the boundaries of their field to think about what quality content is. In essence, if you have to read the aritcle -- you don't have to read the article.

Edited by DCrx, 09 February 2012 - 06:03 PM.


#4 glyn

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:03 PM

you set the function of your content. A writer reflects that in your brief.

#5 DonnaFontenot

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 06:35 PM

Pretty much anybody who wouldn't be affected by Panda doesn't know what Panda is ...isn't interested in SEO. And is far too busy pushing the boundaries of their field to think about what quality content is. In essence, if you have to read the aritcle -- you don't have to read the article.


While that makes for good "copy", I disagree. I've seen many a person who believed themselves to be above those who get hit by Google algos, who have time and time again likened those affected as being deserving of it, only to eventually get hit themselves. It's tough to eat those words. Does a lot of crud get hit by such things as Panda? Sure. Does incredibly rich, marvelously wonderful content that pushes the boundaries also get hit? You bet it does.

Just because a person creates content so outstanding that the person doesn't need to think about what good content is, doesn't mean that content won't get hit. The algo focuses on various things - and these things change over time - and these things quite often fail to recognize what a human might see as good content, but an algo doesn't.

Sure, many a content producer will go through their lives never knowing what SEO is, or what an algo might consider good content to consist of. Many of those will do fine without knowing such things. But many will also scratch their heads and wonder why their insanely awesome content isn't being recognized as such - and those people would do well to read about what Google is favoring at the moment.

#6 iamlost

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 07:11 PM

I wholeheartedly agree with the thrust of the article and with much of the specifics.

I do :D have a few quibbles, such as old copyright dates on pages: technically the date should be the date of publication, i.e. 2006; if updated then the date of the addition/revision should also be included, i.e. 2006, 2009, 2010. The silliness that is the script that either (and is very very bad for proof of originality/copyright) updates the year only, i.e. 2006 becomes 2007 becomes 2008; or appends the latest year (and destroys the intent of copyright, revision dating), i.e. 2006 becomes 2006 - 2007 becomes 2006 - 2008.

I will refrain from itemising the others. :) They are, even in toto, minor compared to the general thrust and content.

I second all that DCrx says above - if not how he said it. :)

Of course this means that creating 'content' is expensive, in time or in money.

Coincidentally (? :)) in How to Differentiate Your Website by Michael Martinez, 09-February-2012 - and which I think makes a nice companion piece, Michael makes a critical point often overlooked:
The only thing about your Website that cannot be copied is YOU. YOUR voice.
...
Whether you choose to generalize or specialize, whether you lead or follow, eventually you can only pull away from the pack by freeing your voice from the constraints of trying to be like everyone else, of trying to do whatever everyone else is doing.


Note: Panda did not eliminate shallow content it simply moved the allowable threshold. While it is amusing to watch the bottom feeders and mass scale publishers attempting to locate the new sweet spot they will/have and the shallows are not only still with us but are again on the ascendant.

#7 Michael_Martinez

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:14 PM

I am certain that old copyright dates don't have any impact on the quality determination. It's reasonable to ask if ten-year-old content is relevant today but I think that "content recency" (to quote Brian's sub-heading) is handled more by the Freshness algorithm(s).

Quality is so hard to measure because we can define it in different contexts. I think at the end of the day that each part of the Google indexing process has to use a set of quality signals that are limited in some way, if only to maintain efficiencies of scale. The hope seems to be that all these different checkpoints in the process each clean out some of the gunk, thus producing an overall better product.

And, yes, I agree the search for the new sweet spot is on. That's basic economics. People will find where the new minimum threshold is sooner or later and adjust their machinery to churn out stuff that is "just barely good enough for the search engine".

Thanks for the cite. I admit I was hoping this would be one of the days Barry added it to the Search Engine Land roundup but I guess my server going offline for a few hours killed that dream. Oh well. There's always next week.

#8 DCrx

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 03:21 AM

who believed themselves to be above those who get hit by Google algos


Yes. But the site doesn't cease to exist. Clients don't stop coming.

Why? How can that be?

Backlinks can serve up traffic as well as SE juice. And there is that precious few people who get clients and make their living outside the 'net.

Authors, bands, artists have all had peaks and valleys. Sometimes they are popular. Other times not. This has little to do with anything inside Google.

Mentioning the Panda update makes this all about Google, nothing about quality content. And that is exactly why the article talks about quality content like you'd talk about a unicorn. Writing anything in feverish obsession with what others think has always been a ticket to mediorcrity -- at best. Writing which suffers from SEObsessive compulsive disorder insures a lack of quality content.

You can't have a discussion about quality content and SEO. Like this one, SEO so monopolizes the discussion you forget what the other topic was. And because SEO is be all, end all, quality content can not exist where SEO is.

And I only half jokingly refer to SEOism as a disorder. It dominates every other element of design and content like an addiction to drugs dominates someone's life. It has become like religion. You are either all the way "in," or you do not discuss SEO at all if you know what's good for you. Best thing is, when the conversation turns to SEO, is smile, nod your head, and back away slowly.

Edited by DCrx, 10 February 2012 - 03:40 AM.


#9 glyn

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 04:14 AM

It's pretty funny don't you think everyone, that here we are discussing what makes a quality article, and yet again the impact that this would have post PANDA. It's as though suudenly the written word was subject to an algorhythmic quality control, when in fact the quality control is in the readers eye.

I think that the reason why this article fails so much is not in what it says, but the way it chooses to say it.

When we are talking about content quality against a robotic mechanism you are only talking about what can be considered quality as a programmable identifier. So for me this article would have been much better as a simple list of items that could be read and interpresed by any content writer as a series of guidelines. The fact of the matter is that people with a good level of know-how will no way declare all the points that are elaborated in this document because frankly, you'd sound like an arrogant idiot if you did, or lead the reader to think "why is this person trying so hard". Instead the article is a pseudo mishmash of how to write, and robot quality identifiers.

If we're talking about what you need to persuade, Cialdini had it down nicely:

  • Reciprocity - People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.
  • Commitment and Consistency - If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement. For example, in car sales, suddenly raising the price at the last moment works because the buyer has already decided to buy. Cialdini notes Chinese brainwashing on American prisoners of war to rewrite their self image and gain automatic unenforced compliance. See cognitive dissonance.
  • Social Proof - People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.
  • Authority - People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts. Cialdini cites incidents such as the Milgram experiments in the early 1960s and the My Lai massacre.
  • Liking - People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
  • Scarcity - Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a "limited time only" encourages sales.



G.

#10 bwelford

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:52 AM

Well said, Glyn. I think you hit the nail on the head there.

:applause:

#11 iamlost

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 12:29 PM

While I happen to agree with the general points made by both DCrx and glyn I have some mild disagreements:

Yes. But the site doesn't cease to exist. Clients don't stop coming.

Why? How can that be?

Backlinks can serve up traffic as well as SE juice. And there is that precious few people who get clients and make their living outside the 'net.

Authors, bands, artists have all had peaks and valleys. Sometimes they are popular. Other times not. This has little to do with anything inside Google.

Yes, if a site drops out of one or all SEs it still exists. Indeed, without a single link into a site it still exists.

However, as radio once was to a musician's/band's success, SEs, especially Google, are to many/most websites. It is, as was radio, an easy simple default. Those being excluded from the playlists had to tour endlessly, do endless self-promotion locale by locale - it was boring endless slogging work.

Similarly, weaning traffic dependence from one or more SEs takes planning and a continuing effort. How important mass traffic is depends of course on one's revenue model. Again the easy simple defaults create an implied, if not actual, dependancy on the traffic volume that a SE can deliver. A viscious circle.

And this addictive behaviour has a great deal to do with Google.

Mentioning the Panda update makes this all about Google, nothing about quality content. And that is exactly why the article talks about quality content like you'd talk about a unicorn. Writing anything in feverish obsession with what others think has always been a ticket to mediorcrity -- at best. Writing which suffers from SEObsessive compulsive disorder insures a lack of quality content.

You can't have a discussion about quality content and SEO. Like this one, SEO so monopolizes the discussion you forget what the other topic was. And because SEO is be all, end all, quality content can not exist where SEO is.

And I only half jokingly refer to SEOism as a disorder. It dominates every other element of design and content like an addiction to drugs dominates someone's life. It has become like religion. You are either all the way "in," or you do not discuss SEO at all if you know what's good for you. Best thing is, when the conversation turns to SEO, is smile, nod your head, and back away slowly.

Sadly, we agree on the disorder/addiction analogy.
And while your point is real, substantive, and too often overlooked or denied the point of the linked article is the Panda:content quality relationship. And so Panda, SEO, and Google/SEs are already in the mix in this thread.

I would prefer to discuss content quality in terms of purpose, context, connection, etc. without bringing in arbitrary third party minimal standard thresholds - but that would attract very few readers. Marketing to webdevs almost requires SEO and whatever the latest bugbear might be. Sad but a fact of life.

It's pretty funny don't you think everyone, that here we are discussing what makes a quality article, and yet again the impact that this would have post PANDA. It's as though suudenly the written word was subject to an algorhythmic quality control, when in fact the quality control is in the readers eye.

I think that the reason why this article fails so much is not in what it says, but the way it chooses to say it.

When we are talking about content quality against a robotic mechanism you are only talking about what can be considered quality as a programmable identifier. So for me this article would have been much better as a simple list of items that could be read and interpresed by any content writer as a series of guidelines.

Angst, thy name is the Google under the webdev bed...

I shudder at the lists that become rote gospel that unthinking webdevs follow to their sooner rather than later demise.

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini's book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion is a NYTimes bestseller. But apparently not among webdevs. Indeed I sometimes wonder how many have an inkling how ignorant they really are in their field of endeavour. I certainly know how much less I understand with every book and thesis and article that I read.

#12 jonbey

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 09:35 PM

I guess the question should be in at least two parts:

1. what is quality according to the search engine/s (this week)?
2. what is quality according to people?

As someone who has made good progress in overcoming a Panda "quality" penalty I can say that Google Quality is not always a clear cut as what you may think. And a quality page does not make a quality site in the eyes of the mechogodzillabot / spider / booglegot.

What I have so far determined is that waffle and chitter chatter scores low on the quality site. Nobody likes someone that goes on and on and on about their stuff. Usually these people are deaf to their own mundane drivel. Booglegot (if it was only funny once then at least you are reading) does not care for our love of repetition, it wants depth.

So, in short, Quality = Depth. And not waffling in the aisles either, for that can drain the pool to make depth look, um, less deep.

#13 EGOL

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Posted 10 February 2012 - 11:35 PM

I guess the question should be in at least two parts:

1. what is quality according to the search engine/s (this week)?
2. what is quality according to people?

Great summary jonbey. Thanks!

#14 DCrx

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Posted 11 February 2012 - 06:21 AM

Smiling. Backing away. Nodding. Backing away.

#15 jonbey

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 03:47 PM

Great summary jonbey. Thanks!

If what I mumbled made little sense blame the wine ... I was rather hungover after writing that comment.

#16 bwelford

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 04:04 PM

In vino veritas. :)

#17 send2paul

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Posted 12 February 2012 - 05:52 PM

Evening all :)

Interesting this old PANDA thing, eh? "Back in the day" I'm sure Google changed it's algo's, (and they may even had names for them as well like "Hurricane Algo" or something?), and yet I'm sure we just all shrugged out shoulders, (perhaps not all at once I'm sure that would have caused an earthquake/tidal wave?!), and just "got on with it" as we would have all agreed that:

"Google's algo has changed. We don't really know how it's changed. But! If we keep producing original, fresh, updated content in a well structured website obeying all the sensible rules of SEO - then we should be okay"

And, interestingly enough - I find myself wondering what the whole Jim Dandy analysis of this recent update is all about? I mean, what that article, (and any other article I've read), doesn't categorically say is this: "Panda has done X to the Google algo, so you have to do Y in order to maintain your website search engine result level". It is all speculation. And so some very well meaning structured articles are produced which basically regurgitate all the things that anybody concerned with site content/SEO should be considering anyway. I may be wrong - but that's how I see it :)

And here's an article from December 29th 2011:

http://searchenginew...y-Link-Building

But did I see any reference to "saying goodbye to low quality links" in the main article that this thread started with? Nope. Just a passing mention in one fo the lists - "irrelevant links".

I guess having a Google algo update is great for discussion, and maybe Google has talked a bit more about this one than they have on other occasions, (and perhaps they haven't as I don't really follow these things that closely)..... but in the end - we never really know what's happened - do we?

#18 jonbey

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 04:29 AM

Yeah, we never really know. I think that with Panda a fair number of things happened to help confuse matters, and one change that affected one site was not necessarily relevant for another.

Are the bad/poor links really part of Panda though, or just another algo update that happened end of 2011 / early this year? Lots of sites dropped completely for buying links etc in recent months, judging by the forums. But no idea if it really is happening more or just that I have been looking more.

Overall, I think Google is simply trying to eradicate the automated / mass produced MFA sites and page quality and link quality is a major part of this.

#19 send2paul

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 05:51 AM

Google is simply trying to eradicate the automated / mass produced MFA sites

- tell me about it....lol.... some of best income is being taken away from me! :dazed:

#20 EGOL

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Posted 13 February 2012 - 11:24 PM

I've seen many a person who believed themselves to be above those who get hit by Google algos, who have time and time again likened those affected as being deserving of it, only to eventually get hit themselves. It's tough to eat those words. Does a lot of crud get hit by such things as Panda? Sure. Does incredibly rich, marvelously wonderful content that pushes the boundaries also get hit? You bet it does.

I've been thinking about this and have decided that making a living on the web is a LOT more risky that I have previously believed. Don't get me wrong, I've always felt that it is very risky, but I've always felt that unique best-on-the-web content would aways survive. However, if you have a little thin content on that same site, or Google does not like your ads, or you get scraped pretty hard then your whole ranch could burn down. Then there is the Type I / Type II error problem of one of many algos hitting you the wrong way. Or you make a technical booboo and don't know it. Panda is just one of the many problems - but it is the mysterious one because something other than "machine rules" that we can figure out seems to play the jugular role.

The chances for a guy with a blog full of Einstein content used to be excellent... but I think it has really eroded in the past year or so as a lot of technical requirements, cryptic tags and filters that are blind to fantastic content will zap these sites before they get out of the gate. I think that these problems have always been around, but think back over the past year of how many new tripwires have been pulled across the path.

#21 iamlost

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Posted 14 February 2012 - 11:39 AM

Business has always been risky, something like 30% of Canadian small B&M businesses fail within five years; for those grossing under $30,000 two-thirds fail in the same period. Why should online businesses be any different?

Actually I see a huge plus in the much lower start-up and operating costs of most web businesses. Unfortunately I see a countervailing lack of business sense/behaviour by many/most online entrepeneurs.

And once again I'll beat my lonely drum: there is more to search supplied traffic than Google, there is more to web traffic than search, especially in the last few years. If you make the business decision, explicitly or implicitly, to rely on one traffic supplier you must accept the higher inherent risks. Just as the churn and burn types do.

The problem is NOT Google, it is the build-on-Google mindset of so many webdevs. A real business identifies core and associated market segments for business niche, identifies multiple access points, creates qualified traffic generation startegies, creates targeted best value content to attract, retain, convert, etc. each segment, creates revenue and marketing plans out several years... A real business behaves as a business. Not a web of dreams.

If Google search dropped all my sites I would lose perhaps a quarter of my traffic. If AdSense dropped all my sites I would lose upwards of 20% of my revenue. If both happened I'd probably lose something over half current revenue (knock on effect due to traffic guarantees to direct advertisers). But I wouldn't be out of business. And would retain a solid base on which to keep building and earning. Plus I've done what I can to mitigate such a wholesale calamity, i.e. sites are not easily associated.

There is always risk. But whether a risk is accentuated or mitigated is largely dependent on you, what you do or don't, what you accept or don't.

I am a great believer in content: in long even dense copy rich with imagery containing multiple conversion vectors, in targeting specific market segments with presentation and catch words, in delivering appropriate context... and I am a great believer in marketing, quietly, subtlety, appropriately where each audience congregates.

Quality content is highly subjective:
* each visitor makes their own contextual determination;
* each site/business makes their own determination on conversion value and/or ROI of each page;
* etc.

The last arbiter I'd ever consider is Google - or any other third party. Frankly, their standards are too low and while their goals may be parallel are definitely not aligned.

#22 EGOL

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 07:38 AM

And once again I'll beat my lonely drum: there is more to search supplied traffic than Google, there is more to web traffic than search, especially in the last few years. If you make the business decision, explicitly or implicitly, to rely on one traffic supplier you must accept the higher inherent risks. Just as the churn and burn types do.

I have always been impressed by your ability to attract traffic from such a diversity of sources.

I am certain that great content plays an important role in your ability to do that.

Do you think that this can be done economically for the typical information site? Or, perhaps more difficult, the typical retail site?

#23 jonbey

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:39 AM

Yeah, me too! I would love to reduce dependence on search and have been attempting to boost the social referrals and direct links, but so far made very little progress.

#24 iamlost

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:04 PM

I am certain that great content plays an important role in your ability to do that.


Part of it is certainly the content, part of it is considering context, part is considering touch points and goals. Some niches are definitely more straightforward, some business models also; however, I have not yet encountered one where I can not see diversity possibilities.

Perhaps the most cogent concern you mention is 'can it be done economically?' and to answer that question requires one to have a reasonable grasp of one's page (or pages) ROI: what is required investment cost? what is expected return (in revenue or savings)? Whether site is b2c or b2c, info or ecommerce matters not in this calculation.

I always cost a page, even when doing all the work myself, as I consider it a best practice. Further, when initially building a site I initially target the terms most likely to (1) build traffic and (2) convert to available revenue stream(s), i.e. AdSense is a common default. How soon one includes the revenue generator on page is a business decision: I usually built out for 6-months and decent traffic before so doing.

Example:
For initial computation consider a 2% overall site conversion to revenue rate doable, i.e. niche average. Calculate a probable traffic growth curve, i.e. One visitor a day initially to 100 a day by years end. Round down to 18,000 total on the year. At 2% conversion that is 360 who click/buy.

Now what is my likely return per click/sale? For this example let's say $1.00. Therefor for the first year that page should be worth $360.00. And that is what I would be willing to spend, in my time and/or in paying others for all the content, copy, images, etc.

Make adjustments as required to fit your circumstances.
Note: when outsourcing copy always allow for editing cost.

Of course how you market - backlinks are part of marketing imo - can affect traffic both in quantity and quality (by quality I mean likelihood of revenue conversion) and how you optimise on page both can profoundly affect inputs and outcomes.

Not all pages need be or indeed should be designed for revenue conversion, often it is simpler and more efficient to build landing pages that attract visitors in some manner and then filter direct them to other more revenue focussed pages. I actually planned my initial page structure such that I could build - and cost - each conversion funnel at once.

And one might be best advised to not immediately chase the highly competitive because highly valued terms but rather to look for opportunities missed by competitors and build a foundation from which to take the big ticket items away at a later date. Depends on your knowledge, competence, and business model.

Do you think that this can be done economically for the typical information site? Or, perhaps more difficult, the typical retail site?

In short: yes. :) to both.



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