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How Short Content Can Help you Rank

A common misconception is that you need to provide at least 500 words of onsite content to have your page rank with Google. Your rankings are dependent on many factors and signals and is not necessarily determined by the number of words on a page; no matter how well written they are.


It all comes down to creating unique content that is not only interesting, but engages your viewers and drives ongoing conversations in the form of replies or comments. In a recent Google Webmaster Help thread John Muller of Google, clarified this exact point.

"Rest assured, Googlebot doesn’t just count words on a page or in an article, even short articles can be very useful & compelling to users. For example, we also crawl and index tweets, which are at most 140 characters long. That said, if you have users who love your site and engage with it regularly, allowing them to share comments on your articles is also a great way to bring additional information onto the page. Sometimes a short article can trigger a longer discussion — and sometimes users are looking for discussions like that in search. That said, one recommendation that I’d like to add is to make sure that your content is really unique (not just rewritten, autogenerated, etc) and of high-quality."

Google crawls everything from full articles to 140 character tweets. Google recognizes that even short comments or articles can be triggers for engaging conversations. There is no magic number; there are no “tricks” to SEO. Creating unique and valuable content and you visitors and ranking will follow.

SEO news blog post by @ 10:56 am on December 5, 2012


You don’t want the next Penguin update…

Scary Matt Cutts

Is Matt Cutts just goofing around or is he really trying to scare us?

The statement in the title of this article, from Matt Cutts, has the SEO world looking for further information as to just how bad the next Penguin update will be.

During the SES in San Francisco this week Matt Cutts got a chance to speak about updates and how they will effect SEOs. One of the things he was quoted as saying really caught my eye:

You don’t want the next Penguin update, the engineers have been working hard…

Mr.Cutts has recently eaten some words, retracting his statement that too much SEO is a bad thing, and explaining that good SEO is still good.

Even with attendees saying that he spoke the words with no signs of ominous intent, how do you expect the SEO world to take follow up statements like:

The updates are going the be jarring and julting for a while.

That’s just not positive sounding at all and it almost has the tone of admission that the next updates are perhaps going to be ‘too much’ even in Matt’s opinion, and he’s one of Google’s top engineers!

My take is that if you are doing anything even slightly shady, you’re about to see some massive ranking spanking.

Reciprocal links, excessive directories, participating in back-link cliques/neighborhoods, pointless press releases, redundant article syndication, duplicate content without authorship markup, poorly configured CMS parameters, etc.. These are all likely to be things, in my opinion, that will burn overly SEO’d sites in the next update.

The discussion also made it’s way to the issues with Twitter data feeds. Essentially since Google and Twitter no longer have an agreement, Google is effectively ‘blocked’ from crawling Twitter.

Dead twitter bird

On the topic of Twitter crawling Matt Cutts was quoted as saying:

..we can do it relatively well, but if we could crawl Twitter in the full way we can, their infastructure[sic] wouldn’t be able to handle it


Which to me seems odd, since I don’t see any other sites complaining about how much load Google is placing on their infrastructure?

Clearly the issue is still political/strategic and neither side is looking to point fingers.

With Twitter’s social media relevance diminished you’d think +1′s would be a focus point but Matt Cutts also commented on the situation stating that we shouldn’t place much value on +1 stats for now.

A final point was made about Knowledge Graph, the new information panel that’s appearing on certain search terms.

Since the Google Search Quality team is now the Google Knowledge Graph team Matt Cutts had some great answers on the topic of Knowledge Graph, including the data sources and harm to Wikipedia.

There had been a lot of cursing about Google simply abusing Wikipedia’s bandwidth/resources but it was made clear during the session that Wikipedia is not traffic dependent because they don’t use ads for revenue.

Essentially, if Wikipedia’s data is getting better utilized, and they haven’t had to do anything to make it happen, they are happy.

If you wanted to get more details there’s lots of #SESSF hashed posts on Twitter and plenty of articles coming from the attendees.

I’m personally going to go start working on a moat for this Penguin problem..

SEO news blog post by @ 11:56 am on August 16, 2012


A Blogger’s Paradise

FACT: People are still writing blogs. Despite suggestions that blogs are passé, it seems that more and more people are still writing blog content now more than ever. Blogging remains as an important avenue for consumer expression.

blog pic

Consumer generated blogs have been showing significant growth since 2006 when NM Incite began tracking them according to a published U.S. Digital Consumer Report State of the Media(Q3-Q4 2011) report.

At the end of 2011, NM Incite, a Nielsen/McKinsey company, tracked over 181 million blogs around the world. This was way up from the sparse 36 million reported only five years earlier in 2006.

In a report from NM Incite, the big three blogging platforms are Blogger (from Google), WordPress and Tumbler (in that order). These three sites received 80.5 unique visitors in October of 2011. The report did not separate readers from writers.

It is estimated that the number of blog readers in the USA would reach approximately 122.6 million viewers accounting for about 53.5% of all internet users.

blog pic

It’s difficult to compare eMarketer’s audience of 122.6 million U.S. readers to Nielsen’s 181 million global blogs, but one can reasonably ask whether there are almost as many writers as readers.
Jason Mudd, president of Axia Public Relations, thinks blogs are too difficult to keep up with.

"People can swallow small bites of information from Twitter and Facebook much easier without having to read several paragraphs," says Mudd, whose clients include Blue Cross/Blue Shield, Verizon and Synovus.
Mudd does follow some bloggers, but he does it through Twitter or Facebook, scanning the headlines they post and only occasionally clicking through to the actual blog.

Though individual blogs do not have a large audience per se, they effectively add a combined reach for marketing campaigns. Women bloggers make for a large portion of the targeted audience for advertisers (especially CPG companies – Consumer packaged goods).

  • 70% are college educated (with a majority earning a degree)
  • 1 in 3 are mothers.
  • 52% of bloggers are parents with kids under 18 in the household.

One only has to look to the emergence of Pinterest which had over 4.5 million unique visitors in October 2011, which was up 37 times higher than from the beginning of the year.

Data from Google Ad Planner and Ignite Social Media, 60-second Marketer found that these users fell between the age groups of 25-34, 45-54 & 55-64, with 80% being female!

The data collected also found that:

  • 92% of Pinterest’s audience also visited mass-merchandiser sites as well.
  • 36% of women are also more likely to trust ads on social media over the 26% of men.

So what can you take away from this post? Keep blogging and try gearing your blogs and link building efforts knowing that women bloggers and Pinterest account for a huge portion of your target audience. Pinterest may just be the latest Internet fad but it is one that should not be ignored. Remember that Facebook was also considered a "fad" when starting out.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:41 pm on March 14, 2012


Creating Long Lasting Evergreen Content

Evergreen content is the process of writing content that is effective is continually driving traffic to your website over a long period of time. The content is capable of standing on its own with little or even no updating. Historical content is a good example of evergreen content. Content written about the presidency of Bill Clinton can be relevant for the life of the website.

evergreen content trees

That is not to say that evergreen content has to be about historical topic or otherwise old stuff. For instance when the 2012 cars go on sale, the information about them will remain very consistent and require very little updating over time.

Other content is evergreen, but due to the nature of the subject it still has a limited lifespan. One such topic could be "How to reformat a Window 95 system." In these types of articles, you will need to incorporate this information into the content of the piece. If you use a url structure such as:

Title: How to Format a Hard Drive – Windows 95

Not only will this allow for keyword specific text that will aid in people finding your content when performing relevant searches, but it will provide a logical structure when new operating systems are releases for subsequent operating systems.

Before you begin writing your evergreen content, make sure that you have done sufficient planning and keyword research to ensure you get the longest life out of your piece. Follow these tips to help produce content that remains useful to your visitors.

  • Conduct extensive keyword research.
  • Use these keywords in your page, in your post and in the urls.
  • Keep your article/content narrowly focused and keyword centric.
  • Avoid the use of whimsical or catchy titles. These will almost always drive less traffic

In other cases, content is fairly static but requires occasional updating. Content written about changes to tax laws or investment strategies would fall in to this category as they change every few years.

Evergreen content is a great way to create a steady stream of traffic to your site. It should not be the only tactic you use to writing content, but it can be highly effective. Typically your evergreen content will be of either high value reference/resource material or will be "flagship content."

Flagship (sometime referred to as “cornerstone content”) is content written to make a readers life better, easier or faster. It is something that they search for in Google to find you by or something that directly benefits them. In essence, it is what people need to know to make use of your website and do business with you.

Here are some examples of evergreen content:

  • How-to Posts ("How to Install a Ceiling Fan")
  • Historical Posts about people, places or things (e.g.: "History of the Taino Peoples")
  • Reference Posts (e.g.: "How to Rebuild a 1969 Falcon Futura Carburetor")
  • Information Posts (e.g.: "Latest Carry-on Baggage Regulations for Delta Airlines")

Evergreen content is very dependent upon the amount of research that you do to prepare your piece. If done correctly they will continue to grow and produce results for years to come.

SEO news blog post by @ 12:58 pm on February 23, 2012



Top Nine Ways to Enrich Your Business Blog in 2012

Beanstalk’s Heather Jennings published an very helpful article today on the Beanstalk site offering tips on how to best utilize your business blog in 2012.  From whitepapers to eBook creation … video to just plain posting – Heather outlines some simple and actionable items to help stay directed to making the most of your online presence.  It would seem silly to outline the full article here when it’s an easy 5 minute read on site that’s worth every minute (note: I *may* be biased). :)

Her full article is Top Nine Ways to Enrich Your Business Blog in 2012.  And when you’re done reading that … get back to enjoying your weekend !!!

SEO news blog post by @ 4:51 pm on January 6, 2012


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