May 19, 2011
Everyone starts their blog or website off with the best of intentions about updating content. But too often a promise of updating content (both past and new posts) once a day, becomes a couple of times a week or even just a couple of times a month. Or worse, updating content often comes at the detriment of quality.
Often the difficulty isn’t only that we all don’t have enough hours in a day, but rather maintaining quality of content at busy times or in the small hours of the morning. How can you create interesting content that is well written all the time? As you know, creating content is not just important for your readers to keep up with your personal escapades or attracting new readers with news/hot topics in your niche, but new content on a blog is one of the most important Google search ranking factors.
In the post-panda update SEO world, content not only has to be new, the grammar and spelling must be good, and facts should be sourced appropriately. More than ever, bloggers must pay attention to the finer details when writing content.
Here are a few pointers that get down to the nitty-gritty of creating content:
- Don’t use bullet points unnecessarily – this can be a hint to Google that you can’t be bothered with writing and if you can’t be bothered with real sentences what kind of blog do you run? Obviously this is very subjective, but it is worth bearing in mind that a little effort to expand upon your ideas can be good for your site’s trust with Google.
- Don’t copy from MS Word (or if you do copy first into Notepad in order to make sure the mumbo-jumbo formatting is eradicated) – If you copy from Word with traces of Word formatting then this suggests you may be outsourcing or mass producing content.
- Don’t ignore spelling and grammar checkers – how many news articles have you read that have had poor spelling and grammar? Exactly.
- Link out to trustworthy sites often – no one likes an overly opinionated person whose opinions have no reasonable substance or backing. Linking to newspapers or sites of your niche “experts” are indications that you know your stuff and your community and gives greater depth to your content.
Write with Google ‘Reading Level’ in mind
One of the most interesting recent developments concerning content creation is Google’s judging the “reading level” of webpages. If your readers expect an authoritative article on SEO they may search only for sites with an Intermediate or Advanced Reading Level. Whereas if you are looking to gauge some idea of how to link a laptop to a computer, then you might want a more basic explanation.
It would be normal to have a mix of reading levels for each of your posts if you write on a range of topics, but over time you may be able to see a pattern about the reading level of the posts that do particularly well.
Remember, good “basic” writing is no worse or better than good “Advanced” writing, it is up to you to decide what comes most naturally for you and what your readers would like to read.
Balancing Content Quality and Quantity
When writing new content, going into detail and making sure references stand up to scrutiny needn’t eat away at your writing efficiency. Copyblogger has some great tips on making the process of writing posts much faster. I particularly like the idea of uploading 5 or so photos in advance for 5 or so future posts. Sometimes the motivation of writing great content comes from having a visual cue and the details seem to simply fall into place.
Paying close attention to details instead of churning out new content every day without reviewing it means the difference between being an authoritative source, ranking highly and being just another blogger. But writing good content quickly and regularly doesn’t have to be stressful if you are up-to-date with the factors that Google uses to evaluate new content and if you do some planning in advance.