Site content is something that gets increasingly more important with every new Google’s update rolled out. The name of the game is relevance and your content needs to be deep and rich, rather than just fluff stuffed with keywords.
To get a better idea of how to adapt your content marketing strategy to the changes, you need to understand which mechanisms Google uses to determine relevance and quality and how each of them affects your site.
Adapting to Panda
Avoiding low-quality and duplicate content
Created in order to tackle the increasing problem of Content Farms (these are sites that churn out tons of low quality content in order to rank well in search results), Panda uses multiple factors to identify your site’s quality. And two of them believed to be especially important are:
- Content duplicates
- Very short content pieces
This means there are 2 main things to focus on to make sure your content stays Panda-friendly.
1. Avoid duplicate content within your site and stay away from low-quality scraped content:
- Focus on producing your own, high-quality unique and fresh content
- Make sure all of your pages have unique titles and meta descriptions (rewrite any duplicates you find), and use robots.txt file to hide from Google’s eyes any types of duplicate pages (such as your www and non-www page variants, paginated pages and so on)
2. Make sure your website includes enough textual content
- Keep the articles you create long and detailed, intended to be valuable for the readers.
- Make sure even the interaction-aimed pages are not left content-less.
- Create rich media content (like videos, images, etc.), and make sure your non-textual content is formatted in a way search engines can see it.
Avoid Keyword Stuffing
One of the issues Penguin targets regarding your site’s content is keyword stuffing. Thus, creating Penguin-friendly site content actually means to:
3. Avoid keyword stuffing issues and stick to reasonable keyword density
- Avoid putting a mere list of keywords in the page title (instead of making it descriptive or using your brand name.)
- Avoid jamming keywords into the Meta Description instead of making it a call-to-action.
- Avoid over optimizing H1. Fit keywords into these tags if it makes sense, but don’t waste time trying to get them into every single page or especially every single subtitle.
- Avoid alone-standing keywords in the alt tags of images. Use a descriptive alt tag or none at all.
Adapting to Hummingbird
Adjusting to conversational search + striving for theme relevancy
The first challenge Google’s Hummingbird update deals with is interpreting conversational phrases people use to search the Web today. Interpreting these longer phrases, Google can no longer rely on keywords only and provide different results for each of them. But rather bring numerous conversational requests to a shorter “general term”, based on the type of searchers’ intent:
- Informational (user wants general information)
- Navigational (user wants to find a certain site on the Web)
- Transactional (user intends to run a certain transaction)
And the key option for you here is to:
4. Make sure your content covers each of the 3 types (informational, navigational and transactional)
- Create different types of content for different query types
- Try determining all conversational phrases people are likely to use when searching for your services and try using them when possible.
- For all the rest of conversational terms, use their shorter equivalents.
Another step towards relevant search results is determining what a page is about using not only individual keywords, but their synonyms and co-occurring terms.
Practically this means that Google shows search results not only for the exact phrase the user typed in, but for other theme-related terms.
To make your content look really theme-relevant, the best idea for your site is:
5. Expand your keyword research, focusing on synonyms and co-occurring terms to diversify your content.
- To see which search terms Google considers synonymous, pay attention to related keywords, acronyms or spelling variants of your keywords highlighted in search results.