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Google says - ask yourself these questions

After the recent panda update, engineers at google released a blog post with some guidance on what counts as high quality content.


When it comes to SEO, the  best mantra is to optimize website for a better user experience.


In that post, google engineer Amit Singal posted some questions that we must ask ourselves while developing web sites.

Let us analyze these questions and try to figure out what we can do to meet those specifications:



  • Question: "Would you trust the information presented in this article?"
  • Some of the factors that influence the "trust" factor:
    Site design a good website design with neat design and good color combination should be used. A website with images certainly seems more trustable  than a plain HTML website using flashy colors. Brand name This certainly is important. People usually tend to click more on site names they already know about. Wikipedia, About.com, YouTube are some examples which are recognized more as compared to other websites.
    • Question: "Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?"
      Once we read an article we tend to ask ourselves weather we should trust it or not.
      An article should contain information about the author, his qualifications and experience. It improves the article's credibility.

      So make it a point to mention author details along with the content, e author with verifiable and believable credibility.


    • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?

      Google has repeated it many times that sites with duplicate and scraped content will be penalized. Sure, you can take risk and go ahead about build sites using bulk PLR content. But it

      If you have any pages on your website which repeat the same content, delete the extra copies. It is pretty evident that duplicate content, even on the same domain is going to get negative impact on your website


    • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
      Not all websites are trust-able enough to give credit card information. Especially if your website is new you can do following to encourage people to use credit card on your website

      Use Logos of payment gateway: If your payment gateway allows you must put the logo on the payment page. People who buy online usually identify the popular payment processors like paypal, google checkout etc.

      You can even use logos of Visa, mastercard etc if you accept them.

      SSL Certificate: Many regular online buyers know about SSL and would trust a website if they see SSL certificate. Even some web browsers warn people if the SSL certificate is not valid on a website.

      Highlight customer care section in details: When people buy stuff online they would like to know where the company is physically located. They also like to know how can they contact the customer care section just in case if there is any trouble in the payment process. A live chat feature or Toll Free number highlighted somewhere near navigation menu is a good sign of credibility.


    • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
      This is very evident, as human beings we can make mistakes while writing. But it is a lot more easier to spot mistakes. Spelling errors creates a bad impression.

      What you can do
      - Use spell checkers- there are many spell checkers available as software in Microsoft word and elsewhere. It is wise to use them as they will catch the mistakes fast for you

      - Calculate flesch reading score - Flesch reading score is a tool that measures text's readability. If the text is more readable people will spend more time reading it.



    • "Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?"
      One of the common mistake by web designers and content writers is that they repeat the keywords everywhere in the website.

      It is easy for Google's algorithm to find pages that repeat same set of keywords. It is hence advisable to maintain a good keyword ratio.




    • "Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?"
      This topic is discussed in our previous post.   You should not just repeat the post.




    • "Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?"

      Some simple and easy ways to add value:
       -- Add relevant external links Link to related sources of information. It will help visitors to find more information on the subject.
      --- Add images, a single picture is equal to thousand words.




    • "How much quality control is done on content?"
      Quality control refers to reduce redundancies, repetition, and mistakes.



    • "Does the article describe both sides of a story?"Generally, good journalism provides information on both sides of the story and let the readers decide on what they think about an issue.

      It is advisable to present facts rather than trying to make conclusions in your writing.




    • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
      Certainly, here Google engineer is pointing out to article spinners and re-written articles that don't add any value to website.



    • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?Good editing is MUST for good readability.




    • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?If you are running a health related website, you must back up claims through either mentioning the writer's qualifications. Another good way is by quoting authoritative external sources.




    • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
      This question translates to the fact that long articles which contain more information and cover all aspects of the topic will get better value.

      So you must write more detailed and informational content that covers everything!



    • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
      Some things we can do to make articles more interesting-

      - share facts-  facts and figures are always more interesting in general. If you are writing about increasing facebook popularity, then it would be nice to share how many users of facebook has increased over past.

      Show images Use images that are relevant to the topic.




    • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend? - This usually happens when a website contains really valuable information. People share information when they find it worthy enough.




    • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
       Some websites that are full of advertisements look cluttered and sometimes its even hard to differentiate between navigation links and ads.

      People find it obtrusive and leave the page without clicking around too much.



    • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
      If an article is published in a printed media then the writer and editor would check thoroughly for any mistakes about errors.




    • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics? Articles that are not helpful and do not explain the specific contents are not going to get higher ranking in search engines.



    • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail? 
      To make pages interesting and more usable you must do some sort of thinking and planning on how to design the page. You should plan properly on how and where to put related links on the website.



    • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
      People complain when they are not able to find information easily and when they are greeted with a cluttered interface. So a clean interface should be liked by all.




    How to increase readability of your website content

    Flesch reading score is a method of calculating readability of any given text.

    The basic principles of good reading is>

    1. Using Short sentences is good. 
    2. It is advisable to limit the number of words in each sentences to upto 14 words.
    3. Using active voice rather than passive 
    4. Using simple words 


    A high score means that the text is not easy to read. 

    
206.835 - 1.015 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total words}}{\mbox{total sentences}} \right ) - 84.6 \left ( \frac{\mbox{total syllables}}{\mbox{total words}} \right )
[7]
    Scores can be interpreted as shown in the table below.
    ScoreNotes
    90.0–100.0easily understood by an average 11-year-old student
    60.0–70.0easily understood by 13- to 15-year-old students
    0.0–30.0best understood by university graduates


    Tools to measure readibility:

    • Microsoft word has inbuilt readability score checker
    • Flesh - readability calculator - free open source cross platform 



    How to come up with a unique Domain name

    The problem while thinking of a domain name is weather the domain would be available or not. Most of the English letter words in the dictionary are already been registered on the internet.

    So the only option you are left with is to either register domain name with a combination of keywords or come up with a unique word in itself which has no meaning and hence could be called "abstract" domain name.

    Benefits of abstract meaning domain name:

    • Unique
      An abstract name is unique. This can help you in many ways like creating a differentiation amongst your competitors.
    • Short in size
      Most of the short English words have already been registered. The only option that is left with people who don't want to buy them at a premium price is to think of abstract names which are short so that people can easily type them in the search bar without mistakes./
    • Easy to remember
      If you find a name which is short and rhymes easily. Then it will be easy for your audience to remember the name. It will help in getting some direct traffic.
    • Easy to brandAn abstract name could mean anything and can evolve it's own meaning. For example, Orkut was a abstract name for India when the social networking site was launched.

      Soon the website became popular and a key term for social networking.
    Here are two tips to find abstract names

    • Combine two words or Mix them up. It would be a good idea to include more vowels, that will help you to come up with domain names that are easy to pronounce.
    • "CAPTCHA": usually captcha words that you have to see on many sites these days do not have a meaning associated.

      It is a good way to find random words for your domain name.

    Keeping the eye on current events while blogging

    On the blogosphere everyone will link to you if you are the first one to hit the news. It can not only bring substantial amount of traffic but many free incoming links too.


    Be the first one to write the news
    So it's a good idea to stay updated from the news sources, through RSS feeds and news websites. The sooner you write about an event, more the chances of traffic and incoming links.



    Subscribe to RSS feeds of news sources
    For being the first one to tell the world about the event, you should be able to know first about it.
    • RSS Feeds The quickest way to know about a news is through RSS feeds, for instance if you have a technology blog you should sign-up with RSS feeds of Google/Adobe/Microsoft's RSS feeds so whenever there is a new announcement you can be aware about it and report it on your website.
    • Google Alerts Google alerts will alert you about a keyword in the email or your RSS feed whenever there is new content.If you write about Microsoft, you can create alerts like Microsoft, Windows, Bill gates. This will send you any new information that is posted on the internet.
    • Google Trends Google trends tells you the upcoming popular searches 

    Unique content – An introduction

    Here are a few points which elucidate, unique content
    • Unique content is simply put- "The Content, that is not copied as it is from elsewhere."

      There are many websites which copy content from other free sources. For example from Wikipedia. Search engines are smart enough to identify that the content is copied.

      Search engines are also managed by humans to some extent, so if they think that a site has duplicate content it may lose SEO score.
    • Quoting is all fine-
      "It is always fine to take some part of information as it is from the original source. As a Quote!

      As long as you add-in your own original thoughts and words in it, you will continue to be a good in front of Google!

    • The underlying principle
      The underlying principle behind unique content is that you should not only have copied content on your website!The search engine spider can tolerate some sentences that are ALSO available on other sites. But if the spider does not find anything "original" or unique to your site. It won't like your site much then!
    More info on Content
    • What is unique content?
    • Importance of unique content
    • What are the types of unique content, you can create?
    • Why is content most important?
    • Can you use automated content generators to get traffic?
    • You have good content but not getting enough traffic?