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  1. #1
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    What does "good content" mean.

    There is more to it then content that your users want to read. That is not necessarily good content. How does one write content that SE's perceive as authoretative? Google, on a contrary to the popular belief, is not as smart as a human. It has no feelings, thus it can't relate to the copy emotionally.
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    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    I say good content is content that makes PERFECT sense, looks and reads like an authority on the subject. Original with proper grammar and spelling as well.

    I see SEO and "good content" as completely different.... good content is needed for SEO and good content can be adjusted to perform better in search engines but that’s about it.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    There is more to it then content that your users want to read. That is not necessarily good content. How does one write content that SE's perceive as authoretative? Google, on a contrary to the popular belief, is not as smart as a human. It has no feelings, thus it can't relate to the copy emotionally.
    That's easy. Content that attracts links from other websites is authoritative. That's how they know what content is good or not. Links are votes for your content.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    I say good content is content that makes PERFECT sense, looks and reads like an authority on the subject. Original with proper grammar and spelling as well.

    I see SEO and "good content" as completely different.... good content is needed for SEO and good content can be adjusted to perform better in search engines but that’s about it.
    Aside from grammar, punctuation and all the other juzz that makes good grades in high school how does one write a good "SEO content" that's also a good "visitor content". What I'm after here is how do the SEs perceive content as an "authority content". Are there any rules that you folow similar to those that our teachers used to beat into our heads at school?

    The opening paragraph that establishes the .....
    the 3 paragraphs that explain .....
    and the conclusion paragraph that summarises ...


    I'm sure all of you still remember that. Is there such a thing with good "SEO" copy? Or is it simply about staffing keywords into the copy; a technique that's used to death all over the web.
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    That's easy. Content that attracts links from other websites is authoritative. That's how they know what content is good or not. Links are votes for your content.
    But links do not equal good content and something can look like an authority without having any back links.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    But links do not equal good content and something can look like an authority without having any back links.
    Over time, and in general, better content gets better links. Not all links are equal just like not all content is equal. The better content will get the quality links poor content cannot get and thus ranks better. That's the very concept Google is based on.

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    Content that attracts links from other websites is authoritative.
    When the writing attracts links, you've taken the extra step. The SEO explanation only sees the result, not the cause.

    What gets people to link? There are a couple of ways. One is to be entertaining. The other is to be an authority.

    When you're the "go to" source for a topic, you get links. When you copy and paste from Wikipedia or farm out copy to the lowest bidder on generic drivel (paraphrased from Wikipedia) and keyword stuffed you don't.

    The number one thing you can do is become an expert. Or even one of the few experts other experts go to. That gathers links from sites Google ranks as authoritative making your site rank rise.

    It's not enough to have an article others want to read. You have to be almost uniquely valuable. A link is like a recommendation. Attracting links through your content writing means you've moved one step above satisfaction to delight your reader.

    Guess what? Go to the Critique section of Sitepoint. Try to find even one request for a critique of content. The reason you'll have a tough time finding a content critique is why people are finding it difficult to write good content.

    They don't treat content like they do the most primitive and superficial mechanics of page layout. When 99% of the time is spent on the delivery mechanism, the point of the payload gets lost. And that's why there are questions about how to write good content.

    Most sites are launched like a rocket with a dummy payload of generic boilerplate. It's all launch vehicle without a target or purpose for launch.

    Want to know the deep, hidden secret of writing "good content?" Start treating it more like the delivery technology is being treated ...and asked about ...and improved ...and fussed over, and you'll have your answer. When you see the content -- without a layout -- up for critique the way you see the opposite, then you'll have your answer.
    Last edited by DCrux; Jan 5, 2008 at 19:59.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    That's easy. Content that attracts links from other websites is authoritative. That's how they know what content is good or not. Links are votes for your content.
    I'm sceptical to believe that. Most webmasters won't go out of their way to include your web site no matter how good your copy is and give you a boost in SEs at the same time. The theory is good, but does that really happen in practice on the kind of level that would allow the search engines to use it as a determining factor?

    I hope you understand my point. I bookmark sites all the time on my own machine. But I very saldom make the effort to put links to other resources on my sites. I'm pretty sure most webmasters don't put in the required effort to do that.
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  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    its not just webmasters its bloggers, forums, mailing lists, everything and anything that is indexed by search engines.

    I have a fairly large content site, none of the articles are indexed but when they were, I was constantly ranking for competitive keywords simply because of the content. No back links... Just a lot of well written content on the subject.

    Now with that said back links obviously play a major role but its not the only determining factor.
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    Over time, and in general, better content gets better links. Not all links are equal just like not all content is equal. The better content will get the quality links poor content cannot get and thus ranks better. That's the very concept Google is based on.
    hmmm....but that takes years. It's very hard to promote your site (and your content) when the only links you get are the ones you put the effort into and submit on your own.

    Also, I wouldn't necessarily say "The better content will get the quality links". I think that has partly to do with luck also, and who you know. I have very good and original content on my site, written exclusively for me yet I don't see anyone linking to it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    its not just webmasters its bloggers, forums, mailing lists, everything and anything that is indexed by search engines.
    I thought most bloggers use rel=nofollow directives. How is that supposed to give me a backlink. The only way that I see would be through a review or a mention in their regular posts. Then there is also a problem with finding them and tastefully introducing them to your service without looking like a spammer.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    There are a lot of ways to get backlinks... looking at your site the first thing that comes to mind is writing articles for another website that is an authority on the subject. Use your bio in that article to get a back link.

    Keep writing and SE will keep indexing, if your content is frequent and informational on the subject you will get traffic.

    Look at stymiees SEO post:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=182915

    For example the first thing I would do is make the “Title” of your article pages contain the title of the article instead of a generic one.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    Look at stymiees SEO post:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?t=182915

    For example the first thing I would do is make the “Title” of your article pages contain the title of the article instead of a generic one.
    I will most definately review the aformentioned link. If you look at the titles of the articles, they have mostly to do with child care and development. How do I link those titles with the concept of a "daycare listings and reviews". To a human it's obvious but that's not the case with the search engines, unless they have really become that sufisticated. Are you suggesting changing the titles of the articles to fall in line more with daycare reviews and listings (that's the theme of the entire site).
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    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    for example:
    http://www.godaycare.com/childcarearticles/5

    The title on that page is "Child development article and information. Daycare article"

    I would make the title more inline with the article... like "Toilet training Article - Blah Blah Blah"

    Just a small example of bunch of things you can do.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    I'm sceptical to believe that. Most webmasters won't go out of their way to include your web site no matter how good your copy is and give you a boost in SEs at the same time. The theory is good, but does that really happen in practice on the kind of level that would allow the search engines to use it as a determining factor?

    I hope you understand my point. I bookmark sites all the time on my own machine. But I very saldom make the effort to put links to other resources on my sites. I'm pretty sure most webmasters don't put in the required effort to do that.
    Believe me, it's how Google works and the others are following suit. For any kind of competitive search term it takes quality links to rank well. In general other webmasters will link to pages they consider to be helpful/informative/entertaining. It happens on a large scale every day. Bloggers, forums, news sites, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    hmmm....but that takes years.
    Sometimes. But it can be faster. It all depends on the niche and the content. Ranking well is not a quick process. It never is (except for very small niches and very long tail keywords). But the sites that consistently have good content eventually come out on top. If you're looking for quick and easy then you don't need SEO, you need a PPC campaign.

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    It's very hard to promote your site (and your content) when the only links you get are the ones you put the effort into and submit on your own.
    That's why links you can't easily get are weighted so heavily. If your content is that good you'll get those links (assuming you do some promotion to get the word out as well).

    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    Also, I wouldn't necessarily say "The better content will get the quality links". I think that has partly to do with luck also, and who you know. I have very good and original content on my site, written exclusively for me yet I don't see anyone linking to it.
    Overall the system works. Some sites may have bad luck, others good luck, with who finds your site and takes a liking to it. Some may do a better job of getting the word out about their site then others. Some webmasters think their content is much better then it actually is. In the end, most of the time, the better content will get the better links and will rank better as a result. Who you know doesn't matter unless you know people in a the same niche who rank better then you and are willing to link to your pages from those sites. That doesn't happen very often.

  16. #16
    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    Now with that said back links obviously play a major role but its not the only determining factor.
    That's true. But as the search term gets more competitive the more important links become in determining a page's success.

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    Great disection of my post, stymiee. The reason backlinks could be manipulated is because backlinks could be baught. If I had $1000 to spare I probably would pay to get links from other sites in my niche. That would not be difficult at all. Having said that, you can see how someone with deap pockets can come out on top. Sorry, I forgot we live in a capilast society. I'm not sure what I'm complaining about
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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    That's easy. Content that attracts links from other websites is authoritative. That's how they know what content is good or not. Links are votes for your content.
    I'd have to disagree with this somewhat. While content that attracts links is considered authoritative by the search engines, the best content is that which converts. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.

    Additionally, I bet a I can find virtual tons of authoritative papers on the web that have no links; some written by phd's in their field. In fact, I believe I have read some of them. While the content is most assuredly authoritative, they are so dry that they make you thirsty.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LauraDC View Post
    The reason backlinks could be manipulated is because backlinks could be baught. If I had $1000 to spare I probably would pay to get links from other sites in my niche. That would not be difficult at all. Having said that, you can see how someone with deap pockets can come out on top. Sorry, I forgot we live in a capilast society. I'm not sure what I'm complaining about
    Buying links is less effective then you might think. Buying links in your niche is hard to do and purchased links are being devalued by Google as all all other forms of manipulation. As of this moment they may help somewhat but they are hardly as useful as you may think they are.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    I'd have to disagree with this somewhat. While content that attracts links is considered authoritative by the search engines, the best content is that which converts. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about.
    I was speaking from an SEO point of view. Content that doesn't convert is useless. Just ask anyone in our ecommerce forums.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    Additionally, I bet a I can find virtual tons of authoritative papers on the web that have no links; some written by phd's in their field. In fact, I believe I have read some of them. While the content is most assuredly authoritative, they are so dry that they make you thirsty.
    Papers like that will find it hard to get links because not only are they not promoted but there is a limited audience to appreciate it. At the same time, the people who read that stuff usually know where to find it.

    We all should keep in mind that the system isn't perfect either. But it is a lot better then what we used to have. And it is getting better as they weed out spam and other forms of ranking manipulation. Until someone comes along with a better way to determine relevance of pages this is the system we have to deal with.

  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    We all should keep in mind that the system isn't perfect either. But it is a lot better then what we used to have. And it is getting better as they weed out spam and other forms of ranking manipulation. Until someone comes along with a better way to determine relevance of pages this is the system we have to deal with.
    I think its already here.... I see top rankings for a ton of content that has no links. I know you don't think Googles algorithm is based solely on back links, but it sure sounds like it. They track click rates for certain terms and pages and move pages up based on that. I see the so called “Filler Content” being weeded out all the time, this is the content made from programs that make little sense. We all know they have a way of determine duplicate content. The way I see it Google looks at content very thoroughly, but of course no one knows for sure.
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    He's No Good To Me Dead silver trophybronze trophy stymiee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    I think its already here.... I see top rankings for a ton of content that has no links.
    Show me some examples, please.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisRoss View Post
    They track click rates for certain terms and pages and move pages up based on that.
    If that's true, then getting to the top with a brand new site with little traffic has just become so much harder.

    I look at optimising my pages as a classic tree data structure. Here is mine

    site root: home-daycare
    keywords: daycare...

    ----------------------------------

    Node: home->find daycare
    keywords: find daycare...

    Node: home->find daycare->province
    keywords: find daycare privince...

    Node: home->find daycare->province->city
    keywords: find daycare privince city...

    ----------------------------------

    Node: home->rate daycare
    keywords: rate daycare...

    Node: home->rate daycare->province
    keywords: rate daycare privince...

    Node: home->rate daycare->province->city
    keywords: rate daycare privince city...
    ----------------------------------

    Node: home->child care articles
    keywords: daycare child care articles

    Node: home->child care articles->Dealing with separation anxiety
    keywords: daycare child care articles Dealing with separation anxiety
    ----------------------------------

    And so on... My question is this. Do I have to carry the "daycare" (keyword/theme) across the entire site? I should point out that "Dealing with separation anxiety" has little to do with "daycare", but more with "child development". Furthermore, my contact page would have "daycare contact us...." keywords if I were to follow the tree structure system of developing on-page SEO. On one hand I'm providing SE's with the ability to group the sections of the site into distinct topics. On the other hand, certain pages will not conply with the purely mathematica-derived paradigm. In broad terms, do I develop on page SEO on page-by-page basis or as a global entity that builds upon itself thus creating long-tail keyphrasis?
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  23. #23
    SitePoint Wizard ChrisRoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stymiee View Post
    Show me some examples, please.
    i knew that was next ... Ton was not a good choice in words, I guess I'll have to remember this thread and post back when I find something

    Trying to search for content with out a reason is impossible.
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  24. #24
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    This thread isn't about content writing, or "good writing." It's about SEO and belongs in that forum section.

    It should probably be retitled as "What does Google consider to be good content."

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCrux View Post
    This thread isn't about content writing, or "good writing." It's about SEO and belongs in that forum section.

    It should probably be retitled as "What does Google consider to be good content."
    No, "content writing" has big SEO implications. We've already established what good content writing means. I'm now trying to gain understanding on how to write "good content" that would create a cohesive unit with the rest of on-page SEO elements.
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