Blog Writing 101: How To Satisfy Readers And Deliver Top 10 Google Rankings

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My name is Ana Hoffman, and if I learned anything after many years of building an online empire, it’s this: the online business industry is a scary place. A place where many a mighty business owner has fallen.

Including me.

That’s right, I’ve had some online business flops in the past, until one day I realized that my business was only as good as the number of eyes that saw it on a daily basis.

That’s why I started the Traffic Generation Cafe blog, focusing on various free traffic generation methods like search engine traffic, social media traffic, networking, as well as how to convert that traffic into subscribers and buyers.

In six quick months, my blog grew to be an authority on traffic generation. My blog’s traffic (I was ranked under 15K on Alexa), reader engagement, and sales showed me that I was on the right track.

This might all seem foreign to you.

Stick with me and it will soon become second nature.

Now let’s get down to business.

Content is the main driving force behind any blog’s success.

That’s it? That’s the premise for my post?

You bet.

And if all of us already know that and are putting it into practice back on your blogs, then why are so many blogs still failing? Why are so many blogs not generating even measly amounts of traffic? Why are you here looking for answers or pearls of wisdom to take back to your business?

Your content is the single most important driving force that will determine whether your readers stay, share, and convert into buyers or subscribers, period.

But that’s not the only thing that matters.

Your readers are the ones to determine if your content is up to par, but the search engines, Google in particular, are the ones to decide if your content is good enough to bring you those readers to begin with.

So you see, our goal as bloggers should clearly be to always serve two masters: Google and our readers.

I can already hear the objections coming in.

Isn’t it an oxymoron, you say? Writing personable content that attracts human interest, brings about discussions, connects with the reader on a deep personal level and keyword-stuffed metric-based content that would rank highly on Google?

I agree this used to be the case.

However, in the new post-Panda world Google tells us louder and more clear than ever: it wants to serve its searchers the kind of content the searchers want to read – unique, beneficial, and productive.

When Google sends you organic search engine traffic, it wants to make sure that the search engine visitors are happy with what they find on your blog and don’t come back to Google searching for the same query.

Thus, you do your job of delivering superb content right and satisfy the searchers looking for answers, and Google will happily send you even more traffic.

Turns out that serving two masters in this particular case goes hand in hand. Killing two birds with one stone – how much more efficient can it get?

So let’s take a look at what specifically we, the bloggers, need to pay attention to when writing that new killer post of ours.

I am basing my conclusions on this SEOmoz report on search engine ranking factors. If it isn’t the holy grail of search engine rankings and how to draw the most traffic from it, then it’s as close as we can ever get to it.

Uniqueness Of Content

This might’ve not been as strong of a factor in pre-Panda times. (If you need more information on what on earth I refer to as “Panda Update“, here’s the most coherent resource on the subject: Finding more high-quality sites in search – and it’d better be since it comes from the official Google blog).

According to the above-mentioned SEOmoz report, the collective opinion of 132 SEO experts polled assign the uniqueness of content across the whole site 89 points out of 100.

Unique content was the most original marketing tool back in the 1990s and it’s, once again, taking its well-deserved place as one of the most significant positive indicators of the quality of the entire site.

While many bloggers continued to stand firm on the principle of consistently producing unique content, many took the easier way of jumping on the bandwagon of flavor-of-the-month promotion techniques, thus diluting the core principle that goes to the heart of blogging “Thou shall not produce the kind of content thou wouldn’t want to read yourself“.

What would one refer to as “unique content“? What might be the characteristics both your readers and the search engines are looking to find on your site?

  • In the broadest terms, it’s the kind of content not found on the multitude of other sites. If I see another post on “15 Ways to Get Facebook Fans” or “How to Guest Post“, I am going to scream.
  • I am not saying you have to invent something new every time you write a post, but a new angle on the old tired topic is in order at the very least.
  • Onsite Duplicate Content: When Google crawls your site and sees that two out of three pages are duplicates of the first one, they will drop those two pages from rankings and will assume your site has a lot less unique content to offer than it actually does. Read Duplicate Content Phantom: Don’t Be Duped, Be Informed for more information and fix whatever issues you might have on your blog.
  • Advertising: Yes, the amount of advertising on your site does matter – both to Google and your readers. The larger your Adsense and other advertisement blocks are, the less space you devote to your content = the less unique content you’ll appear to have. That’s precisely why some sites suffered in Panda update – not because they didn’t have unique content, but because their content to advertising ratio was too low.

Freshness Of Content

Freshness of content on the site got 75 points out of 100 – the second most significant signal among non-keyword related on-page factors.

This signal also happens to have a direct affect on how much traffic your website gets.

Want to see your blog traffic double? Double the number of your posts. (Disclosure: don’t hold me to the exact number.)

That’s exactly what I did at my Traffic Generation Cafe blog back in October and I saw for myself what wonders it did for my traffic generation. I, since then, decided to take a little summer break and cut down to posting only three – four times a week and watched my traffic take a hit.

It makes sense, right?

The more fresh posts you have, the more reason your readers will have to come back on a regular, even daily basis - provided that you are meeting the threshold of unique content on your site.

So if you are currently posting two times per week, try to post at least four times; if you are posting four times, try to publish everyday.

It might sound like a lot, but remember: your brain is a muscle and, with due practice, it’ll be spitting out the needed amount of posts in no time.

Length Of Content

Aha – here comes a surprising factor.

It appears that the majority of the 132 SEO experts think that the longer your posts are, the better chance they have to rank higher, thus bringing you more search engine traffic.

Length of content on the page got 57 out of 100.

Once again, it makes perfect sense. The longer the post is, the more potential value it will deliver to the readers.

So what to do if your primary methods of communication with your readers include videos, audios, cartoons, infographs, etc.?

Try to beef it up by including scripts, captions, and explanations.

And no, it’s not a concession to Google and other search engines – you’ll be providing a valuable alternative to those readers who still prefer to… well, read. I know, I am one of them, and I always appreciate it when a video is followed by a script.

Marketing Takeaway

I hate cliches, and I am sure I am not alone on this one, but in this particular case I have to resort to the old and true “Content is (still) king” motto.

Yes, we all know it, but now we also have reasons to actually do it.

And in the end, wouldn’t it be a win-win situation for everybody?

Stay tuned for my future posts where we will be discussing why your content is the cornerstone of social media sharing and link building, and how to improve it to get more of both.

Click here to read part two of this series.

Ana Hoffman

About Ana Hoffman

Traffic, traffic, traffic... Can't do without it, but don't know how to get it?
Ana does, and she freely shares her web traffic advice that doesn't suck on her Traffic Generation Cafe blog. And don't forget to pick up Ana's 7 Steps to Complete Search Engine Domination free SEO report while you are at it - stop hoping for more search engine traffic and go get it!

Read more from Ana Hoffman »

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61 Comments

  • I have wrote about this subject a couple of times, and I try to stress to people that there is no wrong or right really to do things. You just have to give t your all and make things happen.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

    • Your readers are the ones who will in the end let you know whether you are doing it right or wrong – you’ll have a bustling blog or hear crickets.

  • It isn’t quite easy to get some traffic now. True hard is a much needed thing. Nice tips.

  • Hi, Ana,
    Thank you for this great post. Your write up actually came when I just started my blog. It further cement what I have learned from Yaro Profit Blog Blueprint. You guys here in Entrepreneurs Journey blog are wonderfully made. Keep it up!
    Alphonsus

  • Thanks Ana – that was interesting to read – I would be exploring your blog in detail. I would like to ask you about the ideas on
    1. How to ensure that the readers return to blog? With so much happening in the world of internet, how can we maintain readers’ interest on a continuous basis?
    2. Also, could you throw some light on Alexa ranking and some of your particular strategy for getting a better ranking at Alexa? Do you consider that basic technique for google and Alexa search recognition are same?

    regards

    Malik Mirza
    http://wisdomfrombooks.com

    • Great questions, Malik.

      1. The only true way to ensure your readers come back is to make sure your content is truly one of a kind.

      Whether it’s your personality, the way you put a spin on things, the kind of topics you talk about – it’s got to be something grabbing, memorable, and beneficial.

      2. Getting ranked on Google (focusing on high search engine ranking optimization – I actually just finished working on some SEO tips http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/high-search-engine-ranking-optimization/) and lowering your Alexa ranking (focusing on your traffic – wherever it comes from) are two entirely different subjects and approaches.

      You can read more about what I did to start generating tons of traffic to my brand new blog in this post: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/how-to-build-popular-blog/

      Hope this helps and look forward to seeing you on my blog!

      • Many thanks Ana – i will be reviewing your suggestions and your website in detail so get a proper idea about it. Initially, I was writing just out of my passion to write. When some one said: Why don’t you moentize your blog properly? I started looking for ways to attract taffic. Being a professional accountant writing on ideas from self-help books, I consider that a little tilt in my approach would result in traffic spike. If you have time, please visit my blog http://www.wisdomfrombooks.com

        best regards

        malik mirza

    • Malek,
      Alexa is a great starter, but it is just one more statistic. It helps you see how your site ranks, but I think the real bottom line is how many return customers you get from your web site.

  • Nice article Anna

    I am guilty of not posting enough articles. I currently have another business that is very demanding. When I do post, my stats seem to jump pretty good. One post jumped 5000 pageviews in a month. I know I can generate a following, I just have to dedicate more time into writing.

    I tend to disagree with “lengthy articles” Ezine Articles mentioned in several of their post to keep it between 750 to 1500 words because people lose interest.

    There is a process to follow-how to write a title, body, and conclusion. Can you possibly write in detail how to do this. I think that’s more important then how long the article is. In other words; it’s quality over quantity. This way we can write more articles in a shorter time, and more often.

    I totally agree with the video part. I want to make video’s or podcasts on each post so my readers will get more of a personal touch. They will have a choice of reading, listening, or watching. Besides, this will help to get past my phobia of speaking in front of a camera. :)

    Thanks Ana

    • I don’t believe Ezine Articles should be an authority on the subject, Tony, since they are nothing but a duplicate content aggregator that people use for link building, not for learning. This fact was also reflected by Google when they cut down on most of their rankings.

      You are right: quantity doesn’t always indicate quality, but on quality blogs like Yaro’s and mine, it does. Most of our posts are over 1000 words long and our readers love it.

      So I suppose, to each his own. What works for one blog, might not work for another.

      • This is because you are an amazing writer Ana! I hate it when I get to one of your articles as they are so interesting I just have to read it all !!!! Totally your fault!

        Some people just do not have that skill, keeping a reader engaged for that long..

  • Since I first discovered your words of wisdom a few months ago, I’m a regular follower of your incite and your encouraging words.

    I’ll continue to follow what you have to share to the rest of us

    Thank you,
    Mark Garcia

  • You really hit the nail right on the spot Ana. Some Bloggers don’t seem to understand the important of content, not just content but quality, fresh and the one that is written for people. If you focus on search engine, we might lose our responsive readership. The best approach is to target the right keyword and balance it up with those who are going to read it.

    I also believe in writing longer posts. Especially now the Google panda struck some mediocre sites. Even in the natural sense, the best way to fully explain a concept is to write a longer post. Although there is nothing wrong with shorter posts, but that should be for quick snaps.

    The real idea is in longer post that is relevant, concise and full of helpful materials to take home. We all desire success online especially as people who started their own blogs.

    My resolution is this: I will never compromise quality content for anything, no matter how slow the 5 figures takes to come, I’m sure with perseverance, I will make it to the top.

    You have made my day Ana and I enjoy every bit of this post. God bless you.

    • Always love your attitude, Michael – half of the battle right there!

      There’s absolutely no reason why quality content can’t be written for both search engines and readers; after all, if it’s not written well, then even the search engine traffic will turn around and leave, right?

  • [...] Blog Writing 101: How To Satisfy Readers And Deliver Top 10 Google Rankings from Entrepreneurs-Journey.com by Yaro Starak [...]

  • While Panda created much anxiety, it really worked for me. I was ready to take my marketing offline when Panda hit, and my traffic jumped up 50 percent on both of my blogs. I was happy to see that content writing paid off.

    • That was the great upside for most of us, producing quality content on a regular basis. Great to be on the receiving end in this case, huh?

  • Very nicely said Anna! Since the panda update, I have increased my posting frequency to once every 4 days and I have seen traffic almost triple for most of my sites so this definitely works.. I used to post occasionally or whenever I felt like it, which was probably once every 2 weeks.

    • I’ve done testing on that in the past, Richard, and my findings were that the posting frequency definitely has a direct effect on traffic.

  • interesting post – logically it makes sense but practical i have seen anomalies. i wonder whether the results we see today are temporary in nature. i have a dozen plus niche sites, some of which have recently been affected, but based on the factors above those are the very sites i would have expected to float rather than sink. very strange.

    • If you indeed produce quality original content for all of your niche sites, Sunil, plus be careful about your link building and paid advertisement, then your sites should’ve been fine.

      Of course, we always need to remember that Google algorithm consists of over 200 ranking factors, of which content is one of the bigger slices, but far not the only one.

  • Great article! In my humbled opinion, getting traffic from Google is like dealing with a schizophrenic. People use to know how to get traffic from Google. Now it’s all become a crap shoot. You can target phrases all day long and find that ten unrelevant keyword phrases will outrank your targeted phrase. I’ve never seen anything like this scrambled egg breakfast they are serving to searchers. I have tons of original content and every article is well over 500 words and the big G stripped 40% of my traffic from me during the Panda update. Pooey!

    • One thing I have learned the hard way is not to rely on google. The way I design my marketing is assuming that google won’t bring up my site for any searches. So, for example, I use many social media sites. For that matter, I tend to use offline marketing more and more.

    • In the end, I can’t agree more, Jordy.

      That’s why I always tell my readers to make sure to focus on other traffic sources, like referral traffic and direct traffic, and not search engine traffic alone.

      Some of my readers are getting as much as 90% of their traffic from Google, and my question to them was: what would happen to your business with the next Google tweak?

      You can check out this post for more on that: http://www.trafficgenerationcafe.com/website-traffic-source-search-engine-referral/

  • Hi Ana,
    “15 Ways to Get Facebook Fans” or “How to Guest Post“, I am going to scream. I am right there with you, these posts are found in all niches though.

    It seems like many bloggers follow some kind of generic blueprint for writing blog posts. I prefer blogs that are unique and original in their style and content. Blogs that are willing to step outside of the box with their content.

    • Somehow, blogging has turned into a big faceless machine churning out the same content again and again, Justin.

      The worst thing is that it’s becoming an acceptable norm for many blogs, even some of the big boys.

      Good thing blogs like Yaro’s are still around…

      • Google is doing everyone a favor. Don’t you hate searching for something and coming up with a lot of bad sites, not related at all? It’s horrible! Go google! With a world of content needed these days it’s a great job actually. Maybe we can change the American Economy and supply jobs to writers somehow. First, teach people how to be great writers, a quick blogging course, lol, and there you have it. More jobs! LOL

  • Great article to affirm what I have known and strive to uphold in my own blogging endeavors.

  • Panda dance is changed the way we are blogging..
    at least my blogging..
    good quality content are everything..

    • The Panda update was a good thing. I actually saw my rankings improve as soon as the Google Update took place.

      There was a lot of junk in Google search results. In response to Ana’s article, SEO seems to be a good long term strategy, but pay per click marketing seems to be the fastest way to get up and going.

      I’m not a pro or anything (I’m only 3 months in the game) but I learned a lot and PPC seems to be the sure thing while SEO leaves you at the mercy of search engines and there updates. Just my 2 cents.

  • Hi Ana, I hope to see more content from you here. I love this article and how you admit the downside of online businesses. Your a proof that one can still crawl to the top no matter how hard you fall. Thanks! :)

  • As always, a great read Ana. I still don’t understand why many people neglect the power of the “masters”… Combined, and with some effort dedicated to it, a website can reap the benefits of writing top notch articles while giving it the necessary vitamins to outrank less quality posts that often times are on the first pages of search engines. Fortunately, Google has been “filtering” their results to deliver only quality results and for those that focus their efforts on providing value, then (hopefully) problem solved :)

    • All the more reason to write well, Francisco – now both the search engines and certainly our readers appreciate it.

  • [...] use social media to uncover the secret sauce your latest masterpiece-in-progress might be lacking. Blog Writing 101: How To Satisfy Readers And Deliver Top 10 Google Rankings – How Social Networking Fits in the B2B Search Marketer’s Toolbox – While there is no [...]

  • I love the way you write Ana! The way entrepreneurs-journey has evolved is great, with quality posts from hard-hitting bloggers such as yourself really raising the bar. Thank you for your insight, and more so for sharing!

  • I don’t think that there are any clear cut rules. I would search around and look at some blogs on blogger.com and wordpress.com and then base it on the ones you like and don’t like, it’s your content, you can make the rules any way you want.

  • I completely agree with you Ana that fresh, unique and sensible content is the real thing which search engines as well as readers are looking for.

  • You have given me a lot to think about here. I agree that content is the most important aspect of a website. I have also been researching new ways to drive traffic but I think I need to spend some time on your site and see what you have going on.

  • [...] Blog Writing 101: How to Satisfy Readers and Deliver Top 10 Google Rankings  – Getting the balance right between readers and search engines is certainly no easy task. It takes a lot of practice and thought, but Entrepreneurs Journey seems to have done a great job here. [...]

  • This was both useful and encouragement article. Sometimes when I am tired or busy I am tempted to make “copy-paste” posts in order just to fill blog but it seems it is better to make less posts but unique.

    Waiting for more articles from you.

  • The only thing here that surprised me was that length of post mattered. It makes sense in a way. I often see articles in directories like EZA that really have about 1 sentence worth of content with a lot of fluff. I wonder if Google can separate good content from fluffed up content. If that’s what they want, that is what we will have to do, I guess!

  • Thanks Anna,
    I recently started a business and politics blog and traffic is what it’s all about at the moment.
    However, based on what you’ve written I obviously need to start writing posts much more frequently.
    Many thanks again,
    Karl

  • Agree here. Whenever we post original and insightful content with the right keyword density, that particular post of ours will rank high in SERP for the targeted keyword.

  • Hi Ana
    I’ve only ever written unique content on my website that provided good content for my visitors. I’m getting traffic now, even though Google still does not give my site a PR.
    Funny that – Google is always visiting my site to do translations!
    I am going to start a blog now to promote my site – 2 way discussion seems to be the way to go. Blog posting should be a lot easier with WordPress than on my static site.

    German Shepherd Dogs- Don’t You Just Love Them!

  • [...] Check out the previous post here: Blog Writing 101: How To Satisfy Readers And Deliver Top 10 Google Rankings [...]

  • Great Post. Just about the content length, some visitors like simple and short post
    So I guess the longer your post is, the greater the content must be?

  • Smart post. I work as a blogger and have forever! It seems like forever anyway! I love my job. There have been times I’ve been tempted to throw the computer out of the window because I was upset with google, but in fact, it wasn’t my writing they were worried about, it was the links that I was building as link value decreased, and content came to once again be “king” and “queen”, I now know better what to do. Thanks, smart post for sure!

  • Great Post Anna, Am really enjoying your Articles.

  • Hi Ana! that’s a great article indeed! you wrote that posting frequency does matter but is there an optimum from seo point of view?
    thanks in advance

  • I didn’t read it all but I made the mistake whilst doing SEO to just get links. I am developing another site and structure of your site is important but good content is king. Don’t keyword stuff, write things that people want to read and eventually people will want to come to your site and google will like it too

  • Content is king. If you build it, they will come, but you have to give them a reason to come..

  • John

    Two points:

    1. I am perpexled about the need (near obsession) for maximising the amount of readership to a blog? I have a blog and traffic is not in the top 20 objectives of my blog, I want the right people there discussing my area of expertise with them, not a bunch cyber fans there with no purpose. The reason I have a blog is exactly that, to get away from the mess FB & Twitter have become.
    Also, one does generate revenue from a blog (I am not buying anything from you for example) as one does from a website (if it is a business one), or is the blog traffic creation purely to redirect to the website?

    2. Your statement: “Advertising: Yes, the amount of advertising on your site does matter – both to Google and your readers. The larger your Adsense and other advertisement blocks are, the less space you devote to your content = the less unique content you’ll appear to have. That’s precisely why some sites suffered in Panda update – not because they didn’t have unique content, but because their content to advertising ratio was too low.”

    This is hard for me to agree with. (a) I have a website with 99.9% original content (hundred of pages) and zero advertising of any kind, yet Panda droped me from a PR6 to a PR5 overnight for no reason. (b) why would Google reward sites that refuse Adsence and penalise those with it, since Google operates on advertising revenu …it’s like they are thanking me for denying them revenu…somehow I find that hard to believe.

    Cheers,
    John

  • Gamin

    I agree that unique content is very important. However, in this age when everything has been talked about, it can be a little difficult for some to whip up original content. A professor once told us that the ideas floating around today could not really be considered 100% original since most of them are rehashed and improved ideas of other people. If this is the case, then how do we guarantee 100% unique content for our sites?

  • I started my business a few months back and since then i have been aggressively writing articles on my website as well as article directories. The post was educating for noobs like me. Thanks, Anindo

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