The [Worst] SEO Advice That Kills Your Rankings
Let’s talk about the worst SEO advice.
You may have been deceived all these while?
Because the web is a virtual place, anybody can come up with an advice and throw it open for others to follow. How sad?
But in reality, these so-called SEOs have never seen success or ranked any keyword.
You’ve to be careful whose opinions you follow when you’re running a website or niche blog.
I’m confident that you’ve never read this kind of post before.
In fact, the idea I’m going to share with you might be unethical or strange.
But run with it, because that is the only way for you to actually write better content that Google loves.
So without wasting your precious time, here’s the worst SEO advice that have been hindering your rankings:
Worst SEO Advice – “Write Quality Content”
And I’m going to say it again. The worst SEO advice that has the ability to destroy your rankings and discourage you is when you start writing quality content. Let me ask you a simple question: what exactly is quality content?
If you’ve been online for a decent amount of time, then you’ll agree with me that ‘quality’ isn’t a new word.
In fact, it’s one of the commonest words used by freelance writers and bloggers. But in reality, I don’t think anyone of us truly understand what that term means.
Each time someone advises you to write quality content, tell me, what exactly does that person mean? What steps are you going to take to make it good?
According to the Encarta Dictionary, “Quality simply means ‘standard’.” In other words, the general standard or grade of something – in this case, a piece of content.
When you consider this, you will agree with me that what you esteem as a standard content might not be good to someone else.
That’s why you read a lot of comments from people who are satisfied and others who don’t even give a damn about you and your content. I’ve seen that most micro blogs in the weight loss niche e.g the www.soleelliptical.net does not provide much content, but it’s already ranking. So, is quality content truly the ultimate?
Quality content doesn’t exist
Don’t just close your browser (x) button and conclude that Michael is talking trash.
On the contrary, I want you to read through this page, and I’ll show you what you SHOULD be doing instead if you want to dominate Google top 10 in a gradual manner. No, it’s not going to happen overnight. Sorry!
Yes, quality content doesn’t exist. Since everyone has a definition for what “quality” content really means to them. You can share your view in the comment below.
I don’t know about you, but each time I see a case study post, I always fall in love with it because the perception I’ve is that it’s high quality, since the author experimented before writing on that topic.
Forget all that Google and Matt Cutts are talking about.
They don’t even care about quality content, even if we had to assume that it exist in the place. If you search in Google for some competitive keywords, you’ll discover that millions of pages have been ranked already.
Now, almost 47% of these search results has similar content. For instance, if you search for “top 10 ways to drive traffic to your website,” almost all of the content ranked in the first page has the same idea.
The authors (bloggers, writers, curators) behind those ranking knows that social media, SEO, commenting on blogs, guest blogging, forum posting, referral traffic and PPC are the commonest ways to drive traffic. Now think about it, do we call these content pages in Google search results “quality?”
Again, it depends on what you call quality. When you take time to read each of the articles, you’ll get the same idea, although from different angles. But it’s all the same.
The hard truth about writing and SEO
I know that this post is controversial. It’s my deliberate plan!
Because I don’t expect everyone to agree with me that quality content doesn’t exist.
But I want you to consider all the points in this post and decide whether “writing quality content” is still a good idea for ranking your pages.
Remember, you’ve not answered the question I asked you earlier.
Let me ask you again, what exactly is quality content? Leave a comment below and tell me your answer.
The hard truth about writing and SEO is that everything has already been said.
If you’re in the education niche for instance, then you’ve a lot of professors, professionals, lecturers and educationists who must have spent eons of time on research.
They’ve already documented their findings and if you search carefully, all of this content, rich and accurate have been indexed by Google and searchable.
As a blogger, what topic do you’ve in mind that has not been covered already?
Tell me, is it List building, email marketing, money making, link building, blog monetization, conversion optimization, brand marketing, guest blogging? You just name them.
I can assure you that other bloggers have written extensively on all these topics.
Should you give up on writing and blogging and go look for 9 – 5 job? Of course not! I can show you what to do to make your content a HOT CAKE for your target audience.
Good Advice – Write Relevant, Helpful Content
The only SEO advice that will stand the test of time in this Panda and Penguin age is when you consistently write “relevant and helpful content.”
I’m going to explain what each of these words stands for – in order to help you take charge of your content.
You see, ignorance is what makes content marketers buy every e-book that’s pitched to them – thinking that they’ll discover that magic wand for Google domination.
It’s also ignorance that makes people abandon their blogs for months, just because they don’t have any new idea to write about. Truth is, you can never find any new idea that’s not been written by someone, who is savvier than you are.
As a content marketer, your concern should be to produce relevant content and make it helpful – because in the eyes of Google, that’s the only CONTENT that sticks and withstands the heavy wind of algorithm tweaks.
What does “relevant content” mean?
I went back to my Dictionary and looked up the word “relevant.”
Here’s what I got. “It means “connected: having some sensible or logical connection with something else, such as a matter being discussed or investigated.”
Now let’s refer it to what we’re talking about here. Quality content makes sense and it relates with what your blog is about.
For instance, if your blog is about marketing, then the content you write must be connected to marketing at your target audience’s interest.
Sure, you can share your personal story and experience that’s totally unrelated to your niche, but you’ll have to create a connection within the content or at the conclusion.
In this blog, I share only ideas, tips and tools that are relevant to content marketing to help you get more targeted traffic and convert sales.
Now I’ve a question for you: “Are your blog posts relevant to your primary niche?” I mean, do you stay focus on why you registered that domain name in the first place?
Your recent blog posts, are they connected to the posts you published in 2012? Do readers still read, comment and share your content?
If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then it could be that your content is not relevant again.
Sure, you started out strong; on a right foot, but you’ve neglected “relevancy” all in the name of writing quality content – which does not exist. Or does it?
Write helpful content
I don’t have to grind this idea into powder before you can grasp the idea.
When you write content for your blog or as guest posts, does it help? Like seriously, can someone take your idea, apply it and get results?
When you share personal stories at your website, how helpful is it going to be for your readers and community? That’s what truly counts.
If you’ve to write on traffic generation, are you sure you’ve a practicable tip that people can use right away?
It doesn’t matter how many bloggers have written about it, if you can make yours helpful, people would ignore the generic posts and switch to yours. And Google is desperately looking for helpful content.
The reason for Panda, Penguin and *Lion* updates is because Google wants to build engagement.
If you think you’ve written quality content and that’s your bulletproof against Google penalty, you’ve to think again. Because quality content doesn’t exist, and Google knows this pretty well.
Truth is, if your content is helpful, you WILL not have to convince or cajole your readers to tweet and share it on facebook. They’re going to enjoy doing it.
The reason is simple: everyone is looking to establish authority online – with their readers.
The more helpful content a blogger/content marketer shares, the more trust he or she earns. It doesn’t matter whether you own the content or not. [tweet this]
Google spider follows people!
It’s true: Google spider follows people just like the ducklings trail the Duck. [tweet this]
How do you think Google spider rates each content to determine if it’s worthy of showing up in the top 10?
Search engine spider doesn’t have ears; nor does it have brains to think.
What it does is to monitor the activities of human beings (your readers and prospects) at your website and gauge how much value you bring to them.
Did you know that the amount of time someone spends at your blog is tracked by Google? After reading the first post, do people still click on to read more posts?
This is how your bounce rate is calculated and if it’s high, it means that you’re not engaging with your readers.
Don’t forget, Google is after your site’s engagement. Not after “quality content.”
Even if your website/blog is 2-month old and you’ve a strategy for keeping people busy, I can assure you that you’ll drive free organic traffic and rank higher than an aged domain name that has no engagement. This is my strategy for ranking my niche sites.
To wrap this section up, Google can’t think on its own. Your readers are the ones whom Google is following. Google follows people and make judgments on any piece of content.
If people enjoy reading your content, they’ll leave comments, stay a little longer, share your content, invite others to check it out, cite it when they write for their own blogs and engage in all manner of activities just to reciprocate the love of helpful and relevant content.
When this begins to happen, Google spider and other search engines will get the signal that you’ve a lot of value on your website.
And because that’s their #1 priority (engagement), you’ll start ranking in Google even for keywords you were not targeting. Sounds weird!
Forget quality content, it doesn’t exist
Yes, you’ve to stop looking for quality content because it doesn’t exist.
The only thing your readers and target audience is looking for is content that can help them overcome their daily challenges.
Content that is practicable, not some storylines that have never worked for you.
People are tired of generic articles. Why should they come to your website to read about “list building” when there are over 10 million other blogs that have stronger voices.
It seems that everyone is after quality content, but in reality, they don’t even know what it means.
So to get it across clearer, next time you come across the word quality content or get an advice of sorts, let your mind go to “relevant and helpful content.” [tweet this]
Those are the only 2 criteria for judging whether a piece of content is of standard or not.
When SEOs are talking about quality content, don’t join them – just focus on being relevant and helpful – your readers would appreciate this more and help evangelize your message.
When everything has been said…
Let’s assume that you want to write a post on a particular topic, but you’re worried because almost every question has been answered.
What’s the next step to take? It’s really simple if you follow my advice in this post.
Just look for loopholes and fill it. In other words, if writers and bloggers didn’t create videos and presentations, you can do that in order to gain an advantage over them.
If your niche is crowded, it’s a good thing. Allow other experts, savvy bloggers and internet marketers to do all the research for you.
Then pick their brains, write from a unique angle. Add a lot of tools, create video, do a presentation and share at slideshare.net.
You could even record a podcast or write a special report on it. I can assure you that not every of your competitors have time to record a podcast or write an e-book.
It may not be easy for you also, but if you can challenge yourself to do it, Google will appreciate your originality, and send you free organic traffic even when you’re not targeting any specific keyword.
[Write quality content] – Why is it the worst SEO advice?
To a large extent, what determines how high a particular content page ranks in Google is what happens outside of the website.
In other words, other people will influence your rankings.
Yes, on-page SEO is essential, but off-page (natural social signals and relevant links) trumps every other factor when you want to rank your content page higher & faster.
Your content may be good, contains zero spelling and grammatical errors, but if it’s not helpful and relevant to your target audience, it may not be shared or linked to naturally.
Do you now know why “quality content” is a bad SEO advice?
Okay, the reason is because you will never dominate the top 10 with good content, because in the eyes of Google, it may not relevant and helpful to your target audience. [tweet this]
I’m ready for your feedback
Inasmuch as I’ve shared what I believe is essential for ranking content pages (relevant and helpful) in this ever-changing SEO world, I need you to add your own opinion.
Tell me: All these while that you’ve been writing and publishing quality content, did you see a significant increase in organic traffic and engagement from readers?
I need you to change your approach today – if you want to get great results!
Comment rule: make it helpful and relevant. Forget about quality comment, it doesn’t exist. You can do it. Will ya?
Photo Credit: SEO with lens