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Google is constantly tweaking its ranking factors to ensure it shows only the best results to searchers.
Because only the most relevant, authoritative, and highest quality content ranks at the top of the SERPs. Right?
Sometimes low-value webpages that offer little value to searchers still manage to rank well.
This article will highlight five of the most common types of content that, sadly, I come across too often in the organic search results.1. Toxic Sites That Drive Traffic & Monetize It Through Banners
This page ranks well for such keywords as “seo techniques” and “seo tactics”.
The big problem with this page is that its major goal is to drive and monetize traffic through the swarm of banners placed everywhere on this website.
How does a user benefit from all of this? Unclear.
Alas this page isn’t the only one of its kind.
Here’s another example of a similar site.
Examples of this content type mentioned above demonstrate how a page can exist to fulfill only one purpose: to get as much organic search traffic as possible.
Often, this kind of websites blindly copy contents from other sites with higher authority. The script does it all, including all of the backlinks within the site.
Many SEO experts can remember the days when you could easily make a buck by creating a site like that and placing a couple of banners on it. The flow of traffic was outstanding.
Now Google does everything it can to eliminate such sites from the SERPs. But even artificial intelligence needs some time to locate and block all of these sites from the search results.2. Tons of Pop-Ups & Zero Search Query Matches
As I was analyzing the search results for [CPA marketing] on Google, I noticed something interesting.
Check out this screenshot:
The page in Position 3 also ranks for a keyword that has more than 2,000 monthly searches, based on SEMrush data. Although the keyword here is “CPA marketing”, the content on this page has nothing to do with this particular subject.
It’s also hard not to notice the title of the third page mentions money twice.
Nobody argues that making a profit is important. But do you really need to be so blunt?
Apart from the author’s subtle humbleness and CTAs that whisper his accomplishments, there are several other issues with this page. Where to begin?
Content is locked out with tons of pop-ups.
You know who else is a big fan of pop-ups? Neil Patel.
That’s why, at times, I find it difficult to read his blog posts.
Because of the constant interruptions.
OK, let’s give Vladi here some credit. The post is decently written.
Yet, the content doesn’t match the search intent of “CPA marketing” (which is an informational search). The article covers how one can start making money by becoming a member of an affiliate network.3. Poor Quality Content
More often than not, searching for a helpful article can be like taking a trip to a mall on a Sunday.
Take a closer look at this article:
While it’s miraculously resting on its laurels at the top of the SERPs, it is nothing but a digested and rewritten content, copied from other articles.
The keywords in this post are straightforward, hence it has a solid number of users coming to this page.
However, the quality of this content is low, to say the least, the post doesn’t even get close to explaining how to start making a killing on Snapchat.
Unfortunately, a lot of digital marketing blogs suffer from similar counterproductive content.
No doubt, your page may also get lucky and appear at the top of Google. But once a different page with higher-quality content comes around, your article won’t stand a chance.4. Outdated Content
Do you ever see something that makes you say, “Am I really seeing this?”
Well, here’s another page.
Talk about a terrible user experience!5. Poorly Structured Content
This post ranks in top three results for [ecommerce stats 2023] search term:
Fearing they might lose their readers too quickly, these guys decided to go all out for a win. They geared up with links, placing as many of them as possible.
Sure, they meant well, but the road to user experience hell is paved with good intentions.
Not all growth-hacking strategies are equally good, I suppose.
I have another example of an article that ranks well in Google:
Oh no, it’s me! Yes, I got caught producing something useless.
For some reason, online users don’t seem to enjoy reading my post. The bounce rate for that post is astronomically high compared to other pages:
Here’s the main search query that brings traffic is “best backlinks analysis tool”:
So what’s the problem with this post? I believe it’s mainly a result of poor structure:
There’s no summary table that would demonstrate the functionality of each tool featured in my analysis.
It lacks navigation and shortcuts to specific sections.
This post is for those few people who like to scroll and read lengthy studies. Apparently they haven’t found my article yet!Conclusion
Even though these articles are doing strikingly well in terms of ranking and attract a lot of readers, I bet those readers don’t come back.
If you want to bring value to your online community and be recognized for good things, then create content that earns you readers’ trust and good business. And the traffic will come.
More Content Marketing Resources:
All screenshots taken by Alexandra Tachalova, May 2023.
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Sometimes quality content does not rank. Features such as depth, the authority of the author, how up to date the information is does not seem to matter. It’s not uncommon to see such high quality pages not rank in Google. The following is a strategy, a way of doing SEO, that in my experience ranking websites, has been useful to me for the past few years.Reviewing the Definition of Quality Content
While quality factors are important to Google, in my experience, what is most important is how relevant that content is for answering the search intent that is latent within a search query.
There used to be a commercial for canned tuna featuring a tuna named Charlie. Charlie wanted to be selected by the picky and discriminating tuna company. So Charlie the tuna cultivates himself with fine clothes, a piano, and other signals of culture and good taste.
This is very much the position that publishers with high quality content can find themselves in. Focusing on traditional signals of “quality” is a good start. But there’s more.
Usually, what’s missing from a discussion about quality is the quality of how the content is useful to people who search on a particular search query.
Focusing on depth of content, how complete it is and so on can put a publisher in the same predicament as Charlie the tuna who was cultivating all the signals of good taste.
At the end of the commercial, a voice says, “Sorry Charlie. We don’t want tuna with good taste. We want tuna that tastes good.”How to Write Relevant Content
In my opinion and experience, the better approach is to understand what those keywords mean to the people who are using them. This is what the meaning of relevance is today.
Relevance used to mean matching the keywords in a search query to content on a page. But for the past few years it has increasingly meant matching the content with the needs of the user who is typing in that search query.
Keyword research today means asking “What is Google ranking and why?”Be Relevant to People
Firstly, I am not saying to abandon keywords. What I am saying is to expand on what you are currently doing by being relevant to people.
In 2023, almost three years ago, I wrote the following in an article about keyword research. The concepts here are important to understand:
“Algorithms are tuned to satisfying user queries by answering questions. They are no longer merely matching search queries to keywords on a web page.
This does not mean that you should phrase your pages as questions and answers. It means understanding the user intent/search intent latent in the keywords and constructing your content so that it satisfies the user/search intent implicit in the keyword phrase.”
That first part is about being relevant to the people making the search queries, not to their keywords. Be relevant to the people making the search queries.
Now the second part is about how being relevant to people who can boost exposure of your web page with social sharing and boost rankings with links:
“Web pages rank because websites link to those pages. Websites link to those pages because those pages solved a problem, because it scratches an itch.
Nobody ever linked to a web page because of its keyword relevance. Only an SEO walks into a bar, a dive, a speakeasy. Nobody links to that.
…View your keyword list through the framework of user intent/search intent and then consider how the resulting content can be used to create a positive user experience.”
You see how being relevant to people works? It’s a killer strategy that in my opinion is tuned to how search engines rank sites today. There are many different approaches to this, including providing a good user experience, making your content easy to read and so on.
But at the heart of all of those actions that creates a path from the user to your content, it all hinges on thinking in terms of being relevant to the user.More Resources
Images by Shutterstock, Modified by Author
What do effective integrated marketing campaigns have in common?
Integrated marketing campaigns can be a tricky art to perfect. We live in a multi-media world, which means that new media and old media sit alongside one another, sometimes competing, other times working collectively – in the case of integrated campaigns they work together.#1 Compare the Market – Baby Oleg
More recently, in August we were shown Baby Oleg’s life journey.
The continuous roll out and development on this character throughout the year has proven consistency of the brand and messaging – key factors in creating a solid campaign. These friendly Meerkats have almost become part of everyday life, as they quite literally pop up everywhere.#2 O2 – Be More Dog
Originally launch last year O2’s ‘Be More Dog’ campaign, which featured a ginger cat trying to live a dog’s life had been a huge success for the brand. Granted – being ‘more dog’ has nothing to do with mobile phones, but the quirkiness of the integrated campaign is what led its success.
To promote its revamped priority app in May 2014 launched a £7m campaign using England rugby players, Mike Brown and Alex Goode attempting to Be More Dog: in this, we see the cat become a motivational speaker.
This integrated marketing campaign from O2 is so clever it not only intrigues users due to its kooky nature and offers them something extra in the form of priority.#3 chúng tôi – Sorry for all the holiday Spam
Launching a package for customers to use their phone in 16 destinations worldwide like they would at home, with no extra cost for data led to 3 having to make one large apology… to the entire nation.
Relevance is the key to this integrated campaign – it was successful by people being able to relate to it, whether they were on holiday, or fed up of everyone else’s holiday spam. The campaign was also consistent with the hashtag #holidayspam included in every part of the marketing collateral.#4 Lidl – #lidlsurprises
The most recent Lidl Surprises, ingenious campaign rolled out on the 4th September on television, print and outdoor – accompanied by a larger than normal social media boost.
The entire campaign is amongst Lidl’s efforts to step away from traditional media, moving into engaging and interacting with its customers on social media and in stores. Mixing both traditional and digital media together offers a smooth transition to a more up to date modern approach for Lidl’s marketing efforts.
This campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, putting Lidl right up against UK supermarket giants like Tesco and Asda. It is difficult to determine the full extent of the success this campaign has achieved yet. Despite this, the social media buzz surrounding it was significant.#5 Coca-Cola – Coca-Cola Life
Recently, Coca-Cola launched a new product to its long standing line of soft drinks, called ‘Coca-Cola Life’ along with a month long campaign. Coca-Cola Life fits in the same kind of category as Coke Zero and Diet Coke – another one of Coca-Cola’s attempts to release a healthier option to its main heavily sugary product.
Along with all of the above, Coca-Cola launched a competition – on Saturday 20th September a pop-up shop opened on South Molton Street, London offering customers to not just have a taste of the new Life drink, but also give them a chance of winning a Coca-Cola Life prize – one of those being a long weekend in New York City. Of course, to fulfil the campaign’s integrated position those who were not able to visit the pop-up shop still had the chance to enter the competition by sharing a Coca-Cola Life moment picture online and using the hashtags #CocaColaLife and #comp.
The product is yet to be proven as a success, but as a campaign it’s fulfilling every specification to be a great integrated marketing campaign.
There’s a few lessons that can be learned from these integrated marketing case studies; one of those being that it doesn’t matter if you mix up the media within your campaign, in fact it’s largely positive, you just have to ensure that there is brand consistency across the entire roll out.
The way in which the message is communicated can also alter the effectiveness of the campaign, as can choosing which media should be at the forefront or the driving factor behind your strategy. It can all become a difficult balance to get right but it’s crucial that you do get it right.
Maggie Majstrova is the Studio Manager at Higher Ground Creative, with a background in Account Management and Web Development. You can connect with Maggie on LinkedIn and Google+
Child pornography, cyberbullying, online piracy–these are real-world problems that need solutions. But does legislating them away work?
If lawmakers don’t think through the implications of the legislation they create, they just muck things up further. In fact, this slew of bills at the national and state levels–as well as several international treaty proposals in the works–are outright stupid.
You should be concerned about some of these proposed changes to U.S. law–how will they infringe upon your privacy? And note that a couple of them are in negotiations behind closed doors without public input at all.H.R. 1981: Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011
The Legislation: If passed, this legislation could force any business offering paid Internet access–airports, hotels, coffee shops, and ISPs–to keep records of users’ online activities, so that if the government ever wants to inspect them, it can.
Why It’s Terrible: Most people want to keep kids safe, but having the government spy on everyone who uses the Internet is not the answer. You’d think there would be other ways to catch perverts that don’t involve such a frightening infringement on the privacy of innocent people.
Status: H.R.1981 is out of committee; it has been placed on the calendar and is slated for discussion in the U.S. House of Representatives at some point.Hawaii H.B.2288: Hawaiian Data Retention Bill
The Legislation: H.B.2288 would mandate that any company that provides Internet access in Hawaii–not only ISPs, but coffee shops, libraries and workplaces–keep two years of usage records, including the sites users visited and the IP addresses used.
Status: The politician who proposed the bill, Rep. Kymberly Pine, an Oahu Republican and the House minority floor leader, backed down from the bill, and it’s been tabled.New York State S.6779 and A.8688
Why It’s Terrible: According to EFF analyst Rebecca Jeschke, these bills are flatly unconstitutional. “We have a First amendment right to speak anonymously and certainly people who host their own websites can decide that they only want people to use their real names…But what you can’t do is have the government force people to speak using their real names. We have a history of anonymous speech here in the U.S. from The Federalist Papers through to today.”
Status: Both bills are still in committee.Trans Pacific Partnership
What It Is: U.S. negotiators are pushing for copyright measures far more restrictive than currently required by international treaties. According to the EFF, “The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a secretive, multi-nation trade agreement that threatens to extend restrictive intellectual property laws across the globe.”
Why It’s Terrible: It’s even worse than ACTA (the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and puts intellectual property governance in the hands of lobbyists. The EFF says the TPP will have a broad impact on citizens’ rights, the future of the Internet’s global infrastructure, and global innovation. And again, this one is being forged largely without input from the public.
Status: The next round of TPP negotiations will be held in San Diego, California, on July 2-10.DMCA: Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Legislation: This one isn’t new, but it’s bad enough to deserve a mention. The DMCA made it illegal to produce and share technology or services that circumvent digital rights management (DRM) technologies that keep you from using digital content in ways that content providers didn’t intend.
Why It’s Terrible: Instead of working against people stealing copyrighted content, DMCA is often used against consumers, scientists, and legitimate competitors. For instance, in 2009 Google said that more than half of the takedown notices it had received under the DMCA were sent by businesses targeting competitors and that more than one third were not valid copyright claims.
Status: The DMCA became law in 1998.
Next: More bad bills (CISPA, SOPA, PIPA, and more).
While there are more and more ways for people to find your website today than there were even a few years ago, it’s still true that Google can impact its success or fuel its failure more than any other single platform.
The key is to ensure that your site is well optimized so that it plays nice with Google’s search algorithms, and to do this you need to know about what factors influence how this engine ranks web pages. So let’s look at the most important aspects of optimization, and what you can do to achieve them.The Quality of Content on the Page
When it comes to SEO, content is still king. Google will reward webpages with high-quality content that provides true value for users. This means avoiding keyword stuffing and writing concisely about topics related to your website or niche in a way that educates, informs and entertains readers.
It also helps if you use strong formatting, such as headings and bullet points, to break up text and make for more pleasant reading overall.
Additionally, try to incorporate multimedia elements, such as images or videos, into your page’s content. This engages visitors and keeps them around longer, which in turn will lead to ranking higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Page load time is another important factor when it comes to SEO. Google rewards pages that load quickly, as this improves user experience and keeps visitors on your site longer.
To check your page’s loading speed, use a tool such as GTMetrix or Pingdom to identify areas of improvement. These tools can help you optimize images through compression, minimize redirects/HTTP requests, and enable browser caching, all of which contribute to faster loading times.
For further tweaking, look at reducing any large scripts or code bloat that may be slowing down your website. Getting rid of unnecessary elements will go a long way. And of course working with a provider like NameHero that provides simple web hosting packages at good prices will ensure you aren’t hampered by any server-side issues from a page load speed perspective.The Use of Keywords and Meta Tags
Using the right keywords is essential for Google to understand what your page is about. It’s crucial that you target relevant keyword phrases in the body text, titles, headings and subheadings throughout your website.
Then, use meta tags to describe each page on your site. These are brief descriptions that search engines can read which help them identify what a web page is about without having to crawl through all its content. Make sure they’re unique per page however, because duplicate meta tags could result in penalties and lower rankings within SERPs.Inbound Links From Other Sites
One ranking factor you definitely can’t afford to overlook when it comes to SEO is external links from other sites. These tell Google that your page is popular and trustworthy, thus making it more likely to get recommended higher up among the results for your target keywords.
Try encouraging other websites in your niche, or authoritative sites in related fields, to link back to yours. This could be done through guest blogging, or offering them content that can benefit their audience too.
Also look at creating social media accounts for your site and sharing its content as much as possible. This builds up a larger audience over time, which will lead to more inbound links being found on third party sites.Conclusion
Day 1 - Answer the key content marketing strategy questions
In this practical, 5 day series, I’ll help define a ‘quick-and-dirty’ 5-day plan to help towards improving your content marketing strategy, without spending a fortune on paid media content distribution.
I’ve said this series is ‘quick and dirty’ since we believe that The perfect is often enemy of the good. When it comes to content strategy, it’s easy to spend a vast amount of time thinking about what you’re going to do and worrying about how to get it just right… without actually getting any content created or distributed.
But there comes a time when the Why needs to turn into the How. If you wait for all your strategic ducks to line up in a perfectly formed row, there’s a good chance the opportunity that content offers your business will drift off with the competition.
That doesn’t mean you should start producing content at random and hope for the best. A good content marketing plan is vital to turn your strategy into an agile, flexible operation – one that, thanks to the nature of digital, you can test and refine as you implement it.
So here is our quick-and-dirty plan for getting a strategic, well-planned, effective content marketing operation off the ground in just 5 days…Day 1: Answer the big questions as best you can
Today you’re going to try and answer the big strategic questions as far as you can – in 1 day.
You’re going to work with what you know, and make intelligent guesses about what you don’t.
Take a look at the questions below and jot down the answers on 1 document, which you can then share with the team.
You can return to and update this ‘strategy’ whenever you want to tweak it in the light of new insights or decisions, or when you’ve had more time (or more budget) for research.
Sit yourself somewhere quiet on your own, or if you can gather your team run this as a group session.
Don’t invite all of the interested stakeholders unless you can be sure of alignment and a speedy output. Remember this is a quick-and-dirty approach!
Finally, write down, as far as you can, the answers to these questions:
Q2. Who are we trying to reach? Summarise personas, demographics and any other customer data you have easy access to. Again, focus on the top 3.
Q3. How will we know if our content marketing is working? Make a quick list of easily achievable and available measurements – social shares and likes, email data capture, newsletter opens, search traffic, bounce rates etc.
Q4. What’s our tone of voice? If you don’t have tonal guidelines, find a piece of previous content you all liked and use that as a shorthand reference. Pick out 5 things from it to act as guidelines for future content.
Output: A core strategy document outlining goals, audience, tone of voice guidelines and success indicators.What’s coming next in our 5 part of our content marketing series?
Day 2: What’s your content brand? What kind of content will support your core strategy and how are you going to figure this out? A great example to learn from is included.
Day 3: How are you going to produce this content? Create your team structure, sources and workflows.
Day 4: Idea generation and editorial planning – quick ways to produce a detailed calendar in 1 day and some case studies to help you along.
Day 5: How are you going to build momentum and keep all of this going? Find out how to kick the whole thing off and create a blueprint for growth and learning in just 1 day.Image/Copyright:@PA Images
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