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Beyond Basic SEO – Practical Strategies – Part 4 – Content Creation & Over Optimization

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In this session we discuss content creation and how Google is penalizing those sites that are overly optimized. We talk about the need to have a content development strategy that is focused on how people are looking for specific services or products on the site. And we talk about creating key concepts to communicate the content of the site using natural language, keywords and key phrases.

Video Transcript

Rick: Okay so I’m going to move on to John then. Good evening, John. John is…

John: Hi Rick.

Rick: So you know, this is your old site and I know your new site isn’t actually ready. You’re creating your new site to replace your old site.

John: That’s right.

Rick: But tell me about your business anyway.

John: Well you know, if you wanted to put the page up, I put in the little comments. It’s definitely crude but it’s…

Rick: Okay, let’s see. Here it is.

John: It’s in the little comment thing.

Rick: Got it. Let’s see if I get a browser popping up. I do. Okay so this is your development site. So what’s your goal here with this site? What do you plan on doing with it?

John: Well, it’s really interesting listening to these other two fellows talk about what they’re working on because both of them are… have migrated sites or are replacing websites like I am beginning to do here. And what I’ve began to do is just create unique or brand new content for everything. So if you go to the Buy button and then scroll down to Biltmore Etc. neigborhoods and then go to Arizona Biltmore, that’ll show you one of the pages that I’ve kind of gotten started on. And if you scroll down through here, you can see I’ve tried to pay attention to your teaching on using the h1 and h2 tags properly. And down at the bottom here, you start to see these searches populate for homes in this area.

So you know, I’m just getting started with this and when I look back at some of the blogging that I did on a website called Active Rain for Realtors, I was instructed by the guy that taught me that all I needed to do with Active Rain to go to the top… because Google sees Active Rain for every member because it’s a member website, any time you blog on it, it views everybody’s content as singular. So if you put a post on there, it makes Active Rain as a whole more likeable on Google. And so for certain keywords, if I would just repeat them you know, 5 or 6 times in a blog post, it would come up to the top in Google searches. But the blog posts are pretty ugly and not the kind of thing that somebody would want to read. If there were 300 to 500 words and there were maybe in a phrase that was repeated 5 times and bolded, it looks spammy. I think it did. The result was… and I didn’t like writing that way. So this lesson where you taught about h1 and h2 tags and then bolding really was… made it look a little nicer so I think this looks a little nicer than that. And I used Scribe for a while and I know they want a back link every 120 words like you’ve mentioned.

But as I start off this website, because I’ve got another one that I’ve developed last year with your help, my concern is I just really want to start off on the right foot with the SEO. So you know, that’s where… you know, before I start doing all that, I just want to make sure that you know, I’m implementing best practice to this. And I think you invited me in this discussion when I was telling you that I was chatting with somebody about author rank and how author rank is becoming more important to Google than just cramming in a bunch of keywords or having a bunch of backlinks to your site. And you know, to my understanding, the author rank is basically Google taking a look at how unique and frequently you create content. And so those who were actually generating content or going to have more favor in Google’s eyes than somebody who just hired a link farm to stick a bunch of backlinks in in order to gain some attention.

So anyhow, that’s kind of my opening statement here.

Rick: And I didn’t actually ask you to join because of the author rank conversation. Although, we’ll talk about that here for a moment. Google has no idea who the author of this post is or this page because you don’t tell them who the author is. You know, as I viewed your source and then I searched for the author, there is no author… there is no word author in the source here.

John: Should there be?

Rick: Oh yeah. If you want to develop authorship ranking then you need add authorship to your posts and pages. And that is beyond the scope of this conversation but I do have a presentation prepared for how to add this author information to Thesis posts and pages. And I just haven’t actually had a chance to give it. So we’ll work on that at another time. But I’m just letting you know that at the moment, Google has no idea who the author is of this page. And so it’s not going to affect your author ranking.

John: Well, maybe the invite came from another point I brought up with you. Another agent I know in another city, in Albuquerque who has 6 or 7 different websites and he says the main reason that he operates you know, 4 of the 5 is just to have backlinks to the websites that he wants to get the traffic.

Rick No, that’s not it either although I’ll talk about that too. That’s called network blogging or netowrk blogs and Google Panda, which is the change from last year, Google Panda was directed directly at network blogs attempting to disregard any links like that because the only kind of linking Google wants to count is the kind of linking where somebody that’s not associated with you says, “You know, this is really good content.” And links from their page to your page. It’s the only kind of link they want to count. They don’t want to count any other kind of links. And so to the extent they can identify a network of blogs that are under your control that are linking to you, to that extent, they’re going to disregard it. And the exception to that is a certain amount of social networking including or primarily including social networking that Google can index like YouTube, Vimeo… they can index Flickr, I guess.

John: Pinterest?

Rick: I don’t know if it can index Pinterest or not but certainly Google+ and you know, some kinds of social networking like that. If Google can index the social networking site then active participation in social networking can be links that are within your control that still count towards your page rank. But that’s the only exception. If you have a bunch of sites that you’ve created that you are trying to link to, if… as soon as Google figures it out, it’s going to penalize you.

John: Give you a spanking.

Rick: Right. No, the reason I invited you tonight was to talk about content development strategy and keyword strategy because you were asking me questions about bolding keywords and repetition of keywords and that sort of thing. And what I wanted to say to you is if you know why people are looking for you or how people are looking for the services that you’re offering, if you know how they’re looking for that then your content development strategy should be focused on that. You should be writing content about the information that they are looking for when they are looking in such a way as they would discover your services. So if they’re trying to learn about the Arizona Biltmore Neighborhood then this is perfect because that’s what you’re saying. Arizona Biltmore Neighborhood, that’s the title of the post and so you’re giving a description of what happens there. And if that’s how you expect people to find you then that’s a good strategy.

But what wouldn’t be a good strategy is to take Arizona Biltmore Area and place that phrase repeatedly throughout the article.

John: Well, you know what?

Rick: It would be worse if you bolded it or linked from it.

John: How about this…

Rick: I understand you have an example of how that is different or you have an example of where that worked. But that’s probably only because you’re small fish. This article came out here May 30th on SEOMOZ and this is the story of you know, an SEO specialist who got nailed by Penguin which was the latest change. And what Penguin is focused on was cleaning up some of the Panda stuff that is deregistering or delisting a bunch of networking sites and also penalizing sites that Google referred to as “overly optimized”. And I’m going to post this article on our Facebook page so that everybody can get access to it. And I’m also going to paste it in the chat window here. If you look in your chat window, I’m going to send it to everybody. That’s the URL to this article and this is well worth reading because it is an example of a guy who is an expert in SEO and who you know, on April 27th, had lots of traffic and on April 28th had none. And he was able to narrow it down to that highly optimize text that is where short keywords are repeated over and over throughout the text. And I mean, this is isn’t a page, right? This is his whole site that got nailed like this and he describes how he fixed it you know, how he changed some of his keywords, how he came up with what he desribes as ‘natural anchor text’. And this actually speaks to something that I mentioned earlier which is varying the phrase, varying the keyword, varying the keyword phrase, getting to the concept. So Arizona Biltmore Area, the Biltmore Neighborhood, this part of Biltmore you know, that kind of thing where you use a longer phrase and essentially, restate what you think is the thing people are using to find you or using to look for you.

John: Okay so that is something that I wanted to ask about was you know, I know that Scribe would… when I would use Scribe, it would want me to repeat the keywords a couple of times during the 300 to 500-word post. It would want the number of links that we talked about in a post. And so…

Rick: And Scribe has changed its advice.

John: Yeah you know, I haven’t… I’ve got the… I noticed they have the new beta version out and maybe it’s… maybe… I haven’t really looked at it yet. But if I’m writing a post, I think what you’ve just… one of the key things that jumped out at me was I no longer… or it’s okay to use more than one set of keywords in there in order to please Google and it’s not confusing. It’s actually helpful as long as they’re not vastly different. In other words, kind of like an h1 or h2 tag is to an h1 tag. It has something to do with the original word encompassing tag, the h1 tag. But the h2 tag kind of you know, continues to emphasize the original point, I guess.

Rick: Well, in fact, it might be a useful exercise… notice I typed in in my search box here, ‘matt cutts over’ and see what Google returns? Matt Cutts over optimization, Matt Cutts optimized sites, Matt Cutts over optimization penalty. Matt Cutts is one of the main guys at Google who talks about what Google is looking for. And so I would encourage you to search for that and to look at what he says about that. There’s actually a pretty good video of him talking about it on this exact subject and it cuts right to this question of whether or not you use Arizona Biltmore area over and over again or whether or not you use different layers of getting to this. Because what they’re trying to avoid is the success of the page that you’re referring to where the keyword is repeated several times throughout the page and therefore, it shows up well for that keyword.

John: Okay.

Rick: Because the thing is that it’s easy for a content spammer to take keywords and spread it throughout the content. But for a regular person who’s developing content, it’s harder for them to develop good content with the same keywords repeated over and over again. Good content usually can’t be summed up in a couple of keywords repeatedly. And so Google is trying to acknowledge that and reinforce its ability to find out whether the content is good and what the content is about.

John: So going back to the gentleman with the Mental Game things you know, something I purposely got away from was something… you know, in the blog post or the page I just had up there was something you recommended he do which was to go ahead and bold a few keywords. So in this case..

Rick: What I meant was not bold keywords but bold crux phrases or sentences. That is, things that reflect the meat or the most important part of the paragraph or something that should catch the person’s eye. Now Arizona Biltmore area is not an example of that, right? So what you’re looking for here is… I mean, it could be making Arizona Biltmore perhaps the most complete and convenient luxury community in all of Phoenix. Now that might be perfect to be bolded. But it’s the crux because what Google wants bolded… what Google wants to count is bolding in emphasis that reflects the key concept of a paragraph or of the content. Not the keywords but the key concept that’s being communicated.

John: So that was… I appreciate you going over that. I didn’t understand it the first time you explained it but I get it now. That’ll be helpful as I continue to write for… it’ll be a little more fun than the old way I used to. I used to just to test writing but I did it because I noticed it would get shown up in Google. But I figured that the reason I wasn’t getting many calls from it was it was just obnoxious looking, you know? Not the kind of thing that you’d want to read or once you got to the page, you’d read it and probably not want much to do with the person who wrote it.

Rick: Right.

John: And I think this is really simple and it may not… you know, I don’t have any sidebars in here yet but as I look at this page that I’ve just started on it, you have applied you know, using bullet points instead of just all paragraphs, using these h2 and h1 tags. And I just think it’s a lot more pleasing to look at than the way I used to do it.

Rick: Yeah. This is a very pleasing page. It has lots of nice, white space. You’ve made good use bulleted lists. You know, when you get this thing figured out so that it pops over here, that’s going to work well.

John: And I need some backlinks in there.

Rick: Yeah.

John: Or links to other…

Rick: You’d want links to other content in the site, right.

John: And I figured as I’m developing this, I just had it in mind that I just need to create the content in order to have a place to link it to. Right now, there’s… you know, I’ve just got stuff in there.

Rick: You’re just going to have to go through the process of doing that. Right.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Rick: Once you’ve got a bunch of content then finding the places to link to is just going to… you know, the pages you want people to go to the most should be what you link to the most.

John: Yeah, it makes sense.

Rick: So the concept I want to communicate to you first was if you understand what people are searching for when they are happy they found you then right content about that kind of search. So that’s the first thing that the content strategy is to write about the things that your ideal customer is looking for. And then make sure that you are not over optimizing it but that you’re using a more natural language, more natural use of keywords and key phrases. And then you use that bolding since you asked me the question about bolding… that you use the bolding or emphasis for the crux concept in the content.

John: And maybe on a typical blog post, you’d only that probably one time, one maybe two?

Rick: No. You could probably do it every paragraph. If there’s something important to say in each paragraph, it helps people to scan.

John: Yeah, you’re right.

Rick: So there’s not a limitation to that. It’s just another way of reinforcing the content.

John: Okay.

Rick: Okay?

John: Thank you Rick.

Rick: You’re welcome. Thank you.

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