Here at Grammar Chic, it is pretty commonplace to receive calls from frantic business owners and online marketers with ever-changing demands and requests when it comes to content. No matter if we are addressing word count, keyword saturation, the use of the passive versus active voice…let’s just say to the layperson, it may appear that there is no rhyme or reason in this department. So if there are conflicting opinions within the professional ranks of online marketing, what is a beginner to believe? When it comes to content, what does Google really want?
Blow the Trumpets: Content Is King
Admittedly, Google has really put the majority of businesses through the ringer in the past year. From Panda to Penguin, the Internet has become a veritable zoo. However, one theme has proven increasingly important: the need for quality content. While it’s no secret that compelling and interesting content plays a bigger role than ever before, there are also some confusing variables.
Does Google Have Rules Regarding Content?
The wizards behind the curtain that is Google have said repeatedly in recent history that, “content should focus on users, not search engines”; however, what does that mean exactly? OK, we get it, keyword stuffing is a no-no, as is stale, stagnant content, amongst other things, but what is Google looking for? To answer that question, here are a couple rules we commonly adhere to at Grammar Chic:
- Google places a high level of importance on written content that speaks in a unique voice. This means that you should apply your expertise, wherever it falls, to your written work. No matter your product or service, don’t regurgitate someone else’s words.
- When promoting your business, service or product, make sure you are keeping content up-to-date and logging changes as they occur. At the same time, while you are working to keep posts original, try to be as detailed as possible. Ultimately, Google is looking to provide comprehensive information to a user.
- The structure of the content is as important as the voice and the basis of the content. Therefore, the use of bullet points, headings and subheadings is important when devising a written message.
The Long and Short of It: What This Means to Word Count
Keeping the previous bullet points in mind, it must be stated that Google has never come out and expressly said, “We want to see posts that are at least 500 words.” At the same time, the Google Gurus have never said, “We are going to penalize you if you are overly wordy.” However, some online marketers have stated they have been penalized by the search engine and their traffic has fallen off after significantly editing their content from long form to short blurbs. So the average person might think that “less is bad” and “more is good,” right?
Let’s just say, maybe, maybe not.
I hate to sound obtuse, but there is a double-edged sword in the “less vs. more” content argument. First, if you have too little content on your website you might experience users bouncing if they have no idea what you do or how you do it. Conversely, if you have 1,500 words of drivel, paragraph after paragraph, line after line, droning on…blah, blah, blah, you are still going to have visitors bouncing because they don’t have any desire to read your material. Either way, Google is going to punish you because you aren’t creating content that users want to read.
In closing, it is important to make sure anything you write for use online has some meat. You need to make sure that your writing is addressing changing issues in your industry, your voice is unique and that you are devising your own opinions and solutions on how this affects your business. Yes, you want to make the gods at Google smile upon you, but you can only do this by making sure your readers value your wordsmithing. At the end of the day, you don’t have to feel like a sacrificial online lamb as you create content—if you are looking for help in this department, don’t hesitate to reach out to Grammar Chic, Inc.