This is an argument I find myself in pretty often – there are lots of tricks and methods that can help propel you to the top of search engine listings – but none of them are long term solutions.
By creating information that people want to find, it becomes the search engines’ best interest to rank your site well. It can be slower, and much harder, but there will never be an algorithm change that aims to remove the sites people want to see.
The best way to top in Search Engine is to provide quality and useful content and regular update.
Peter — Same here. I often get questions about best SEO methods from people, then come to find out that they haven’t covered the most basic piece of the equation. This is also left out of nearly every SEO guide I’ve ever read, and it’s the one thing that’ll always be true.
I agree that quality content is very important. But with out some other SEO work others will not find the great stuff we write. For example, if I didn’t find the link to this on Twitter, I would have not found this post. Great content is necessary, but not sufficient for being found on the Internet.
David North — I wouldn’t really expect you to find this post in the search results on the same day I wrote it. That’s definitely not a fair example. Nevertheless, it’s already 5th in the search results on Google for Guide to WordPress SEO. Maybe you would’ve found this post if looking for that guide.
I think you’re missing the point of the post a bit though. I’m basically mocking all of these other “SEO Guides” that never mention the most important thing.
I’ve found myself in the situation that writing good content is ok until google finds a full-of-keywords text that is almost impossible to read by humans. At least not enyoing it.
Even though this is an attempt to mock the other guides, there is one question unanswered:
What is good content ? ( In a SEO context )
Along the same lines as John M’s question: does one add the tag “great content” to the post so as to ensure top ranking?
Secondly, my blog is just personal musings, observations, humor, etc. I’m not sure other people consider that it’s great content — but I do. So I wonder do personal blogs fall under that category. I think you’re speaking of particular niches like how to increase blog traffic, monetizing blogs, etc.
What about promoting those personal blogs with great content (like mine)?
You hit the mark dead-on, Justin.
Once they (theme designers) quit wrapping the logo with an H1 tag and used it for the Title of the post, your SEO basics were pretty much taken care of. Now you are left with the ‘unmentioned component’, the actual content. I would also say that a strong Title should accompany that content, they have to go hand in hand — and forget about the rest of it.
@John Myrstad – Quality content is in the eye of the beholder. I don’t think anyone can fully answer your question in regards to SEO, not to my satisfaction anyway.
The old Google saying ‘Write content for your readers and not the search engines’ applies here. If your readers like what they read, then they will they will pass it on (socially or linkback). It is just that simple, in my opinion.
VERY TRUE …
I think a lot of people are missing the point here. Google will likely never know what great content is on it’s own. The reality is that the best plan to make google think your content is important, is to have other, real people think your content is important. The only way to do that is to have great content, and get after some more traditional marketing to get the word out about it.
If you can get people talking about your content, you don’t need seo techniques – they just happen. Google wants to rank what people want to see. Create great content, get it in front of a few eyeballs, and generate some buzz, and the rankings will follow.
That is pretty funny Justin, but so true. I get asked by a lot of other real estate agents what is the best thing that they can do to promote their business on the internet. I always tell them to start a blog and get writing. They don’t even need to understand of think about SEO. As long as their blog is set up properly at the beginning, they will do well by not even thinking about.
Manuel — Good content will always trump keywords in the end.
John Myrstad — Actually, that is the wrong question. The correct question you should be asking is:
What is quality content? (without the parenthetical phrase)
Asking about something in an SEO context is not the way to go. You should be asking what is quality content to human beings. See Webstractions’ comment for a good answer to this.
cardiogirl — I would consider this a personal blog. I think I do quite well. I’ll leave promoting your blog to another post. Your site seems to be doing well enough though, at least from what I can see.
Webstractions — I would say content covers the title as well. We would’ve given both of these things the same amount of weight in journalism.
You have the definition of quality content down fairly well.
Peter — You used just the right phrase — real people. That’s what matters most.
Ryan Martin — People come to me and say they need to start making so much money or ranking so high within a given amount of time. My answer is simply, Start producing content. Now.
But, I also tell them they need to be passionate about their field. It’s surprising how many people want to start a site about something but aren’t truly passionate about the subject.
Justin:: It’s surprising how many people want to start a site about something but aren’t truly passionate about the subject.
That’s because they just want money money money! The world’s full of people like that. It annoys me.
Haha ! Great one. Can’t wait for the next tips !
Hmm, the old how best to go about SEO question.. well after lots and lots of research, the only answer I have come up with is…. lots of bloody hard work and then cross your fingers !!
Some say that backlinking is the best way, others say that spending lots of cash is the way forward.
I own an e-commerce site selling lingerie & erotic clothing, which is a very competitive market and have found that SEO aint easy, then again I am very much a beginner at all of this malarky and am more than likely doing lots of things either very badly or completely wrongly !! (that was a heavily disguised cry for help if there are any kind souls who happen to read this and fancy throwing a suggestion or 2 my way !)
Kneel — Very true. I’ve had several projects I’ve started working on that could make money, but they never took off. I wasn’t interested enough in the subject matter to really make the site successful.
It’s so much easier to have quality content if you enjoy what you’re doing.
Many — I’m thinking of running a series of tips, but I don’t quite know which direction I want to take it just yet.
M Fry — Yes, “lots of bloody hard work” is exactly right. The rules of the SEO game are constantly changing. I tend to get back to the basics of what running a site is all about.
I agree with you Justin, the content quality is the best SEO
there is apparent to all, including the importance of don’t copy&paste
I do agree about the comments from Justin and Webstraction regarding “What is good content ? ( in a SEO context )
However the best content in SEO context is the content that builds inbound links, not necessary the content that has the best value for a reader, so the question ( in a seo context ) might be: How do you write content that gets linked ( by high pr sites ) ?
So true Justin. I have an online work which requires me to write articles about the keywords given to me. I just feel lazy to do it most of the time. I often update my personal blog more even if I don’t earn from it.
@John Myrstad – Usually content that gets linked to comes from somebody reading that content. If it is not of ‘the best value for a reader’ as you put it, then I doubt it will ever get linked to at all.
Your readers are your linkers. Foresake one and you foresake the other.
I would not buy into getting links from high PR sites either. After all, I found this post from Justin via a retweet on Twitter. That link does not pass any PR, and it just goes to show you that there are other ways of being found besides Google.
Actually stumbled across Justin in the WordPress support forums last year. Definitely no PR value there either, but his ‘passion’ did shine through. Now I find myself stopping and reading his comments on other blogs.
I agree with you 100%. “Content is a King” regardless of anything else. Good, unique content is #1 on my list and it should be on everyone as well.
Let me just say something about SEO, since we are all about that subject. If you remember when we were told to link from sites with high or higher PageRank, right? well it doesn’t really matter that much anymore, because Google will balance your backlinks and it will show random sites regardless of their PageRank. Meaning that in the future (my personal opinion only) Google will give higher to full importance of your unique, quality and grammatically written content.
With backlinks for some of the followers above, that is simple, if you need get a backlinks from (related sites) not just any link, do not look too much into PageRank of that specific page that you want to link from, as long as the site is not use for (SPAM) or any other related or suspicious activities, you should be just fine.
HARD WORK, hmm please there is nothing hard if you like your job, crossing fingers, well take that one out as well, if you don’t give up easily and if you follow the rules, there is no need to cross any fingers.
And yes, other factors do matter as well, but once again I fully agree with “Write quality content” and nobody can tell me otherwise.
PS For Peter, my friend Google does know how good your content is and you can’t make it look good if the content is not. You may/can do that only for very short period of time. But we are here to stay!
Emil, I agree with almost your whole post – but the fact is, without our help, Google absolutely does not know what good content is – and they won’t for a very long time (if they ever do).
The idea that an algorithm can determine which content is well written and which isnt – and I’m not talking about grammar or spelling, but rather wit, insight, charm – whichever writing style is popular at a given time, who is using the right memes, who has their finger on the pulse of what people want… These are things that aren’t easily quantified. Nearly anyone can write a grammatically correct post in their native language – but that doesnt say anything about the content. Google will do what it has always done – it will continue to analyze the relationships between websites, and draw conclusions based on that data.
It has not ever been, and it will never be about making Google think your content is good – the only way to achieve lasting and powerful influence, and the rankings that follow, is to gain the admiration and respect of your readers and peers. The best Google can hope to do is get better at reading into that.
Saw this on ProBlogger. The #1 rule for getting linked to by another blogger is “Write something worth linking to”.
11 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Being Linked to By a Blogger
From the article “The best way to get the attention of a blogger is to write something useful, entertaining, controversial, helpful, informative, intriguing…. etc.”
@Peter: I agree with quality of content NOT being determined by Google. Not in human terms anyway. For Google, it is still about linking relationships and examining the context of content on both sides of the link and how they relate to each other.
Content is more marketing now-a-days — not optimization so much. We mainly have optimization down pat.
Popularity determines what is quality. Very democratic, this. Popularity is content worth talking about (like one-image no-text posts for instance). It can get linked to, dugg, emailed, tweeted, and possibly even faxed to somebody in Three Brothers, Arkansas looking for cool eagle designs for the hood of his 1976 TransAm.
Justin … BRAVO … this is the best advice a blogger can use! I say this to our members all the time.
@Peter … you nailed it on the head in your comment
I get so tired of being asked what is best methods for SEO and questions on how to tweak a theme for maximum SEO results.
My advice, install the All-In-One SEO plugin or Headspace2, then stop wasting time on trying to fine-tune your blog to the “n’th degree” and START writing Quality Content.
The results and the use of your time will be far more valuable!
SEO is better viewed as a way to make your content stand out clearly, rather than a way to make your site rank highly.
I must commend you for keeping it short and sweet….
Looking forward to the next 9 images…
Esteban Rojas — Yep, that’s why it’s my #1 rule.
John Myrstad — As I said before, “SEO context” is not the correct phrase. That seems to be the problem — too many people thinking about things in an SEO context.
Kneel — I’d hate to have to write articles in which keywords were given to me. But, hey, work is work.
Emil — Yeah, i remember when we were told about links to and from high PR sites. The rules of the game are always changing, but only one thing stays constant.
Craig — I think “stop wasting time” should be my next rule.
Mark Jaquith — I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Henrik Blunck — I like short and sweet. It’s much easier just to break things down to their most basic elements.
wordpress seo can increase my rank in alexa?
As everyone says nowadays, content is king. Google likes original and fresh content. Updating your blog with things people like to see is the number 1 rule for any successfull blogger, just like justin that offers those superb themes!
Good content for a visitor is:
- what he looked for
- what suprises him
- what brings him where he didn’t knew he want to go there
Cirurgia Plastica — I like this:
Updating your blog with things people like to see…
As long as it’s relevant to your site.
Joost Hoogstrate — I like your first examples — things that are good content for a visitor. That’s all we need to care about, really.
Content is king.But with out some other SEO work others will not find the great stuff we write.
You can do all the things required to help you rank in the serps but this by far will do more for your rankings in a way that is natural.
I hear comments like the ones most of you have expressed over the last several months. Most of them have come from people who used BlackHat SEO firms for their Real Estate SEO
wayne golliday — And I imagine you only commented here so you could share your link to your “SEO” site.
I think it’s about tag and the other template component.
Is that simple??
Very clever Justin… all these comments have a huge amount of good keywords relevant to your post… free content!!
I like your first examples — things that are good content for a visitor. That’s all we need to care about, really.
At first, I thought a lengthy post about SEO on this page, it turned out even better.
TRUE. It’s all about the content, not high position on Search Engine that make a blog attractive.
Quality content has been the strategy of choice for above board players and makes much sense for information related websites such as news, blogs, etc. What about e-commerce shopping sites? There is a fine balancing act between making it as simple and fast for the customer to order versus overloading them with content for the sake of simply having, say, 400-500 words per page. I’ve seen many websites that simply load their product and category pages with irrelevant babble.
There’s only so much information that one needs to write about a product, especially when, as the cliche goes, a picture speaks a thousand words. I’d love to hear some thoughts on how to balance content for an e-commerce site selling products (as opposed to a service, which requires much content).
Adi — Your WordPress theme can help or hurt you, depending on its quality of code. At the same time, it won’t make or break you.
CG — Why bother writing about SEO when I can have all of you do it for me?
Mobile TTS — Visitors should be a top priority when writing on your site. In fact, audience is the most important thing in any writing, work of art, or other things shown to the public.
Kate Mag — We can definitely agree on that.
Lingerie SEO — That you even mentioned “400 – 500 words per page” makes me want to tell you to read the article again. There’s a huge difference between quality and quantity. Granted, I should probably have written “Post quality content” as opposed to “Write quality content,” but the point is the same.
Justin, the 400-500 word comment is not based upon your posting, rather, other seo experts that tend to instruct not only quality of content but also quantity.
Do you realiz… okay.
Content is king, that’s for sure… but then you have to work around it.
Yes, I realize I am a meerkat.
Very clever Justin Justin. The content quality is the best SEO
there is apparent to all, including the importance of don’t c&p.
thats why they called content is a king. Good content will boost your search engine ranking without doing hard work.
The picture made me smile. Very creative one. You think – oh yeah #1 seo, must be something you don’t know…
I thought almost nothing could be done without thousands of inbound links and other ‘seo’ methods. But what I did as a test (i haven’t yet started to heavily promote my website) – I just optimized a page on my very new blog (new domain, PR n/a, 6 irrelevant inbound links) for a particular query “burj dubai opening 4th of january” – put it in the title, h1, url, made up a cool snippet in meta description and also put some 3 cool pictures in it. It pops up 2nd on the google’s SRP although the topic is widely covered on hundreds of other ‘better’ websites. does google know the pictures are cool?
Well, if you are also thinking to start an online website or you already have one then you must be looking forward for expert SEO techniques so that your website have some worth online visibility
I am a newbie blogger. I am going to take your word (content is king) because I am not a techie to do more. (I have done the basics though, some plugins, widgets and so on)
It can’t get simpler than this! I have been blogging for over 2 years now and never ever focussed on SEO. Google has been kind enough to determine the worth of my blog
By submitting a comment here you grant this site a perpetual license to reproduce your words and name/Web site in attribution.
Please use your real name or a pseudonym (i.e., pen name, alias, nom de plume) when commenting. If you add your site name, company name, or something completely random, I'll likely change it to whatever I want.