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Search Engine Optimisation

What is Thin Content and How to Fix It

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I don’t want to name any names, but I saw an awful website this morning. Granted, I was looking for examples of thin content because of this post and I figured I might be able to just wander around until I found something that could count towards the description. I didn’t expect to find something this relevant, much less to such a degree that I would leave the site cringing.

Because of tactics they had used and length of time the site had been around, they maintain a decent Google ranking in spite of having some of the thinnest content I have ever seen. But the lack of engagement on the articles, the amount of spam littered among the occasional real comment, the lack of social media shares… it all showed that in spite of being prolific in their posting habits, their content was doing nothing to help them.

Someone should let them know about the benefits of high quality content versus thin content. Though given the sheer number of ads on their domain, quality probably isn’t their first priority.

Thin Content Risks

Why is this such a bad thing if the traffic is high enough to bring them within the first page of Google results? It is the same reason that keyword stuffing is a bad idea. Sure, it will bring people to your site for a time. But eventually Google’s algorithm is going to catch on and while they claim they don’t penalize, we all know that isn’t true. If you try and skirt around the system you are going to get flagged.

Not only that, but it is damaging to a brand.

What is the use of being on Google’s first page if people realize the moment they click onto your site that you have nothing worth viewing? They will be gone within seconds and over time your rank will go down along with the lack of interest or brand trust.

The Legend of Fred

Now there is a more direct threat to your business. But then Google came out with updates, all named under one collective term “Fred” which focused on battling thin content:

Basically, if you publish high quality content that is highly cited on the Internet – and I’m not talking about just links, but also mentions on social networks and people talking about your branding, crap like that.

Fred caused quite a ruckus when it was first released in 2017. It came from the Black Hat sector, aimed specifically at spam links and suspected spam links.

Of course, we know from past statements and experiences that Google is also targeting backlinks and trying to discourage the practice which may be why so many sites that were well established and not at all spam saw a 90% decrease in traffic seemingly out of nowhere. It sparked panic across the web as site owners and brands scrambled to figure out what was happening and came back with rumors of “Fred”.

The good news is while a percentage of sites hit were valid ones that might not have deserved it, most did appear to be low rent content hosters using shady practices to boost traffic and so ad revenue. But that was little relief for those bigger sites who were impacted by the release of Fred.

Since then Google has got even smarter at identifying and fighting thin content, so in case you have some older lower-quality content on your blog, fixing it may cause your overall rankings increase.

How to Fix Thin Content on Your Blog

Step 1: Identify and Enhance Articles That Bring Traffic

  • Go to Google Analytics Behavior -> Site Content -> All Pages
  • Enable it to show 5000 rows (this is the maximum)
  • Export the whole report and check if any of those articles can be called “thin”, generally:
    • Number of words is fewer than 500
    • There are no structure (subheadings, images, etc.)
    • There’s no “substance”, i.e. some unique tip, facts, etc. that a reader can take home.

Landing pages

Once you find a thin article, go ahead and enhance it by implementing a new keyword strategy.

TextOptimizer is a great tool for that: It will run your target query in Google, extract search snippets and then apply semantic analysis to identify related concepts and entities to implement in your content to expand it.

TextOptimizer

TextOptimizer will also generate popular questions on your topic for you to answer in your content and make it better:

TextOptimizer Questions

While editing your old content, think if there are any content re-purposing opportunities, like creating a whitepaper or a blog series. Use the checklist to ensure higher quality for each of your content projects.

Step 2: Identify and Get Rid of Articles That Bring 0 Clicks

Now, go ahead and check all the articles that didn’t get into your above list. You may double-check again to make sure any of them are not really driving any clicks. Once you are sure, go ahead and:

  • Use 301 redirect to redirect any of those articles to their updated or closely related versions
  • If there’s no related content to redirect to, simply delete old thin articles
  • Here are great plugins that will help you with both the steps above

For more information on this tactic, check out this case study on how this process increased one blog’s traffic by ~1000%

Growth

Have you been thinking about fixing low-quality thin content? Please share your tips!

Anna Fox is blogger behind Hire Bloggers, a free resource helping bloggers to find online gigs and start earning money

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Search Engine Optimisation

Boost Blog Engagement and SEO with Content Powered

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It doesn’t matter if you have the flashiest looking blog with the fastest loading time and most optimized social media sharing widgets if your blog doesn’t have the exceptional content that online audiences crave and will keep coming back for more. By much the same accord, it doesn’t matter if you have good content if there’s no one around to read it. They’re two sides of the same coin and you need both, but where can you find the time and develop the expertise to keep all those balls in the air?

Rather than shoulder all of that burden yourself, and potentially do a mediocre job at it, you may want to enlist the services of professionals who know what they’re doing, from ideation to publication and optimization. That’s where Content Powered can really help you step up your game, delivering top-notch content that will outperform the competitors time and time again.

An All-Inclusive Blog Management Company

You’ll find no shortage of blog-related services on the Internet. There are marketplaces where you can seek out freelancers to write your blog posts, stock image repositories where you can license images, and management companies that can deal with the technical logistics of keeping a blog going… but working with multiple companies can feel fragmented and disorganized. Not to mention that you may not end up with the best end product either.

Aiming to be “the most complete blog management service on the web,” Content Powered is an end-to-end service provider for business blogs. Founder and CEO James Parsons, along with the rest of his team, recognize that “cranking out quick blog posts just doesn’t cut it anymore.” You need great, comprehensive blog posts, supported by everything else that goes into having a successful blog. The team includes:

  • Inbound marketing professionals
  • Graphic designers
  • Webmasters
  • Programmers
  • SEO professionals
  • Conversion optimization experts
  • eCommerce specialists

That means that they’ll update and add plugins, improve user experience and design, update and improve older posts, track rankings and more. And then, there is the team of “the very best fulltime in-house writers” too, of course, working to create “carefully researched and well-optimized content [that’s] worth sharing and linking in.” 

Quality Over Quantity

Content is king. It always has been. And while some quick-hitting memes might be fun on social media, they’re not the kind of content that will get you ranked in Google, let alone convert clicks into customers. Search engines, much like real people, seek true value that’s above and beyond what anyone else is providing. If someone is looking up information about exchange traded funds (ETFs) and how they might want to invest their money, a couple of paragraphs isn’t going to cut it. This is a more in-depth topic that requires a more in-depth explanation.

To that end, Content Powered is dedicated to long-form content that is useful, optimized and well-researched. Rather than churn out a couple of quick 300 word posts, their writers produce exceptional content with a minimum of 2500-3500 words. It’s about doing the legwork to research a topic thoroughly, optimizing the content accordingly to answer the needs of readers.

Content Powered is not shy about comparing itself with the competition. Of course there are other services out there where you can outsource your blog writing. However, you’ll notice that the majority of these other options tend to zero in on shorter content in the 500-word range. And their posts typically only include stock images. 

By comparison, Content Powered is all-inclusive, so you get up to 20 custom images, tailored specifically to that particular content for your particular blog.  The extra work results in media that is better optimized and more carefully researched. You also get unlimited edits, CMS publishing, a comprehensive content strategy, access to a graphic designer, comment management and more. 

A great way to get a sense of the type of content you can expect to receive, take a look at some of the posts on the Content Powered blog itself. For example, here’s a post about the pros and cons of separating a blog from a website. You’ll see that the content is thorough, yet accessible. It’s also well-organized with lots of visual interest and helpful links. The post is also in the neighborhood of 2500 words. That’s the kind of long-form, in-depth writing you can expect to get.

Getting Started With Content Powered

They make it very clear that they “work with select clients only.” When the kind of content being produced is as intensive as what they are offering, they want to make sure that they’re only working with clients who share a similar dedication to quality over quantity, looking for long-term growth and sustainable results.

And so, the first step in working with Content Powered’s blog management service is to get acquainted with one another. There isn’t a simple “sign up” and “pay here” type of process on the Content Powered website. Instead, the first thing you’ll need to do is schedule a call. During that call, they’ll learn about your business and your goals, seeking out the right kind of “voice” for your blog articles and investigating the competitors in your space. It’s also during this time that you can discuss the level of involvement, as well as overall content strategy.

After that, there’s an onboarding process that involves getting enrolled for billing, providing access to your blog and analytics, setting up the rank tracking software and so on. From there, they’ll start “feeding your blog” by writing the content to fit with your schedule and requirements. 

The Complete Blog Post

The service doesn’t end when the posts are published either, as they’ll follow up with improvements and reporting. This really is a full service solution. To illustrate, you might inspect a couple of the case studies they have listed on the site. 

Take this one, for example, of a consulting firm. In this particular case, Content Powered got started with a fresh new blog, taking it from zero to over 12,000 organic visitors per month. This isn’t just a vanity metric either. Organic blog visitors make up more than four-fifths of the website’s total traffic, representing a huge exposure and conversion opportunity.

Many of these visitors may not have come across this consulting firm otherwise, but now they’re on their site, reading their content, and interested in learning more about how they can benefit. Indeed, overall revenue has increased by more than 600% in the two years the blog has been around. These are real results that really feed directly into the bottom line. 

That’s a real, measurable return on investment.

How Much Does It Cost?

Content Powered operates on a simple pricing structure

You don’t have to choose between multiple tiers of service or pick your options on an a la carte basis. Instead, they only offer one pricing plan. The signature service includes everything we’ve discussed above — like 2000-3500+ words per post, unlimited edits, a dedicated in-house writer, up to 20 unique blog images, complete SEO, ongoing content strategy and more — starting from $999 per month.

That rate can go up or down, depending on your specific requirements. If you need more posts, you can. If you want fewer posts, that’s a possibility too. These are all things you would discuss over that initial phone call. When you’re ready, contact them by scheduling a call or sending an email. 

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Search Engine Optimisation

How Can You Get High Quality Backlinks in 2020?

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If you’re the owner of a small business, the fact that 20% of small businesses fail within their first year will both daunt and haunt you. However, the fact that you have control over the success level of your business will give you hope. You’re probably wondering exactly what strategies you can employ to remain solidly outside this statistic. The answer comes in the form of one simple word: backlinking.

Building high quality backlinks is essential for any business that’s taking the necessary steps to dip its toes into online marketing and blogging. If you don’t use the technology at your disposal, you’re setting yourself up for failure, so it’s crucial in the modern era that you know how to blog effectively with SEO and incorporate backlinks into your marketing strategies.

Here, we’re going to talk about the best strategies for link posting, so read on to grow your business and enhance success.

Know the Basics

Before you can employ strategies for obtaining quality backlinks, it’s crucial that you know the basics of backlinking.

The word refers to a simple concept: one page linking to another within a blog post. You know the 20% statistic in the first sentence of this blog post? Yeah, that’s a backlink- it takes you to another page related to the post that you’re reading. A backlink is the SEO equivalent of a book rec sheet that recommends novels based on the genres that you’ve already shown interest in.

The importance of backlinks comes at two levels: significance to search engines and significance to users. On the search engine level, having good backlinks on your blog posts helps algorithms determine how reliable your page is. On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll have a good time getting more clicks if other blogs backlink to your site. Not only will people reading those posts be redirected to your page, but search engines will believe your content is important and worth linking to if many other sites include backlinks to your posts.

On the user level, backlinks work as a great form of marketing because they connect the internet user to sites related to those they’re already on. This allows them to see why the services of the blog they’re reading are a good choice to purchase. Even if the page isn’t selling anything, it directs the user to other information that they may like to know.

Use the Right Sites

In order to get high quality backlinks, the first thing you’ll need to do is use websites to check their quality. You want to find high PageRank (PR) backlinks. Doing so ensures that you as well as the content you’re linking to reap the benefits of backlinking.

To gain a greater understanding of this technology, check out the best backlink checker out there. This SEO tool will look into the PR index of the link posting you want to incorporate into your post and ensure that you’re only posting high PR backlinks. Software like Semrush saves you work and stress trying to click through search engines in an attempt to find out whether your backlinks are effective. It also ensures that you’ll have more success finding quality backlinks than you would have if you were just guessing on how to link.

It’s All About Relationships

Building strong professional relationships is a good way to both get high quality backlinks and be linked to by other pages. If you establish a strong rapport with a) a company that often uses your services (or vice versa), or b) a company related to yours but not in direct competition with it, you can have a mutually beneficial relationship. When you both link to one another in blog posts, you boost the traffic on both your websites by a lot.

Furthermore, if you have a relationship with the other blogger, you’ll know that linking to them is credible. You’ll know that you’re getting high PR backlinks because their site ranks highly, too.

Guest Posting

Guest posting with SEO is a great way to get people to use your site in backlinking.

A guest post (or guest blog) is essentially when you pay another service to use your site as a backlink. Professional SEO bloggers will then insert these backlinks organically into blog posts for the other website. Sometimes, both you and another company can agree to guest post for each other, ensuring the same mutually beneficial relationship that you would get after building a strong professional relationship. (This can also be the beginning of one such relationship!)

Reclaim Your Links

Link reclamation is another strategy essential to posting high quality backlinks on your blog. Essentially, reclaiming links means that you’re going back through your previous blog posts and eliminating broken or low PR backlinks that you’ve posted before. These links can be replaced with quality backlinks that boost your credibility to search engines.

Reclaiming links is important because the fact that you don’t want any broken links on your site is Website Owner 101. They look sloppy, but more than that, they make you look like you aren’t credible. Users will turn away from you because they believe you don’t care. More than that, though, you’ll be losing out on the opportunity to get the benefits of high PR backlinks.

Get High Quality Backlinks

Employing the top backlinking strategies can be a challenge, especially for a smaller business. Still, it’s absolutely necessary. The payoff is great and everything will be worth it when your organic traffic shoots up faster than you can say the word ‘backlink.’

Now that you know the best tips for getting high quality backlinks and boosting your site traffic, it’s time to get some more blogging tips that will get you hundreds of clicks in no time at all. Check out the ‘contact’ tab on our page to speak with a knowledgeable professional about marketing and blogging strategies that will help grow your business overnight.

Good luck!

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Search Engine Optimisation

How to Create More Clickable Google Search Snippets

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Google search results are becoming ridiculously competitive. Plus, Google’s search results are becoming incredibly engaging: Many search users prefer to use search results (open “People Also Ask” results, clicks image and video carousels, etc.) that getting a click from search results is getting harder and harder.

With the introduction of new and flashier ways to be seen, you still have to learn how to creatively and dynamically exploit those offered tools. Being seen with so many others attempting the same technique is just as hard as it was when visibility relied only on ranking.

How to get more people click your search listing in SERPs? Here are three really effective ways:

1. Monitor Your Click-Through

The first step to improving your search snippet visibility is to set up monitoring of how your pages are performing right now and get alerted if anything changes.

Finteza is an advanced analytics platform allowing you to keep a close eye on your site performance in search and all the various channels.

To monitor your click-through from organic search:

  • Register an account at Finteza
  • Add their tracking code to your site and give it some time to accumulate some data
  • Click “Sources” and there choose “Search”
  • Go to “Pages” to see how your top landing pages are performing in search:

Finteza

This gives you bird’s eye view on your site organic performance in organic search. It’s a great way to analyze and evaluate your old content. Using Finteza, you can also set up a retargeting campaign to target those search referrals better if they choose to return to your site.

Repeat steps above at least weekly to see if any of those pages start losing clicks from search: These might need some work. Here’s exactly what you may want to do:

2. Use Semantic Analysis

Google uses a variety of analysis methods to identify high-quality content that meets their users’ needs. One of the key components of Google’s content evaluation process is semantic analysis.

Basically speaking, semantic analysis is about clustering your key topic into subtopics and concepts that constitute it. To give a quick example, if we were to apply semantic analysis to [hiking], we’d come up with a variety of underlying concepts including, National Parks, Mountains, picturesque trails, being outdoors, and even birdwatching.

All of those concepts relate to hiking in some way or another.

Broadly speaking, semantic analysis helps machines understand natural language – the way that humans communicate – including context, goals, etc.

When it comes to search optimization, semantic SEO helps:

  • Create more indepth and richer content that meets Google’s expectations
  • Optimize for intent (what’s the end goal behind each search)
  • Give Google enough context for them to create a more clickable search snippet for your listing.

Another example of semantic analysis in action is Google’s results for [where it was filmed]. While the query is seemingly absolutely generic, Google is able to understand this question relates to the movie “It”.

Semantic SEO

Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis tool that goes right to the source, i.e. Google search snippets. For each query you type, it would collect Google’s search snippets and apply semantic analysis to them to come up with the list of underlying concepts:

Text Optimizer

[TextOptimizer’s results for [where it was filmed] – as you can see the tool got the actual context of the query and clustered it into related topics]

Including 20-25 of these concepts into your content will help Google better understand your text, and create richer more clickable search snippets. Here’s a more detailed review of the site I did previously.

3. Optimize for Rich Snippets

Rich snippets have become the new keywords. These little details are what causes your listing to “pop” in a search, catching the eye of the user no matter what place on the first page you occupy. Proper use of rich snippets are a requirement for being seen.

“Rich snippets” are search results providing the user with more answers right within SERPs. To qualify for rich snippets your web page should have rich markup:

Here are the supported types of rich snippets:

Reviews

If you have reviewed a tool or a product, use Aggregate Rating structured data for your search snippet to look like this. This will populate stars in search that definitely draw an eye!

Reviews

Recipes

Recipes will have some nutritional and preparation information, like how long it takes to cook and how many calories are in each serving.

recipes

Events

Events will show dates and times for each event for quick reference. Every event name is linked in search results giving you more clickable links in search.

Event schema

Business

There’s a number of structure data types that allow you to add more details to your brand knowledge graph (NOT for local businesses though).

These include: Official social media accounts, logo, and the corporate contact:

Corporate Contact

Movies and Books

Movies and books will also show off a ranking system, and some product pages have a star rating alongside price.

HowTo

HowTo markup will help Google to locate more information from your tutorial, for example, number of steps, time to complete, etc.:

HowTo

HowTo Schema shouldb’t be used for recipes though. Other than that there are no official restrictions to certain types of tutorials that can have it.

One word of caution here: Only use structured data when it absolutely makes sense. Google frowns upon using Schema just for the sake if rich snippets. If it is not an actual review, don’t use the ratings markup, as it could backfire. Google actually sends manual penalties for a structured abuse, so read the documentation properly to make sure you follow all the rules!

Optimizing for rich snippets relies heavily on whichever website builder and/or CMS you are using. For most of them there are lots of plugins and addons allowing to quickly integrate structured markup.

The above tips will hopefully help you generate more clicks from your current organic positions without having to invest in improving it. See it as a low-hanging fruit opportunity to improving your traffic!

Do you have a tip for optimizing search snippets? Let us know in the comments!

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