There Are No More Shortcuts: Quality Content Is Key To Ranking With Google

    There was a time when you could simply stuff your search terms haphazardly into a webpage and manage to get it to the top of Google's search results. Things were so bad, you could pay someone in a developing country who barely spoke English to string together barely legible gibberish, and so long as it was structured properly, it had the potential to reach Google's first page of results.

    Google wasn't going to tolerate this sort of thing for long, of course, because it made them look incompetent in the eyes of their users. A series of changes   to their algorithm culminated in the Panda and Penguin updates, which put the final nail in the coffin of "black hat" SEO techniques.

    If you're putting content on the Web, you need to deliver value to readers to be ranked highly. Ask yourself if the content is something you would actually want to read, or if it's something you could see people sharing socially. If the answer to that question is "no," you need better content.

    Does your written content meet the following standards?

    It's Clear and Understandable

    Before anything, the content needs to be spelled correctly and adhere to rules of English grammar. AP Style is the most commonly used format on the Web, and some believe that it helps pages to be ranked higher by Google, but there's no firm evidence of this. Google will ding you for mistakes that violate the basic rules of English, however.

    It's Educational and Sharable

    While cat videos are probably the most commonly shared form of media on the internet, when it comes to writing people are looking for content that answers their questions and teaches them something new. This is the type of content people will voluntarily share through their social media accounts, which is the holy grail of generating organic traffic.

    It's of High Quality and Original

    Great content should not just be written with good grammar and contain information. It should be original. With so much material already written on the Web, it's nearly impossible to not repeat some information that can be found elsewhere in each article. The key is to present an original spin on an idea, or to add an interpretation that is unique. Simply reproducing other people's content in different enough terms to beat Copyscape isn't the creation of quality content, it's a mutation of the same tricks that Penguin and Panda did away with that puts your whole site on shaky ground.

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