SEO Blog > Tips on Writing Good Content

writing quality content for SEO

Google, when asked how to rank high, offer their cryptic answer, “write good content”. This means build pages that are useful to your visitors. Nearly every company writes its website from its own point of view. The company tells the world what the company thinks about itself. But that’s wrong. The audience sees the site from the audience’s point of view, not the company’s. Just like Google Quality Raters, ask yourself about the user’s intent, what the person intended by that search. What are they looking for? Look at examples of search queries from your audience in your website’s search box, your web analytics tool, Web 2.0 question/answer sites, or Twitter. Understand what they are trying to learn. Offer the answer that would count as the best answer for that query. Build pages that answer that query. Your webpages should be customer-centric. This matches how Google Quality Raters look at pages.

I know that this will be difficult for many sites. If you’re the webmaster for a small health clinic in Mexico City, it’s not feasible to write such articles. Many companies and organizations don’t have the resources, experts, or money to meet these high standards. Write the best you can and add citations for factual statements. Show where you got the information. Add a page with complete contact information, including names and the street address. Use good grammar and spelling.

There’s another approach. Again, look at the top ten results. The search engines found that people want to see a variety of results, not just the same type of result. People want to see webpages (text), news, products, Wikipedia articles, photos, videos, and social media. Offer a different type of format and the Quality Raters may add that to the results page. If the top ten pages are text articles about products, you could create a video or photo essay for your product.

Can Google Really Review Millions of Daily Searches?

There are billions of webpages and billions of searches per day. Can Google really review that?
You can easily calculate if this can be done. First, start by asking how many pages can be evaluated by Quality Raters.

Google’s rating tool monitors the workers. If they move too slow, they are reminded to work faster. Each reviewer has two minutes to review and rate a page. That’s 30 pages per hour. They’re allowed to work only 20 hours per week, so they review around 600 pages per week. Let’s say they work 50 weeks per year, so each person reviews 30,000 pages per year. Multiply by 8,000 Quality Raters to get 240 million pages per year. This has been going on since 2007 (seven years), so Google has reviewed some 1.7 billion pages. Let’s assume 30% inefficiency, so perhaps a billion pages have been reviewed. Each page is reviewed by three people, so at least 330 million pages have been manually reviewed.

Google looks at that body of data to make inferences about what indicates the quality of a page. They are using machine learning to understand pages. The result is a profile for types of quality. If quality raters can identify high-quality pages, then software can find additional high-quality pages.

This also regrettably means that you may have a good page, but if it matches the profile of poor pages, your page will be ranked as a poor page.

The Google Knowledge Graph

So what’s the implication of all of this? Where is Google going? This project and its body of data is the basis of the Knowledge Graph and the latest versions of the Google algorithm.

The Google Quality Raters look at what people ask, and they find the best replies to those queries. But instead of posting a list of webpages with the answers, Google now often just gives you the answer. This becomes important as people are moving from desktop to mobile. When you search with your phone, you don’t really want a list of websites that you’ll have to visit, one by one, and read until you discover the answer. You just want the answer.

For example, Google’s reviewers see that the queries “what is the height of the Eiffel Tower?” “how tall is the Eiffel Tower?” “how high is the Eiffel Tower” are all the same question. So Google gives you the answer, along with a short summary, in a box on the right side.

Eiffel Tower Height in GoogleAbove: When you search on a desktop computer, Google gives you the answer at the top, along with a short summary in a box on the right side, and the usual list of links on the left side.

That’s what Google shows you on a desktop computer. What does it show you on a mobile phone?

Eiffel Tower height on Mobile Google

Above: Try this on your mobile phone. Click the Google search box and speak “How tall is the Eiffel Tower?” Google’s voice tells you the “The Eiffel Tower is 984 feet tall” and shows you this.

See? Links to websites are gone. Google shows an answer which they themselves wrote. Google is evolving from a search engine (an index of web pages) into an answer machine.

This also works with visual search. Add the Google Goggles app to your phone and point your phone at that tall thingy and Google will tell you it is the Eiffel Tower. Google visual search can recognize just about any significant building or monument.

Your phone has geo-location (it looks at signals from GPS, wifi, and cell phone towers), so it knows you’re standing in the Champs de Mars in Paris and you say “Okay, Google, how tall is that thing over there?” Your phone will talk to you with the answer.

If your phone has a recent version of Android, it includes Google Now. These are short cards with information, such as weather and commute traffic. It also includes suggestions based on your interests, behavior, and locations. Google Maps has information about all locations, so Google can watch where your phone is and give you additional recommendations. If it sees that you like to go to Sichuan restaurants, it’ll suggest additional restaurants based on behavior of people similar to you who also like Sichuan restaurants. As data builds up, Google gets better at giving you suggestions.

Here’s an example of Google Now suggestions for me:

Andreas' Google Now

Above: Here is a Google Now card from my phone. It looked at my interests, searches, past locations, behavior, and perhaps my friends to see I might be interested in these events. Again, Google isn’t showing a list of links. Google created the cards, texts, and photos. Click one of those to see additional information (and you’ll get a card, similar to the one for the Eiffel Tower).

Now add Google Glass and Google+ to this. Google is moving to where you will use Google through your mobile device, not your desktop computer or laptop.

Google will also give people a spoken answer to a spoken query.

SEO for Your Images

So how can you use SEO if images don’t have keywords? It turns out search engines are pretty good at image recognition.

Add the Google Goggles app to your smart phone and take a snapshot of things, like book covers, wine bottles, and stuff in your refrigerator. It can identify them. On your desktop computer, search for art work, such as paintings by your favorite artist Sanford Robinson Gifford (1823-1880). Pick one his paintings at random and point your phone at it. Google Goggles will tell you the artist’s name and the title of the painting. See? It knows obscure painters. Point Goggles at landmarks, such as bridges, cathedrals, and buildings (you can also use photos from your travels). It can also identify most cars.

Google image search

Above: Try Google Image Search. Drag an image into the box and, generally, Google will be able to identify it. Make sure your logo and products can be identified by Google. It can also recognize a photograph of you.

You can also search images on your desktop computer at Take a photo of something and see if Google can identify it.

What about faces? Use Baidu on your phone and scan your friend’s face to find other people who look like her. Google only shows you other photos with similar shapes and colors.

How do you SEO your images? Post clear large photos of your logo, products, and packaging to your web pages or blog. Add your keywords to the page. Use your keyword in the file name. If it has a location, include GPS tagging.

Next week, in my LAST blog in this series, I’ll share a summary on Quality-Based SEO.

Read my last blog, comparing Technical SEO and Quality SEO.

Visit my guide: Content Marketing Central, full of insight and actionable tips to improve your content marketing strategy.

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Andreas Ramos

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