What’s quality to me might be utter garbage to you and vice versa. In recent years, Google has been issuing some guidelines regarding what constitutes a quality site.
You only need to look up Google’s quality guidelines to see what it sees as a quality website. The sad truth is that even if your website complies with all these quality reference guidelines, it still does not mean that your blog or website would rank high for the keywords that you are targeting.
That’s the sad reality of life. No amount of reassurance from Google will make that reality go away.
The truth is, there is a disconnect between what Google says and how Google actually treats your website. There are some webmasters that slavishly follow every word that comes out of Matt Cutts’ mouth and they have little to show for their efforts.
An Alternative Approach
Maybe the problem that the webmasters, who try to rank well, have is that they are looking at Google’s guidelines in terms of affirmative commands – things that you should do. Maybe the better approach would be to look at Google’s guidelines like the way the constitution or the Ten Commandments are written.
The US Constitution and the Ten Commandments both share key similarity. For the most part, the first 10 amendments to US Constitutions and Ten Commandments are written in the negatives instead of focusing on what people should do, or in the case of the constitution what the government should do or can do.
The focus is on what it cannot do. In the Ten Commandments, most of the commands are what people should not do. In SEO, maybe the focus should be on what webmasters or bloggers should not do.
In this spirit, these are the five signs that may indicate that you have a low quality blog. Note that I mentioned “may”. It’s a permissive word. It’s a word that is not completely sure. I don’t use the word “is” or some other word that indicates that a consequence necessarily follows, because the truth of the matter is we don’t know the exact secret sauce Google employs to determine if one blog is of high quality and another is garbage.
Just from several years of experience these are the signs, that have a higher likelihood than not of indicating, that you have a low quality blog in your hands.
You don’t interlink to past posts on your blog. This may indicate that you are just blogging to get notice for certain keywords from Google. Also, interlinking indicates that you keep track of your content and it also may mean that you are conscious of the past content that you have and you are building on that content.
Either you are indicating an update to that content by adding to it, or you are contradicting or creating an exception to the past content.
Regardless of what you’re doing, when you interlink this creates a relationship between your current content and your past content.
In a sense, it creates a holistic relationship between your content. This is normally not done by people that are just blogging for keywords. They‘re just sniping for keywords and they don’t really bother with interlinking.
This might be a red flag to search engines that your blog is not really that serious because you don’t care about your past posts. You focus mostly on the here and now. Again, this is not dispositive. However, it does raise red flags.
These pictures act as graphical cues for the readers of your blog posts. It makes the reading experience much easier. It “lubricates” your blog, so to speak.
Nobody wants to read a blog post that just consists of a massive text block. It is extremely intimidating. It also gets in the way of readability, that’s why you should break the monotony of your blog post by putting pictures.
Real blogs tend to develop community. Why? Because the bloggers personality is on full display. While the blog’s readers may initially go to the blog to look for specific information, if they read a blog for a number of times, they tend to get drawn to the personality of the blogger; especially if the blogger uses the most powerful word in blogging – the word “I”.
This community then grows not just around the content but also around the personality of the blogger. This community is normally reflected in the number of comments the blog has.
Also, it is a bridge way to the commenters linking back to the blog by mentioning the blog in their own blog post. You see where this is headed? If you have a community, you’re not just merely engaging conversations with people who read your blog.
Many of those people have their own blogs as well so the conversation transfers over to a blog conversation. Many of those people have social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter.
They can mention your blog there. It’s a real red flag when the blog doesn’t have a community. It’s very static. It’s a one directional blog – meaning the bloggers just talk out to devoid talking to a random person who may be drawn to the blog.
This lack of community raises a red flag with search engines who might think that these blogs are really just there to spam search engines or snipe certain keywords.
Keyword-driven vs. Personality-driven
A keyword-driven blog is very easy to spot. You will usually see the keyword in the title, repeated a few times in the subheadings and of course the body of the text.
Some bloggers even go the extra mile in highlighting the keyword with a bold font. This is a dead giveaway that the blog post is primarily interested in drawing traffic by search engines by targeting certain keywords.
There’s no shame in that game, however the problem is that the game is changing very rapidly considering the impact Panda and Penguin played on website traffic. All the keyword sniping game looks like it’s on its way out. You don’t want to find out the hard way when the latest ways of updates hit.
Keyword-driven content also tends to lead to a crappy or hard-to-read content. Remember when you are blogging for keywords, by definition, you’re not blogging for people.
You’re just trying to hit the keywords so the search engines will send you traffic. While again, there’s no shame in that game, you may want to reconsider going that route.
Google may be paying attention to bounce rate and if your blog post is sub written for search engines software and not for people, the bounce rate is going to suffer. Also, it’s going to be harder to read because the grammar may be problematic.
You may just be outsourcing it to the Philippines, India, or even to American writers who don’t really care about the reader so the awkward positioning of the keywords takes precedence over the actual reader of the post.
The solution to this is not to blog around keywords but to blog around your personality. Make your blog personality-driven. You have to understand that blogs gain their following when the regular readers detect certain personal spin to news, or to certain topics in a particular content category.
Eventually, they would be coming back to your blog not just for your content but also for your personality. Don’t let this fact go to waste. Insert your personality in to your blog and see how far that would take you.
Let’s face it. Anybody can come up with a keyword-driven blog but not everybody wants to put their personality in their blog, so this is a competitive key advantage.
No Blog Relationships
Just like no man is an island, no blog stands alone. Real blogs link to each other not just casually; they link to each other a lot. That’s why it’s no surprise that if you’re following a certain content category, the top blogs in that content category – say technology or gadgets – tend to talk about the same things.
While a lot of it is the herd mentality of many bloggers, it also reflects the fact that many blogs pay attention to each other. They blog around each other’s content and they really communicate and converse to each other through their posts.
You don’t want this to go to waste. This is a tremendous feature that blog communities have. Your blog should be part of that community. Why? Because, if for anything else, the backlinks are just too precious to ignore.
When another blog is talking about your blog post they are, by necessity, linking to you. This is a golden SEO opportunity. Don’t let it go to waste.
How do you become a part of a blog relationship? Use the golden rule. Treat others the way you want to be treated. So if you want to be linked to, you should make the first move and link out.
The normal way to link out is to link a phrase, quote from the blog, and then analyze it on your own blog. That way, the search engines would see that you are engaged in your blog’s category community.
If your blog does not have any relationships, red flags go up. It means it’s an isolated blog, and the suspicion arises that you just created a blog just to spam keywords.
Chris Walker, a prolific SEO/SEM guest blogger for http://www.marketingcopyexpert.com, wrote this guest post. If you are looking for high value blog content aimed at building your site’s authority and credibility, contact him at http://scr.im/chriswalker