How to Write Panda-Friendly Articles

Is Article Marketing Dead?

The question isn’t whether or not article marketing is dead; The real question is how to adapt your article marketing to a post Panda SEO era. After watching the top article directories lose anywhere from 50% to 80% of their traffic, it’s clear that a new strategy is well overdue. Matt Cutts publicly announced the increasing ineffectiveness that article marketing will have on your search engine rankings. Usually, you have to read close between the lines with Matt but this time he just came out and said it

1. Social Article Marketing

Take Matt Cutts’ advice and stay away from article directories and instead focus more on Web2.0 and social media sites. That being said, the best channels for social article marketing are platforms that integrate Web2.0 with social media communities. A few examples of these are Hubpages, Squidoo and Tumblr. These sites not only offer a platform to distribute your articles but they also offer social communities by allowing you to do things like comment, bookmark, share, follow and attract other followers. This allows the Google Panda to judge the quality of your content not by the keyword density or the word count but by the user activity surrounding it. No longer is just posting an article good enough. Now that article must get commented on, shared, tweeted, dugg, stumbled, liked and +1 before Google will consider it worth a damn.

2. Article Marketing for the Masses

Take the time to do some guest posting. Find relevant, quality sites and offer them your high-quality content in exchange for a link. News sites, forums, white papers are all good ways to get your article out to the masses. It’s easy to see how this is making better use of your content in comparison to letting it get buried in some failing article directory.

3. High-Quality Rich Media Articles

Sorry folks, its time to put the spinner to rest! Take your content’s quality to the next level not just by improving your writing skills and following the Google Webmaster High-Quality Guidelines but also by including better images, audio, video or interactive flash. Google used to not like large images that load slow but now it’s actually worth sacrificing the load time for rich media.

panda-seo-articlesWriting Panda-Friendly articles is the foundation of any modern day SEO campaign. Googlebot armed with the new Panda algorithms is scouring the internet looking for poorly written content and punishing anyone that doesn’t comply. This is why changing up your article writing style may be one of the most valuable Post-Panda SEO tips I have to offer.

4. Small Informational Bites

Keep the paragraphs short; Between 3 to 6 sentences long and separate them with headers. Online writing is different than normal print publications in the sense that the average online reader is less engaged and therefore, wants to read small bites of information. Rather than having large blocks of text that might make a reader click away, keep your paragraphs short and packed full of information. No fluff!

5. Semantic Keyword Density

2% keyword density is too much in the Post-Panda era as a 1000 word article would have to mention the keyword at least 20 times and this totally looks spammy. Instead, use keyword synonyms or semantically related keywords because according to Matt Cutts, Google loves synonyms. An example could be replica watches, imitation watches, counterfeit watches or fake Rolexes. Using this strategy you can really get your keyword density up to 3% or even 4% without raising red flags with Googles webspam team. I also suggest reading my more in-depth article titled Expert Keyword Research.

6. Create Bulleted or Numbered Lists

Readers like to see bulleted and numbered lists because it helps them find useful information when skimming or scanning your article. In addition, search engines read the HTML attributes that create these list and give more weight to the article. You can put the whole article into a numbered format as I have done here or just create a number or bullet list summarizing, outlining or indexing the subject matter.

7. Use More Than Just Text

Other forms of online content increase the quality of your SEO-friendly articles. Include high-quality images, polls, relevant videos, quizzes, graphs, tables, charts or flash. A great example of this would be Squidoo or Hubpages; These guys won’t even publish your article unless they include a few of these bells and whistles.

8. Panda Approved Article Length

Some topics require more words than others however, longer is almost always better so try to aim for a minimum of 750 words. While this article may only be around 750 words it is packed with information, reads as a step-by-step guide and fully covers the topic. If I was writing about nuclear fusion, I would expect to write a couple of thousand words to accurately discuss the topic.

9. Give Outbound Links

This sounds crazy right?!? Why in the world would you want to give away links and lose your link juice? Link to your sources, not only because its proper journalism but also because Google likes to crawl as much as possible so if you can provide a relevant link to a helpful resource and the user clicks-through and sticks, it shows Google that your content was informative and high quality. Here are the dos and don’ts, do not link to any page or site that competes for the same type of traffic. Link only to high authority sites like .edu, .gov or any high PR site.

10. If Outsourcing Your SEO Articles

Outsourcing your article writing is tricky because few companies out there understand these Panda-friendly article guidelines or if they do understand them, they don’t want to follow them because the time and costs associated. That being said, if you will be outsourcing your SEO articles to other countries like India, Philippines and Romania make sure the copywriters write English like Americans write it. Common mistakes are punctuation, incorrect singulars and plurals, future, past and present tenses and poor sentence construction. Even little things like “I am interested to cars” when a true English speaking person would say, I am interested in cars. If an 8-year-old child can tell the difference, then you better believe a multibillion dollar company like Google can tell the difference too.

11. Create User Activity

seo-articles-panda1Easier said than done but the basis is to try to get the reader to engage by asking questions or evoking them to comment below. Google loves to see user generated content and user activity. The best way to give an example of this is by asking you a few questions here.

  • Was this article helpful?
  • Are there a few things that you might have disagreed with?
  • Is there anything I left out?

SEO is Not an Art, it’s a Science

The Science of SEO

There’s a way of thinking that is counterproductive to solving SEO problems and it’s the old saying that SEO is an Art. Now, after 10 years of updates and algorithm changes, I have to digress because that way of thinking has to change.

Is SEO an Art?

In the early days of SEO, I was less experienced and less familiar with the actual mechanisms of how stuff worked. SEO was new and exciting but it was also was foggier and had lots of mystery surrounding it. Back then, one could make simple tweaks to their website’s code or text and get ranked but Google was just learning too, so they often made mistakes and found it hard to close the loopholes. But now, most of the kinks have been ironed out, enough to consider SEO a true science and here’s my explanation.

Science comes from the Latin word scientia, meaning knowledge or to know something. The laws of science are simple, in order for something to be a fact it must be reproducible in a laboratory or a controlled test. Nowadays, SEO has evolved to the point where all occurrences and fluctuations can be analyzed with statistical data and tested to produce the same results time and time again. Matt Cutts and his team can measure the results at around 97% to 99% accuracy to the impact of billions of websites worldwide.  Just to give you a comparison, we are only about 99% sure the Atom really exists but they built the A-bomb.

seo-is-an-art

This is why when people use the expression SEO is an Art, I cringe! Worse yet, when I hear, there are different ways it could be done or there is more than one way to skin this cat.

The fact of the matter is that they are ALL mistaken. There is no more hocus pocus in SEO.  Instead, theres always a right and a wrong way to do things. The guidelines are clear as black and white and every action taken can either hurt or help your website. The effects can be measured and tested.Google brags that over 500 algorithms control the results and they are constantly being updated. There are testable, mathematical codes that are as accurate as quantum physics and therefore, factual and true. Sorry to disappoint the superstitious people of the world but SEO is a science and

Google brags that over 500 algorithms control the results and they are constantly being updated. There are testable, mathematical codes that are as accurate as quantum physics and therefore, factual and true. Sorry to disappoint the superstitious people of the world but SEO is a science and I’ve still yet to see an SEO problem that I couldn’t identify directly in either the Google Webmaster Guidelines, Google SEO starter guide and other Google resources.

Am I Wrong Here?

If you or anyone you know would like to call me out or challenge me on this statement, just send the domain name of the site and nothing more and I am sure to identify exactly which algorithms or Webmaster violations are affecting the site. One of my favorite things to do is solve SEO mysteries and I haven’t found one yet that I can’t figure out.

And remember, next time you hear, SEO is an Art it may be time to look for a certified consultant to come in and clear things up.