If you’re a WordPress user who plans on using content anywhere on your WordPress site or your client’s WordPress sites, you need stop what you’re doing and read what Google’s Matt Cutts recently said about the “new” rules of SEO Copywriting.
As a blogging platform, WordPress relies heavily on delivering valuable content in order to achieve high rankings. Sure, it’s nice to have back links and social book marks, but the content is what people come to your blog to read, so you need to get that right if you want good search engine rankings and a lot of traffic.
A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about how SEO, as we know it, only has two more years to live. I got some interesting comments, some of them from people who are still insisting that the old rules of SEO are just as important today as they’ve always been. I’m talking about rules like:
- Building lots of backlinks
- Keyword density
- Aligning your on page and off page SEO with the mystical Google algorithm.
But the new rules of SEO aren’t this cut and dried. They’re driven more by social principles than by the application of mathematical formulas. The primary mistake may bloggers and SEOs are still making is applying the old rules of SEO in their blogging and content writing.
They create content that’s “keyword rich,” but which read like this:
“WordPress Tutorials is our specialty on this website! If you’re sick of WordPress tutorials that are too hard to understand or which assume you already have good knowledge of WordPress development, you’ll love our WordPress tutorials. Our WordPress tutorials…”
-Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit, but you get the point. Have you ever seen a WordPress blog that reads like this ^ ranking at the top of the search engines?
Maybe several years ago. But the mighty Google Penguin and Panda updates have wiped those sites off the face of cyberspace. If you’re one of the WordPress users who saw your search engine traffic disappear during one of the last Google updates, you already know what I mean.
So if you don’t want this to happen in the future, you might be interested in hearing what Matt Cutts from Google recently said about the new rules of SEO copywriting….
The New Rules of SEO Copywriting: Keyword Density is Old News
Google technology has evolved a lot over the past 10 years. It used to be that their search spiders could only detect keywords based on exact matches and rank online content accordingly. So if you wanted to appeal to the search engines, you sometimes had to use funky sounding keyword phrases in your blogs and articles just to get the attention of the search engines.
That’s all changed.
Google now has the capability of determining the relevancy of blog and article content as well as web pages using clusters of keywords which are found distributed throughout your content. They’re even using synonym matches to determine content relevancy. Ever wondered how those blogs that didn’t seem to even contain your primary keywords were ranking above yours?
It’s because they’re not applying the same archaic rules of keyword density. Here’s what Matt Cutts said (quoted from an article released on August 30th of 2012 on sitepronews.com) about the use of keyphrases:
(underlines are mine)
“Keyphrases don’t have to be in their original form. We do a lot of synonym work so that we can find good pages that don’t happen to use the same words as the user typed. In general, though, if the words are on the web page (not in a spammy way, of course), that makes our job easier because we don’t have to rely on synonym matches to find good.”
What Matt is talking about here is better known as LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing). Great bloggers have known about this for years and that’s how they’ve been getting to the top of the search engine results and staying there.
Of course, you’re probably wondering about meta data: keywords, page titles and meta descriptions. Are those still relevant to getting your blog content ranked high? Let’s see what Matt Cutts recently said about this:
“People can overdo it to the point that we consider it keyword stuffing, and it hurts. I would just make sure you do it in natural ways where regular people aren’t going to find it stiff or artificial. That tends to be what works best.”
I know, a lot of my readers don’t like this Matt Cutts guy.
I even got a comment from someone hoping that Matt Cutts would die in 2 years instead of the old rules of SEO dying. But if you’re frustrated about what Google is or isn’t’ doing with your WordPress site (or Drupal if you’re still not aware of how superior WordPress is J), you might want to ask yourself whether you’re still playing by the right set of rules.
So now that we’ve talked about what’s changing and what NOT to do, let’s talk about what you can do to turn this change into an opportunity:
#1: Get SEO Amnesia for 30 Days
Try this for the next 30 days…forget about SEO altogether.
Focus instead on writing content that your readers will love. Share it on Twitter, Facebook and Google + using one of the many WPMU DEV social sharing plugins and start harvesting social media “votes” instead of worrying about link building and directory submission. Install the WP Customer Reviews plugin and start getting some user generated content working for you on your product pages.
Take all your focus off of pleasing the search engines and invest it 100% into giving your readers exactly what they want and need. Your rankings and traffic will increase, and I bet your blood pressure will go down too cause you’re connecting with people instead of trying to comply with some mysterious SEO algorithm.
#2: Apply the Three Rules of High Value Content
What does it mean to create high quality content? It’s not as complicated as it might sound. If you want to be a top WordPres blogger, there are only three rules you ever need to apply in your writing:
1. Relevancy: pick a niche and stick with it. Think deep and narrow instead of wide and shallow.
2. Popularity: stop worrying about bank links and start focusing on reader engagement and user generated content.
3. Novelty: do something different. Even if you have one group of raving fans and another group of raving critics. It’s better to stand out by rocking the boat a little then to blend in and be lost in the crowd.
Novelty is especially important if you want to become one of those celebrity bloggers. Unfortunately, it’s the first causality of SEO copywriting.
Matt Cutts said this:
“Never sacrifice the quality of your copy for the sake of the search engines.”
But I’ll take that another step and say you should never sacrifice your individuality for the sake of pleasing everyone. Pick a specific niche, connect with them and stand out in a way that will make them love you, even if everyone else thinks you’re a spaz.
#3: Partner With Google
Google probably isn’t going anywhere for a while, and I have a feeling Matt Cutts isn’t, so stop treating them like the enemy and find a way to partner with them. When you take away all the fancy SEO jargon, the bottom line is that Google is in the trust business.
People use Google because they trust Google to deliver relevant content…isn’t that why you keep using them instead of Bing or Yahoo? My crystal ball is telling me that keyword density and back linking will become less and less important and that those who keep have come to rely on these strategies will soon find themselves shaking their fists at Matt Cutts and at Google.
But many of them are pointing fingers at the wrong person. The power to gain high rankings and traffic lies within your hands, and the sooner you let go of the old rules and start applying these new ones, the better off you’ll be in the future.
See you at the top.