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August 5, 2013

Wake Up Call For Business Owners: The Quality of Your Content Matters

I have been producing content for the Internet since the late-1990s, and I started working as a freelance writer in 2001. Beginning in late-2004, I started offering my writing services as a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) specialist. I have done everything from low-cost content creation to high-dollar SEO services, and I have done very well with each incarnation of my writing business.

During my time online, I have seen the good, bad and ugly of content creation.

For Example…

In 2005, I had one particular client, who simply did not understand the true role of content creation and the search engines in the promotion of his business.

Back in those days, some supposedly genius SEO-guru convinced a large portion of the webmaster community that we could improve our search engine rankings by focusing on “keyword density” in the content we created for public consumption.

This particular client had sent me a payment of $1,500 for content creation, and then he insisted that I should follow his “keyword density” guidelines when creating the content.

Now, this client knew just enough about SEO writing to be dangerous, but not enough about SEO to be effective.

Very literally, he honestly believed that he was the smarter person in our conversations about how to create effective SEO content.

To a certain degree, you should always let your clients believe that they are smarter than you — the provider, because after all, they were smart enough to hire you. But at a certain point, as the provider, you should also try to prevent your client from making the kind of bone-head mistakes that could damage the client’s business.

This person had hired me for my expertise, then proceeded to tell me how to do my job. He wanted me to create the kind of content that I would have been embarrassed to create for anyone.

Keyword Density 101

In case you don’t understand the concept behind keyword density, the theory was that if we created content that contained our target keyword at a particular frequency within the content, then we would rank better inside of Google.

The brilliant people behind this idea were teaching the webmaster community that if they had a keyword density of six to eight percent, then they could most certainly count on Google ranking their content high in the search engine results.

What this meant was that out of every 100 words in a piece of content, the target keyword should be used six to eight times. So, within a 1,000-word article, we would need to use the target keyword 60 to 80 times.

To put this in perspective, until the end of the previous paragraph in this article, I had already written just 434 words. So, if I were trying to rank for the word ‘SEO,’ I would have used that word 26 to 35 times in the first part of this article.


A Mind Boggling Misinterpretation of Bad Advice

This fellow who had hired me to create SEO content for his website delivered some absolutely mind-numbing instructions on how to create his content.

His initial guidance was to create the content incorporating “15 percent keyword density on his primary keyword, eight percent keyword density on his secondary keyword and seven percent keyword density on his third primary keyword.”

For those folks who slept through math class, he wanted a keyword density of 30 percent, or one of his three keywords to be used once in every three words in his article.

I tried to be as delicate as I could be, in an effort to help the client see the foolishness of his instructions.

I called him on the phone. After my challenge, he was ready to compromise some on his instructions, but his new guidance of eight percent — six percent — six percent was still a 20 percent keyword density, i.e. one keyword for every five words on the page.

Why We Create Content

I tried to explain to my client that getting ranked in the search engines is important, but if our potential customers find our websites in Google’s search results, then visit our web pages and find content that looks like it was written by a six-year-old, then we would lose that potential customer in as much time as it takes to hit the back button in one’s browser.

Much to my surprise, the client responded that it did not matter what prospective clients would find on his website, so long as they got to his website in the first place.

I was flabbergasted. I told him, “Seriously? You do realize that if someone lands on your website from a search engine and sees content written this badly that there will be nothing you can do to keep that prospect at your website… Don’t you?”

He responded that he just wants to be ranked on page one of Google and that nothing else mattered.

Would Have, Should Have, Could Have

I should have immediately processed a full refund for this guy.

I could have, but silly me… I thought I could help him see the error of his ways… And besides, I wanted to keep the $1,500.

About to pull my hair out, I finally told the guy that he should let me create one article using his eight—six—six formula, so that he could see how it would look in the real world.

My thought was that he would see what a fool’s errand he was sending me to do, then he would wake up to the silliness of his instructions. But, he was blinded by the promise of tons of free traffic from Google…

I went ahead and wrote the sample article for him using the eight—six—six formula that he prescribed for his writing job…

I should have known better.

You Cannot Fix Stupid

After sending the client a sample article written with the eight—six—six guidelines, my client fired me, telling me “I was the worst writer he had ever seen.” LOL

I always wondered if that guy ever figured out the problem was the client and not the writers he chose to hire.

Finally in the Post-Panda, Post-Penguin World

Google still has some silly websites in its top 10 listings for certain keywords. But for the most part, Google is doing a much better job at identifying and eliminating from its search results the awful content that some webmasters produce on their websites.

I must admit that I am a learning-geek. I love to learn.

When I first turned on the Internet at my house in 1995, I was on top of the world. Finally I would be able to learn about anything I wanted to learn about.

In the early days, in the pre-Google days, it was hard to find the information I wanted. When it was still a new search engine, Google was a real joy to use.

Then the idiots who played the Google SEO games destroyed the value of Google for consumers. Unfortunately, Google simply did not have any real competition for years, so we kept using it to find lukewarm information.

Google became the bad habit we could not give up.

Making a Difference in the Lives of Consumers

As a consumer, I want access to valuable and high-quality information. And, I don’t think I am alone in that goal.

But far too many webmasters are like that guy I told the story about in this article. They care more about rankings than giving consumers the kind of information they really want.

The beauty is that in the modern age of social media, if you will invest the time and money into creating outstanding content, consumers will find your content — with or without Google. As more people find your content, more people will share your content with their online friends and acquaintances. And as more people share your content, the more Google will smile upon your website.

Additionally, when folks find that you create excellent content, they will pay closer attention to you and your sales message.

The time has come for us to stop playing silly word games with the Google search algorithm and focus instead on giving consumers the kind of information that will make a difference in their lives.

When we start giving consumers what they want, they will give us what we want — more attention and more business.

The bottom line is that you can write your own content, or you could hire someone who lives and breathes writing to create content on your behalf. If you would like to leave content creation to the professionals, you could always hire professional freelance writers at: Bill Platt has been delivering quality ghost writing services online, since early 2001.