Daniil Monin, one of the mentors of the 404 Hub accelerator, St. Petersburg, and SEO specialist for more than 10 years, wrote about the promotion of content sites.
An eternal battle of good and evil always means the alternate dominance of each of them. Even in tales, though good traditionally triumphs over evil, dark forces always have their moments of triumph. For search engines, this evil is often the webmasters.
This explains the appearance of ever more demanding and sophisticated filters, improved sorting algorithms, the emergence of new groups of factors that allow the search engines to determine with increasing accuracy if your site deserves to occupy a prominent position, or if it deserves to be filtered and then receives a misery of search traffic.
Last year, me and a well-known representative of Google, had a dialogue that finally gave me the strength to express my opinion — “SEO specialists are only a simple temporary obstacle for them on the path for an ideal search results selection”.
But are these filters really so perfect? And the algorithms – infallible? And is there no more tricks which can be used in order to artificially move the project to the top?
Just look at Google’s search results after using a low competent keyword, – it is obvious that the “evil” side is still on the road. Yes, times have changed – “doorways” in forum profiles are already part of the past, MFA in its classic form (minimal design, everything to improve the CTR) have virtually disappeared, and it is almost impossible to find a messy website with a multitude of low-quality links through high competence search queries. But doorways have appeared on public servers, also on YouTube, MFA now pretends to be an “information portal”, only after changing the design. And the links are still being sold & bought, despite the popular opinion “Yandex” doesn’t count links anymore”.
So what are the most important factors now when working to promote a “white” informational project?
We will consider “informational project” as a site full of articles which offers the user some information that actually might be useful, instead of “buy windows cheap PVC Moscow”.
Natural healthy traffic is often much cheaper, because it is worse in the sense of conversion, and the existing offers currently do not cover nearly 5% of all semantics.
This is, in effect, an information website: a place where people can (and should) come across using an informational search query.
A time when in order to succeed you only needed to buy a lot of cheap links, make the statistical weight of the site bigger and fill your texts with your keywords, is already a thing of the past. In our case of white informational websites, the biggest value is, in fact, the user’s behavior – both on the search results page and on your resource.
For example, a visitor came to your site and left after a few seconds – he realized that there was nothing interesting for him, he returns to the search results page – such a bad result for you. On the other hand, if he reads some articles, goes through several internal links, reads more articles on other pages, and finally leaves some comments – is a good result.
Even more, if he adds your website to the bookmarks, talks about it in his personal blog and on social media collecting a lot of likes – that’s a brilliant result!
In the past, Yandex had ten important groups of classification factors (host, URL, regional, reference …). Now, the most important factor is the behavioral one (also called visitor satisfaction factor), which indirectly affects older ones.
For example, you left a like — social factor has been increased. You spend half an hour on the website, where you read many articles and wrote 20 comments – behavioral factor improved. Then you leave a link to the website on your blog – linking factor. And so on.
But how can you satisfy the visitor who had already examined more than a dozen pages of your competitors? How do you make your website a source of information? How to maintain it?
The answer is very simple and too unoriginal. It is possible that many of the webmasters had already heard the response of “Plato Schukin” – according to him, we must develop the site looking to make it more useful to actual people. And if we do it the right way, we will not be afraid of the “powerful” competitors, nor of periodic jolts in the SERPs.
Let’s look at the example of how to force the user to give preference to your site, instead of thousands of competing projects. For example, it was decided to create an informational website about construction.
During the planning stage, it is necessary to put yourself in the user’s place – and you have to do it before you start design elaborating and projecting.
What is interesting for the user, who seeks to “remodel bathroom yourself”? It seems like the answer is logical:
- He wants to understand what general options are talking about bathroom reforms;
- He wants to know which option is simpler, cheaper, better, and why;
- He wants to see what he will get in the end;
- He wants to learn how to make this remodel.
Despite the logical answer, “Yandex” will offer you dozens of websites not completely oriented to give answers to this questions. Why? Usually, the articles you find were written under strict Terms of reference that included something like – “volume of 2000-2500 characters without spaces, mandatory presence of all keywords & some images.” And that’s how they do! But we know, using only 2500 characters it is impossible to describe even the process of tile placement, let alone full reform information.
Write more than your competitors. Forget about weird word constructions that you got from some SEO statistics service. Forget about BM-25 and TF/IDF. The text should be nice and interesting to read for you, then, most likely, it will be interesting for someone else.
Respond to the questions
Years earlier, I collaborated on the creation of dozens of terrible MFA websites. Each of them was sharpened for a very narrow business niche, for example, motorcycle helmets made by specific brand (in addition, this brand wasn’t very popular). The main idea of such websites was the compulsion to click an AdSense banner because my visitor just couldn’t find any useful info on my website, so the only option he had – get out clicking ads related to helmets my site was about. I have actively used this easy technique, creating pages that contained a lot of “review” keyword, putting it on the headlines, in the texts, telling my visitors how cool is too read reviews about “brand x helmets”, and so on.
It worked before. At the beginning of behavioral factors, when no one knew how bad is “enter page = exit page” and “time spent on the page = 10 seconds”. All my MFA projects were successful, but I already knew that I will be forced to change my strategy very soon.
Care for the user
Do not try to force the visitor into understanding the main points of your article which is not even divided into paragraphs. Use relevant titles and subtitles & navigation lists to make it easy to understand what will be discussed later. Use starting words like – “Interesting part about …”, “worth considering …”, highlighting them from the general content.
Offer different types of content
Not everyone wants to read the text very carefully. In addition, there are several categories of people that differ according to the type of their perception – one through audio, another through the visuals, etc. Many search queries demand different types of the content inside: text, photos, videos. In some areas, the presence of a small image is clearly insufficient. For example, going back to reforms, if you want to repair your fence, and you are doing it the first time – you will be interested in a thousand little things. If the article has dozens of qualitative photos which can be enlarged, that’s a strong positive factor without any doubt.
Do not annoy your guests with ads
Try to avoid calling your visitors as “traffic” – they are real people in the first place. They have their interests, needs, and thoughts. It is obvious that those disgusting cheap ads with disturbing images will bring you income, but is it really what you need? Of course, any project should generate a profit, but that is what you really want? It’s your choice, to make a stable profit or tremble with fear after each “Yandex” update? Also, it is not necessary to start from the idea that “more text block – better.” Make your tests, look at CTR, CPM, collect the optimal number of blocks and their format. To evaluate the usefulness of your website, ask your friends to visit it. Of course, most likely they will tell you that everything is fine, but there is always a possibility that some of them will pay attention to something that did not come to your head before.
And don’t sell links!
This type of income started developing furiously after Sape launch. And at that moment it worked. It works now too. And it will work for some time in the future.
But for each sword, there is a shield, just as for each shield you can find a sword. Do not fight the search engines. If you want to link your project with another one – try it, but remember, this type of income shouldn’t go along with the white project you put your soul in.
I hope these simple tips will help you choose the right direction for developing your project, and guarantee you a good stable income!