|Generating Content to keep Google Happy|
We started working with an SEO company int he past couple of weeks who we are mostly just consulting with to find out why our rankings are suffering so much.
To start, they told us off the top, we were hit by Panda on July 24th, to a very slow, gradual decline and again on Dec 22nd. (Both in 2012).
We are an ecommerce site and is product and link heavy, and content thin, we have written content on all of our product pages but not a word on any of our category pages. We were told that this is causing Google to see us as having "extremely thin content". So our first move is to add a block of content to the bottom of each Page 1 of all category and subcategory pages to add 300 words or so of content about the category.
My question is, is there a product or a tool that exists that will generate content for us based on keywords that we provide that is of any actual value? I tend to lean on the side of writing it ourselves, then it is unique and informative. but the man hours that it will take to add content to 500+ pages could get expansive.
Would searching for a content generator be a waste of time when trying to please Google or are there any real gems out there that the the big guys are using that are so good that they don't upset google or create duplicate content?
Mods Note: Please remember that mentioning specific products is not allowed. We can discuss how best to address this situation and if using automated tools is a smart idea.
[edited by: goodroi at 6:39 pm (utc) on Apr 30, 2013]
If you search around, you'll find two different types of services:
1) Services that are oriented towards the SEO community, and are garbage. They either steal content and spin it, or use crappy PLR content and spin it. Either way, unreadable garbage that you don't want.
I've seen one that produced grammatically-correct content, but it seemed to do that by stealing source sentences from lots of different articles, and assembling them into one article. Grammatically correct, but not truly readable,
2) Services that are based on artificial intelligence, and are typically only useful (right now) in a very narrow context, and even then, with an enormous amount of expensive setup. For example, it is used with success in auto-generating textual weather forecasts, movie review websites, etc. Requires environments with rich and structured underlying, data. Also requires tons of setup for the verbiage variations.
There is an "almost automated" approach that would be much cheaper, and produce a broader array of content types. The most well-known "article writing service website" offers an api where you can purchase written blog posts and then publish them as they are finished. You can either write the binding code yourself, or if you use wordpress, they offer a plugin. Of course, if you have the articles going to an open pool of writers, the quality will vary.
MelissaB, I've been down this road with no success. We rewrote all our product descriptions and added content to all our category pages (written by professional writers) but it made no difference.
Out of curiosity, do you sell something widely available on lots of other sites or would you say your products are unique to you (or you have a unique angle that sets you apart from the competition)?
|Generating Content to keep Google Happy |
The fact we have to have these threads says there something really wrong with the way people at Google reason and therefore write the algorithm. You should not have to continually, constantly create content to keep Google happy and continue ranking.
You should be able to just do what's best for your visitors and if that's the currently published information, then that's what it is. Why everyone has to be a "news source" or "product review site" that constantly publishes information to keep ranking is beyond me and borders on ridiculous in some situations imo.
It also leads directly to questions like these:
|My question is, is there a product or a tool that exists that will generate content for us based on keywords that we provide that is of any actual value? |
And they wonder why they have such a tough time keeping spam out of the index? Hmmmm...
In returning to the regularly scheduled "how to keep the insanity of some portions of the algo happy so you can continue having visitors" discussion.
Write it yourself. Definitely.
|I tend to lean on the side of writing it ourselves, then it is unique and informative. but the man hours that it will take to add content to 500+ pages could get expansive. |
“There are no short cuts to any place worth going.”1
We've seen this movie and it's no fun but it has to be done. Forget google for a minute, what is the purpose of these 500+ for your users? We had over 9,000 that we considered "navigational pages", thin pages between where the customer is and where we want them to be. We bit the bullet and added topical, unique, helpful content to every page. User interaction on the site increased exponentially site-wide.
1. quote from Beverly Sills
I agree with Shepherd. What are you selling that you need 500 category and subcategory pages? The site I work on is pretty big, but even we manage to fit the products into a couple dozen.
I'd first see if you can pare down these pages into something more manageable and then write your content.
Write it yourself for a COUPLE of pages, and see if you notice an improvement.
But honestly, 100 words, or even 300 words per page is not going to make that much difference in my opinion, specially if they're just written to make Google happy.
(That's a pretty boilerplate recommendation from your SEO company; I hope you picked a good one)
Your site needs to project the signals that will make users consider it to be synonymous with whatever your niche is. Trust, authority, and why your users love you and how you're better than everyone else. Adding text to category pages may not be sufficient to help with that.
Which brings us back to my question MelissaB. Before wasting your time and money pumping the site full of waffle ask yourself if the site offers anything different. If the answer is no I'd focus on that instead.
Panda is highly proficient at eliminating ecommerce sites that don't add value. Mindlessly adding content won't change that.
Thanks for all the input. Concensus seems to be 'write it yourself', which is the answer I was looking for. I just wanted to cover by bases as its a cost cutting question I've been asked by my boss.
Our site is a great ecommerce site, give the customer what they want, great pictures, great product info, great prices, fast service.. i could go on and on... So from a user perspective, we're on the money. But from an SEO perspective, it's thin and not informative. So basically we dont tell the user what the pages are about using words, becuse the massive amoutn of products and prices do the talking. but being thin on content is leaving us out on the woods unable to be found by the users.
So there we have it. I'll be getting started on writing 500 pages of content for 500 categories, 300 words a piece any minute now.
MelissaLB, you say its a great site and service but you didn't say whether you're doing anything different to the competition.
You need words on the page for google to understand the page but google understood just fine prior to the july 24th Panda so I would question the SEOs reasoning here. Adding informative, useful content is always worthwhile but I wouldn't bank on it solving Panda issues. Been there, tried it, got the t-shirt and blew a load of cash in the process, didn't work.
Next may day, tell me whether what you did helped you.
As you're thinking of content that you can write, don't just try to add value to your site. Try to add value to the internet.
I had some Panda problems of my own that lasted about 9 months, and that's the mindset that got me out of it. Add value to the internet by a) doing something new or b) doing something differently.
I think You need to make it manually :( If You use content maker program or website, the quality of content gonna be so bad.
I guess the core question is to get out of Panda do you do on page SEO as MelissaLB is wanting to do or do you go down a branding type route such as Sand suggests ?