Blogging is a routine part of modern SEO services. The typical online marketing firm recommends clients update their blogs at least once per week, if not more frequently. And those that do not have blogs are encouraged to start them. This is all well and good, but blogging is of very little value if you don’t understand the point behind it and how to use it effectively.
On far too many sites, blog content is more fluff than anything else. It appears to be written solely for the purpose of giving Google search terms to work with. Here’s the thing: websites are not pillows. They don’t need fluff.
Webtek, a Salt Lake City company that specializes in SEO services, explains that fluff content has exploded over the years. Having recently expanded their core services to include SEO for healthcare and the legal sector, they say they have noticed a lot of fluff in these two areas particularly.
What Constitutes Fluff
Online marketers and content creators frequently argue over what constitutes fluff. After all, one man’s fluff is another man’s wealth of information. Perhaps the best way to define fluff is to look at three of the many things Google algorithms analyze when ranking web pages.
1. Topical Meaning
The first thing algorithms try to figure out is meaning. In other words, what is the topic at hand? What is being discussed in this particular piece of content. This is what makes keywords so critical to effective SEO services. Keywords tell search engines what web pages are about.
2. Topical Relevance
Once a search engine determines the particular topic of a piece of content, it attempts to analyze the relevance of the entire piece in relation to discovered keywords. For example, if Google determines that an article’s primary keywords revolve around SEO services (like this one) it also expects all of the other words and phrases to create relevance to that topic. A post purportedly about SEO services should actually discuss some facet of SEO services.
3. Topical Authority
Rounding out this SEO triumvirate is topical authority. Search engine algorithms attempt to determine the authority of the content in question by ranking relevance and comparing the content to other content linked within the piece. If outbound links are relevant and authoritative, they add more authority to the peace at hand.
What Fluff Looks like
With this understanding in mind, we can now begin to see what fluff looks like. Fluff content is content that is extremely heavy on keywords to the extent that they are not used naturally and within the context of the greater piece. Readers can see that keywords are forced for the most part.
Fluff content is also content that strains for relevance. It is not clear, concise, or attempting to define a clear set of points. It may attempt to get from point A to point Z but never quite makes it because of rambling, incoherence, etc.
A telltale sign of fluff is the length in relation to relevant information. If a content creator can effectively make a point in 300 words yet still stretches it to 700 words that continually make the same point over and over again, he has created fluff.
Google Hates Fluff
Google made it clear with the Panda update many years ago that it hates fluff. The Panda update marked a concerted effort by Google to flush out the fluff and keyword stuffing by putting more emphasis on relevance. When you consider that more than 4 million blog posts are published every day, Google did in the world a favor by clamping down on fluff.
This is not to say that fluff has been eliminated. It hasn’t. But Google punishes it. A site filled with nothing but fluff will not rank very high on SERPs regardless of how many blog posts it contains. A site with 10 relevant, authoritative, and informative blog posts will always rank higher than a competing site with 1,000 pieces of fluff.
Webtek recommends website owners audit their sites for fluff or hire an SEO expert to do it for them. Getting rid of fluff is crucial to every website owner, but particularly in certain sectors that are considered highly technical or professional – like law and healthcare.
If you don’t remember the details of this post, remember this one underlying point: websites are not pillows. They do not need fluff.