How to Avoid Writing Spammy Content

So, how exactly can you create high-quality content and avoid spammy tactics? It’s pretty easy if you focus on a few things:

  • Focus on concept over keywords
  • Demonstrate authority and knowledge on a subject
  • Know when to stop writing
  • Consider searcher intent

Focus on Concept

The concept of keyword stuffing is self-explanatory: it’s the practice of cramming as many keywords as possible into your content, as often as you can. In the early days of SEO, this was a popular and effective technique to boost a site’s search engine rankings. However, as algorithms improve and search engines becomes smarter, spammy tactics like keyword stuffing can actually hurt your site, both in terms of SEO and user experience.

SEO keywords are still relevant, but you need to pay close attention to how you use keywords when writing on-page content. Remember that your primary goal should be to create a positive user experience. This requires you to include your keyword in the text without repeating the same monotonous phrase, a task which can be challenging to balance. One tactic to help avoid this kind of content spam is to write about other topics related to your keyword.

Search Engines like Google use a method called Latent Semantic Indexing, or LSI to understand related terms and concepts. For example, they know that “artificial grass”, “turf” and “lawn” are all similar and connected conceptually. Since we know that Google understands these types of related terms and topics in your content, best SEO practices have moved toward optimizing for a concept rather than a singular keyword.

Demonstrate Authority

Google’s Panda algorithm update has been targeting thin or low-quality content since it was first launched 2011. Even with LSI in mind, it’s not adequate to simply stuff keywords and related terms into your content; you have to write knowledgeably and demonstrate authority about a topic. Generic content that offers no real information or knowledge can get repetitive, spammy, and bore readers.

We’ve all seen templated content that doesn’t provide relevant or specific information on what services are actually offered.  “Our dental office offers general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, children’s dentistry, and more! Call today.” Someone searching for a dentist already knows what a dentist does, so it’s not enough to list your services. You need to demonstrate what exactly you can do for a potential client, and why they should choose you.

One way to establish relevance and authority is by breaking down specifically what your business offers and writing in-depth, thorough content. The dentist’s website might include pages for root canals, dentures, and teeth whitening containing information about the different procedures and what a potential patient may want to know prior to making an appointment. This demonstrates to users, and search engines, that the dentist is knowledgeable and authoritative about these topics.

Know When to Stop

So, you’ve written a lot of quality content, but your site is still struggling to rank. Now what? Adding more content isn’t going to help. Unless you have unique, relevant content to add, stop right there. Perhaps you need to step back and take another approach.

Maybe the content you’ve written about your keyword is high quality, but it’s all over the place in terms of subject matter. You may want to focus on making your content flow better conceptually. Does the page center around a specific theme, or multiple? If the content is too spread thin, rewrite the page to focus on one specific concept. Remember, no one wants to read a wall of content so less is more. A potential client is not going to sit and read through eight paragraphs about home remodeling. Once the idea is complete, stop writing.

Consider Searcher Intent

We know how important it is to optimize for searcher intent, and this is especially important when it comes to creating content. We want to make sure that the information on our site relates to – and can answer – a searcher’s query. Being able to understand the “how” and “why” a user is searching for your good or service can help drive your content creation, and thus drive your business forward.

First ask yourself, “What are the problems or needs of my target audience?” and second “What solution can I offer them?” Identifying your audience helps you to create engaging content that serves your visitors first.

Creating engaging, user-focused content is easy by determining what will satisfy these three questions:

  1. Is the content you’re adding useful to the customer’s situation?
  2. What type of content would users find interesting?
  3. Would the consumer find your content sharable?

You may need to do some research to determine what your potential customers may want to know. Try looking at relevant blogs or social media to discover ideas. Researching related topics tell you the kind of information searchers are looking for.

It’s also important to note that engaging content is not limited to paragraphs, but can include videos, podcasts, and images. Adding graphics or infographics can complement your copy. Photos and infographics catch people’s eye, making them more interested. Alternative forms of content support your text and drive home your message.

While keywords are still one of the fundamental pieces of SEO, content written around keywords should be geared more towards concept optimization and searcher intent than raw keyword use. If you are putting out logical, relevant, high-quality content that can answer a user’s question with credible information, you are well on your way to success.