Content pollution

Imagine yourself in a roadside café for a coffee interview with your potential boss. You hear music playing, cars honking and passer-by talking. In the midst of all noise, you miss the important message from your potential employer. How do you feel? Bugged, right? That’s how users feel when they don’t get the important message on your website because it’s hidden by redundant details and excessive word count.

This is what I call content pollution. Never heard of this before? You may have heard ‘information pollution’ then. Information pollution is the contamination of information supply with irrelevant, redundant, unsolicited and low-value information . However, I call it content pollution to be specific with web content.

Simple rule for web writing thus says, ‘Less is more’. If there’s some information users don’t need, don’t waste their time by writing it on your web page. Your best bet is to say less, but communicate more.

This is where web writing differs from print writing. How many web authors understand this difference though? Some? Or if not, how many apply the rule? I come across so many web pages everyday that give me an impression, “This is not for you! It’s for some high-school English teacher”.

So, how do you stick to the real essence of your information without much blah blah?

Style guide: To have a consistent tone delivered across your web writing, you should follow a style guide at all times.
Tentativeness: What you think adds clarity to the writing can add ambiguity. ‘Kind of’, ‘probably’, ‘sort of’ are such words. You don’t need them, right?
Redundancy: I’ve seen many web authors using ‘in this article’ in their writing. When you read such thing, are you not on that article already? ‘In my opinion’ is another one. If you’re the author, doesn’t it imply to the reader that IT IS your opinion? Are such phrases needed at all? Perhaps no! Think of all such redundant words/phrases and get rid of them. By doing this, you not only come to the important message quickly, but also reduce the word count of your writing. Remember, less scrolling leads to better scanning. [Redundant terms/phrases are a big list and I’m planning to dedicate a post on these :).]
Language: Don’t use too many pronouns. This improves content clarity and its search optimisation.
Use direct language and stay away from technical terms and jargons. Jargons and industry-specific languages cloud the important message adding ambiguity.

I definitely want to add more here because there’s plenty. But let me reserve some for my next post on ‘content pollution’. Till then, follow these to strengthen your writing and build reader confidence.

The art of ‘Linking’

SEO - link building

The bond between Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and link building dates back to late 90s. Links are, indeed, connectors between different web pages on the Web.

Writing for the Web is more than just ‘content’. You can write the most-appealing content and design user-friendly web pages; however, if your content lacks links, you are just no one in the eyes of search engines.

A simple strategy that works on the Web is, more the number of links in your content, better the ranking for your web page. But, what is the most-appropriate link? What should be your linking strategy? Are these some questions to which you seek answers?
Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to these. Every netizen has a different definition and strategy for link building. But there are still some common factors that everyone keeps in mind.

If you ask me, I definitely keep the following factors in mind when I search for good links on the Web.

Link building

Authenticity
The ‘trust factor’ comes into play during link building. Authentic websites rank high in Google and getting a link from any trusted website does half the work! But checking the authenticity of a website (or a web page) is another task. Common sense says that how good or bad a website is can be easily calculated by the links to that website. Another practice is to look for the Google page rank of a website (http://www.prchecker.info/) and link to the one with a high page rank.

Relevance
I’m sure you would not want to link to a beauty website if your website talks about Finance (unless you’re financing beauty businesses :)). Link to a website that very closely talks about the same subject as that of your website.

Anchor text
I would choose a link that includes keywords that closely match my subject rather than a link that merely says, ‘click here’. Another key point in link building is that the hyperlinked text should be informative in itself. And trust me, this helps in increasing the page rank as well!

The content is the key
The crux of any good website is its content. Unless the content on your website is relevant, generating links will be very difficult. In addition to your ‘link hunting’, other netizens should also be compelled to link to your website. And this happens only when the content on your website is relevant and possesses high quality.

Well, these tips should be good to start. But, don’t forget nothing is stable in the online world with competition increasing every day. Ensure you revise your link-building strategy and don’t be scared of experimenting.

Happy link building!