Identify Low Quality Content on your Blog

Google has been continuously tweaking its search algorithm in order to give the users more appropriate results as well as the webmasters who Put-in more efforts to create quality content with top rankings. In this span of optimizing its search algorithm, Google has penalized several websites and blogs that have low-quality content. So, how do you differentiate low quality content from the high quality. This particular question has been raised by many in several SEO forums but very few people have responded with appropriate solutions. So, I just thought of writing an article with the checklist that is required to identify low quality content on your own blogs.

How to Identify Low Quality or Thin Content?

I know what you’re thinking right now! Why Google has penalized my site even though my content was original (written by me) and not copied from elsewhere? To be clear, Low quality content is nothing but the particular article/post on your blog is not able to provide full or sometimes proper information to the end-user (reader) who comes from the search listings. OK! Now, let us look at the ways of identifying the poorly written content on our blog.

Finding Low Quality Content On your Blog

1] Article with very few words

Although there is a saying that ‘Quality is better than Quantity’, Google has completely changed the scenario by introducing the algorithmic updates like Google Panda, Penguin, EMD update and the forthcoming Zebra. All Google (in the view of the end user) needs now is well written articles with complete information for what the user is looking for. In short, articles on your blog should be at least 500 words (keep it a minimum criteria while writing the new posts).

Let’s keep it straight. Not all the topics will need/require 500 words to express as there are some topics which can be written in mere 200 to 250 words. In such cases, you can consider adding/bringing more comments to your articles so that the overall content on that single post would be more than 500 words (i.e., 250 words of content  + 250 words of comments). This way, you can make sure that your article is fulfilling the needs of the search engine as well as the user. See it like this – Google robots will be able to find the 500 words they want and the user will be able to get for what he landed on our site with the content as well as the interactions done in your comments section.

That way, you’ll be satisfying both Google pets and your readers.

P.S: Gettings comments doesn’t mean that you should post or approve spammy comments with large texts. Try to interact with your readers as much as possible and give answers to their queries in the comments itself (and not by replying to their emails). So, if you’ve missed adding any particular information in your article body, you can then add it in your comments.

Here is what Matt cutts has to say about the thin content on blogs.

2] Outdated Articles

People who’re blogging in the tech niche should continually update their blogs with the latest information (news) or else they’ll end up with pretty low traffic. As the news articles tend to expire sooner or later, those articles will be of no use to both the user as well as the search engines. So, you should always check those outdated posts and make the necessary changes.

Content Expired or Outdated

  1. If there is any chance of adding value to the article, then its better keep it and update the content. This is mostly apt for articles related to tricks because the old trick might not work now and so you can update such articles with the new trick. It’s just an example, you should decide what type of article it is.
  2. In case if the news is expired and is no longer necessary, it’s better to remove those from your blog and do a proper 301 redirect to either the category page or the index page or the similar news article. I’d prefer to redirect such articles to related category pages.

P.S: You may be interested in checking out these timeless Blogging niches.

3] Articles with little or no traffic at all

Not all the articles on your blog will get the same or similar traffic. Some posts may rank higher and bring in more traffic while some may not be seen anywhere in the top 100 results. In such cases, try to find those and optimize them with proper keywords so that they can get ranked well.


‘Click it to enlarge’
Tip: Try to make use of the Google Analytics tool in order to get the visitor information.

  1. Go to Content > Site Content > Landing Pages. You’ll get the visitor information of all your posts from all sources.
  2. Now, select the option ‘Secondary dimension’ and choose ‘Traffic sources’ > Medium.
  3. Next, click on the ‘advanced’ link beside the search box and input the word ‘organic’ in the text box while including the option ‘medium’ intact.
  4. Next, click on the ‘Visits’ tab to segregate the data in the ascending order (from low to high).

Thus, you can find all your posts with less or ‘0’ visits. Now, try to optimize them.

4] Say no to Duplicate Content within your blog

Normally, WordPress creates duplicate copies of your content across different locations under your own domain. For example, all your category, tag and archive pages will also be indexed by the search engines by default (if not controlled via robots.txt file). As your content also appears on these archive pages along with your main index page, it creates the duplicate copies. So, better use a proper WordPress SEO plugin like Yoast SEO or All-in-One SEO plugin and control their indexing.

P.S: I’ve already written an article about setting up the WordPress SEO plugin. Go ahead and read it.

Not only WordPress CMS but Blogger also creates some content issues like duplicate description tags and indexing of ‘labels’. Read the tutorial about the Blogger SEO settings and make your blogspot blog SEO friendly.

To get more information about the duplicate content issues on your blog, go to the Google Webmaster Tools > Optimization > HTML Improvements wherein you’ll see the suggestions from Google about the presence of duplicate title and meta descriptions.

5] Most Common Mistake

Apart from the above, try to avoid spelling and grammatical mistakes as much as possible. If you find any such mistakes in my blog, please let me know and help me fix it. It’s because Nopody is berfect 😉

That’s it folks! Do follow the above steps to identify and delete duplicate or low quality content on your blog. If you’ve any suggestions or doubts about the process, please feel free to comment below. I’ll try my best to address your queries.

Happy Blogging 🙂

How to Embed Responsive YouTube Videos on a WordPress?

Recently, I came across a problem while embedding a YouTube video on one of my blogs. Being a tech blog, I post a lot of gadget related articles which need video demos. Eventhough I am using a responsive theme, it doesn’t mean all the elements on the page convert themselves to suit the browser resolution. It is apt in the case of the embedded YouTube videos which looks fine on desktop computers, but looks clumsy while viewing from a mobile device. At first, I just tried to set the width to 100% so that the videos will automatically adjust their size according to the browser size. Unfortunately, it didn’t solve the problem.

After Googling, I just landed on webdesignerwall.com where the author just wrapped the embedded YouTube video with a <div> container. He then styled it by specifying the child elements like iframe, object and embed with absolute position + allotted 100% width & 100% height. Doing so will force the embedded elements to resize to fullwidth automatically.

Also see: How to Make Adsense Ads Responsive?

How to Make a YouTube Video Mobile Responsive?

Go to your style.css file (WordPress) or Template > Edit HTML and copy-paste the below css code at the end.

.responsiveyoutube {
position: relative;
padding-bottom: 56.25%;
padding-top: 30px; height: 0; overflow: hidden;
}

.responsiveyoutube iframe, .responsiveyoutube object, .responsiveyoutube embed {
position: absolute;
top: 0;
left: 0;
width: 100%;
height: 100%;
}

Save the changes.

Next, whenever you add or embed any videos (YouTube or Vimeo) in your post, simply wrap the iframe within the <div> tag like as shown below.

<div class=”responsiveyoutube”>Insert your YouTube or Vimeo Embed</div>

Now, if you preview your article or webpage from your mobile device, you’ll notice that the embedded video adjusts itself according to your device screen size.

For a working example, visit this page and resize your browser to witness the responsive YouTube videos.

How to Add Star Ratings to Your Blogger Blog Posts?

Blogger has introduced Star rating badge which lets the visitors rate your blog posts on a rate of 5. As of now, this feature is still in beta, you don’t find this option in your regular Blogger dashboard. However, you can activate it by going to draft.blogger.com. If you mostly write reviews of products or films, then you should definitely add these ratings widget for better user engagement.

If you’re using any default blogger templates, then you can simply go to draft.blogger.com > Design > Page Elements and click on ‘Edit’ button which is found near the blog posts gadget. Choose the ‘Show Star Ratings’ option, move it to your desired spot using the ‘Arrange items’ option and click ‘Save’.

Tip: Learn these Blogspot SEO Tips to make your Blogger blog SEO friendly.

Enable Star Ratings Feature on Blogger

You should probably see the star ratings added underneath your blog posts. In case you’re not able to see the widget, then you may be using a customized blogger template. You can anyhow add a small piece of code to your template to enable Star ratings.

How to Add Star Ratings on Blogger Manually?

Go to Template > Edit HTML and find any the following code

<p class=’post-footer-line post-footer-line-3′>

Or if the above code is not found, then find the below one

<div class=’post-footer-line post-footer-line-3′>

or if the second is also not found, then you should probably find the below one

<data:post.body/>

and just after any of the above found codes, paste the following script

<span class=’star-ratings’> <b:if cond=’data:top.showStars’> <div expr:g:background-color=’data:backgroundColor’ expr:g:text-color=’data:textColor’ expr:g:url=’data:post.absoluteUrl’ g:height=’42’ g:type=’RatingPanel’ g:width=’280’/> </b:if> </span>

Click on ‘Save template’.

You should now see the Star ratings on all your posts at the end of the article. Hope, this simple tutorial helped you in adding star ratings to your blogger blog posts.

Add Star Ratings under the Blogger Blog Posts

Blogspot SEO Tips: How to Make Your Blogger Blog SEO Friendly?

Everyone knows that Blogger is a product of Google and how popular the CMS is among the Bloggers. There is a myth among Bloggers that Blogger blog is SEO friendly as it is owned by Google itself. Surprisingly, the fact is that no CMS is SEO friendly by default. We as a user should optimize it for search engines. Until a year back, Blogger used to lack many popular SEO features that most other popular CMS like WordPress and Joomla. But, Google has added several useful SEO features to the Blogger platform and those include – Custom Robots.txt, Search Description for all Blogger Posts, an option to 301 redirect blogger posts, custom permalinks, custom 404 page and much more.

I’ve talked about those features in detail earlier separately but today I just wanted to list the SEO benefits of Blogger as a whole along with a process on how to optimize them (with settings).

How to Make Your Blogger Blog SEO Friendly?

Title Tag Optimization

If you’re using any default blogger templates, you might’ve noticed that your homepage title appears after every post title in search results. Since Google displays only the first 66 characters of your title, your actual title that come after your home page title will get ignored most of the time. If you’ve targeted any important keywords in your post title, then they’ll be chopped off because of the home page title being appended before it.

Make Title Tags SEO Friendly in Blogger

In order to optimize your Title tags, follow the below steps.

  1. Blogger > Template > Edit HTML
  2. Search for the below code in the <head> section of your template

    <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>

  3. Replace it with the below code

    <b:if cond=’data:blog.pageType == &quot;item&quot;’>
    <title><data:blog.pageName/> | <data:blog.title/></title>
    <b:else/>
    <title><data:blog.pageTitle/></title>
    </b:if>

  4. Now, save your template.

Change your Post title Heading Tag

By default, all blogger templates use H1 for homepage title, H2 for blog description and H3 to post titles. Due to the fact that the post titles are the second most important part of your blog after the main title, you should assign them an H2 instead of H3.

  1. Go to Template | Edit HTML
  2. Search for .post h3 and replace all the occurrences of it with .post h2.
  3. Next search for,

    <h3><data:title/></h3>

  4. Replace it with the below code

    <h2><data:title/></h2>

  5. Save template.

Meta Description

Blogger has implemented another much-awaited feature called ‘Search Description’. This allows us to provide a meta description to every post individually. If you’re using the default template provided by Blogger, you can simply activate this feature by going to Settings > Search Preferences and provide the description for your homepage under ‘Meta Tags’ section. Doing so will enable ‘Search Description’ option for all individual posts & you can see it on the right sidebar while you are on the post editor.

Enable Search Description Feature in Blogger

In case you’re using a custom or third-party templates, along with the above settings, you’ll also need to add a small piece of code in your template.

Add the below code under the <head> tag in your template.

<b:if cond=’data:blog.metaDescription != &quot;&quot;’>
<meta expr:content=’data:blog.metaDescription’ name=’description’/>
</b:if>

Robots.txt Settings for Blogger

The robots.txt file in Blogger will have the default settings which are not sufficient enough to control the search engines actions. By default, all your posts and labels will get indexed by the search engines like Google & Bing, thus creating a lot of duplicate content issues inside your own blog. In order to avoid such technical issues, it’s wise to make a better use of the robots.txt file.

Settings > Search Preference > Enable ‘Custom robots.txt’ under ‘Crawlers and indexing’ section and use the below text.

User-agent: Mediapartners-Google
Disallow:
User-agent: *
Disallow: /search/
Disallow: /search?
Disallow: /search?q=*
Disallow: /*?updated-max=*
Disallow: /p/about.html
Disallow: /p/privacy.html
Allow: /

Sitemap: http://www.9to5blogger.com/atom.xml?redirect=false&start-index=1&max-results=500

Points to Remember

  • Replace my domain name with yours in the sitemap section.
  • If you’ve more than 500 posts, then simply use this tool to generate the Sitemaps based on your post count.
  • You can also chose to disallow your privacy and about pages from being indexed. Make sure you change the my URLs with your own permalinks before saving.

Add NoFollow Tag to All Labels

Although you’ve disallowed indexing of Labels using the robots.txt file, it is better to add a nofollow tag to them so that there will be no chance for them to get indexed. Go to Template > Edit HTML and search for the below code.

<a expr:href=’data:label.url’ rel=’tag’>

Either add the nofollow tag to the end of the above syntax or simply replace it with the below one.

<a expr:href=’data:label.url’ rel=’tag,nofollow’>

Save your template.

Custom Robots Header Tags

These robots tags will go in the header section of your blog. You can use these settings to disable indexing of archive and search pages in search results. Go to Settings > Search Preferences > ‘Enable custom robots header tags?’ under the ‘Crawlers and indexing’ section. Next, use the below settings.

Custom X-Robots Heder Tags for Blogger

In case you don’t understand the meaning and use of these commands, then know about them here.

Submit Blogger Sitemap to Google & Bing

Although Google & Bing can find your blog, they cannot index your entire site as they won’t have a clue what pages are listed on your blog. This is why the Sitemaps existed. Generate sitemap for your blogger blog (use this tool) and then submit them to both Google Webmaster Tools & Bing Webmasters. Doing so will not only helps the search engines to crawl your blog efficiently but also let you to monitor your SEO score using their dashboard.

Note: You’ll need to place their tag on your site under <head> tag in order to verify your ownership.

Optimize URL Parameters in Webmaster Tools

URL parameters help the search engines to crawl your site even more efficiently. Prioritize your  most useful content by controlling the URL parameters that effect your site content. Simply, go to WMT > Configuration > URL parameters and the add the below parameters one by one. Watch the screenshot in case of any doubts.

  • utm_source > No > Let Googlebot decide
  • utm_medium > No > Let Googlebot decide
  • utm_campaign > No > Let Googlebot decide
  • updated-max > Yes > Sorts > Let Googlebot decide
  • showComment > No > Let Google bot decide
  • max-results > Yes > Sorts > Let Google bot decide
  • m > Yes > Paginates > Let Google bot decide
  • commentPage > Yes > Paginates > Every URL

Adding URL Parameters for Blogger in Webmaster Tools

Redirect Broken Links

Just go to your webmaster tools account and from Health > Crawl Errors, find out if there are any 404 errors on your blog. If there are any such errors, simply use a 301 to redirect them to the correct locations on your blog.

301 Redirect Blogger Posts

Go to Settings > Errors and redirections > Custom Redirects.

Apart from these basic settings, make sure you’re optimizing your blog post too. Here are some tips from my end.

How to Write a Keyword Efficient Blog Post?

  1. Analyze & choose a target keyword before writing any article.
  2. Use the exact keyword at least twice in the article & use the synonyms (3 times) across the entire article.
  3. Ensure that the permalink of your post contains the exact keyword.
  4. The title should contain your exact match keyword.
  5. Make sure your ‘Search Description’ contains at least 1 exact keyword & 1 synonym.
  6. Lastly, give some useful insights in the article and then publish it.

Note: Never stuff more than the described keyword count as it looks like stuffing keywords in your article. Just use them at appropriate places (wherever suitable).

That’s it! Do follow these tips to make your blogspot blog SEO friendly. Happy Blogging 🙂

Fix Google Apps Server Error When Creating First Admin Account

I am a great fan of the Google Apps service as it enables us to personal details (privacy info) for as little as $10 including the domain registration cost. If we booked the same domain directly on Godaddy or eNom, we’d have to pay an extra amount to protect our Whois listing. Recently, I have registered around 6 new domains through my Blogger account. Everything went fine with the registration but later when I opened the link that Google apps have sent me to create an administrator account, it didn’t work. I just got the ‘server error’ message when creating my first admin account.

Useful: How to Signup for Google Apps Free Edition? | Manual Setup of Blogger Custom Domain

I have tried all possible ways to solve the problem by referring to the Google forums but all the solutions like ‘reset the password’ or ‘rename the user’ didn’t work for me.

The main reason behind this problem is that Google Apps automatically creates or assigns a username called ‘bloggeradmin’ immediately after your custom domain is purchased. As there is already a user for your custom domain, you’ll not be able to create your administrator account. The only possible solution would be to reset your Google Apps (custom domain) password.

Simply, head over to http://google.com/a/cpanel/example.com/ResetAdminPassword and fill the captcha. You’ll now get an email to your official Gmail account with which you purchased your custom domain. Click on it, enter your new password and click ‘Save new password’.

Google Apps Server Error for Newly Created Custom Domain

Tip: Use different browsers to login into your Gmail and Google Apps if you’re not familiar with switching to multiple Gmail accounts.

That’s it! You can now happily login to your Google apps account by going to http://google.com/a/cpanel/example.com and manage all your domain information.

Note: The username for your Google Apps account would be ‘bloggeradmin’ and the password is what you’ve given in the second step. In case if you wanted to change the username from ‘bloggeradmin’ to something else, simply follow this link. Also, don’t forget to change the word ‘example.com’ with your custom domain.