On the whole, Our blog posts have been better than average.
No more unsubstantiated content. Not on this blog. Here is why Majestic will be setting new blog content standards into practice and why companies striving to use thought leadership as part of their market positioning should consider this as well.
If Google Has a Knowledge box for it, it is Probably Important
Google uses algorithms to help understand whether content is written well. This is an interesting screenshot which shows that someone in Google (or an algorithm in Google) has taken upon it/her/himself to create an entity around a concept called the Flesch Reading Ease Score:
This formula demonstrates one scientific way to match the written word to the education level of the reader. There are several tools online that let you score any web page instantly. Here is one and here’s another (No affiliation to Majestic). The former which implies this post on our Chrome and Firefox plugins can easily be read by 11-12 year olds:
That means it is a score somewhere above 70 according the Google’s knowledge box. But is that good? This is appropriate content for some things on the Internet, but hardly for Majestic’s blog. This author may have been a liability to the Majestic brand when he published that, because Majestic’s audience should mostly be adults, normally with a college education and often a college graduate or aspiring graduate. For the politically correct amongst us, there is no intent to correlate education with intelligence here, but content which can be readily understood by 11 to 12 year olds may – on the Majestic blog – verge on patronisation.
If Majestic aspires to be a knowledge leader and thought leader, then a “tone of voice” that appeals to 11 to 12 year olds is not an ideal match for our readers. With this realisation for grounding and the handy tool for testing content before it is published, we can define expected standards that I hope Majestic will aspire to on any blog post of note moving forward. We should measure in our English versions only for now, as most content starts in English. If we fail from that point, something may have been lost in translation.
In making these suggestions for our blog, you are invited to comment below on whether you believe the standard to be the ones YOU want to see when you are reading our blog, or whether Majestic should review and amend these proposed ideals. Consider a similar (but likely different) set of targets for your own content.
Flesch Kincaid Reading Ease: Ideally below 60 and always below 70.
Some content on this blog could aspire to a score as low as 30, but all the content should be aimed at adults. If a website is talking to a broad populous than lower scores may be inappropriate, but Majestic is a business to business proposition. On the other hand, if the content becomes too complicated to read, then a search engine might conclude that the content is not appropriate for a mass audience like Google’s. Unless an article is targeting a good ranking in Google Scholar, a guideline of 45-65 is most likely appropriate for this blog.
Use Citations to Improve Authority
Blogs tend to be written by individuals with personal agendas. There is no problem with that, but Majestic does not want to tell tall stories. It’s better to inform and educate, specifically in the realms of online marketing and link development. This writer is fortunate enough to be doing an Executive MBA in his spare time and one of the first lectures forced this message home. If you want to write something authoritative, then you had better cite your data sources. Look! Google has a knowledge box about it, so it must be true. (Those last five words were facetious.)
This does not mean that every post should conclude with standard Harvard referencing (although MBAs insist on it). With the development of that amazing concept… the link… it is very straightforward to reference your work. You can also use imagery, as this post seeks to do by citing Google knowledge boxes. The majority of posts within the SEO industry lack authority because they create content for the sake of the link that the author adds to the page. The objective should be the exact opposite! It should be to create content that attracts links and engagement. Thankfully, Majestic users have easy access to Trust Flow (Link to video), which is a powerful indicator of quality and engagement. Some Majestic research carried out just before Christmas showed that almost every web page on the Internet is not linkworthy. One consequence was that we removed over 400 billion subdomains from our index, reducing our storage requirements by 50% and to date nobody has reported that we have removed one that anyone can actually identify. These were the worst of the worst. But between the dross and the extraordinary, lies “ordinary”. Majestic never had “ordinary” ambitions. Authority requires reputable citations to create credibility.
Data should be used to provide evidence
Conjecture should only play a limited role in our blog’s agenda. It is fine to put forward an opinion, but stronger to test a Hypothesis. A hypothesis can be backed up by citations, but there are many other ways to prove a point. For example, by disproving a Null hypothesis such as:
H(null) = Crap content never ranks.
To disprove this theory, all that is needed is to show a screenshot of a very spammy search result. As long as there is little dispute that the ranking content is crap, then this goes to prove that crap content CAN rank.
(Hattip to Kevin Gibbons for the Example)
Data helps to frame and tell a story. This is especially useful in Majestic’s context, because Majestic is a BIG data source. If the data also stems from Majestic itself, that’s particularly appealing, but as long as the data source is reputable, then data is Majestic’s greatest friend as we would expect our users to relish and ultimately cite articles that use quality data to back up arguments.
Reduce the “Me”. It is not about “Me”
Majestic is a business. It is not a blog about a living animate being and as such the tone of content should, on the whole, reflect this. Your own blog’s tone may be very different, and intentionally so, but as Majestic is looking to focus on facts rather than opinion moving forward, there is an argument to suggest that writing in the third person is more objective. As Objectivity is a mainstay of Majestic’s tone of voice, there is merit in rewriting content so that – in the main – it is in the third person on the Majestic blog.
Fix the Grammar. ASAP.
This is where this author comes unstuck. To minimize the effect of poor syntax, spelling and grammatical errors, Majestic has a WordPress plugin which endorses editorial reviews before going live. I fully anticipate corrections to be made to this post in the comments – but aspire to having none. Nobody is perfect at everything and in an organisation with more than one employee, there is little excuse for releasing narrative which has not been spell checked and proof read by a third party within the company. Sometimes speed is of the essence. In this event concessions can be made in the short term – but this does not preclude proof-reading after the content is live. That’s the beauty of digital… it can always be erased.