How Good is Your Content? 170 Comments
How Good is Your Content?

How good is the content you put on your websites? Honestly, I’ve asked myself that a lot over the past 6 months, and if I’m completely honest, some of my affiliate marketing sites had content that was not great, it was ok, but does ok cut it anymore? Well…no, ok doesn’t cut it, and it really never should have, but it did for a while, which I want to discuss in this post.

Yes we’ve all heard of Google Panda, and I’m sure you don’t need to hear me go on about it again, however it does have a lot to do with quality content, so it’s hard to avoid when writing on the topic. All I want to say is that Google are assessing content on sites a lot more carefully than they used to, and they have many clever ways of working out how good content on sites really is.

However, in the past, it was much easier to rank content that was not top class. You could optimize the content for the search engines, backlink it, and pretty much get the rankings you desired, if you did good keyword research.

Although that used to work, it really should never have been the approach that any marketers took with their content. By this I mean, the user experience of your site should always be your number one priority. Whether a search engine can work out if your content is good or not, really is irrelevant.

He's loving my content!! Look how happy he is...

Don’t get me wrong, I never put up complete garbage on my sites, and always made sure the articles read well, but where I’ve been guilty in the past is hiring contractors, who’s native language is not English,  and who charge as little as $8-10 per article. This saved me time, and meant I didn’t have to write it myself, could slap that stuff on my sites, then roll out the SEO plan.

The results were good, but it’s not a such good idea these days. In the case with these particular affiliate sites, I was guilty of focussing on the search engine and not the user as much. Again, not all my sites were in done this way, but I know a lot of internet marketers do nothing but this, so if you fall into this category, then you might want to reassess your content on your sites.

My important authority sites where I was more directly involved with the content creation were fine. Anyway, the issue was that my content on these other sites was driven by keywords, and not by what would make the site a well balanced site for the user.

A better approach for content is much like how I do the content on this blog, where it’s heavily user focussed. Although I write my own content for this site, I can’t do it for all my sites, so of course I outsource it. However I hire people a little differently these days.

Getting Quality Articles

good-articlesFirstly I pay a lot more per article, in fact one site I have, I’m paying $40 USD per article now, and before I hired this contract writer, I tested 5 people for the role, and got them all to write an article, and I hired the top writer from that batch. The writer who’s working on these articles is a native English speaker and has experience researching and writing.

Good quality content requires proper research and planning, and not just writing off the top of your head what you think will sound good enough to just fill up the page. It also pays to provide some resources for your writer to use. This can be in the form of other websites, or you might want to buy your writer some great books on the topic from Amazon and get them shipped to the writer, and pay them to read them. I’m thinking of doing this soon in one of my niches.

I also look for people that have had experience writing in this niche previously, and even better if they have a genuine interest in the topic. Nothing beats passion for a niche! Also it pays to check the articles that you outsource, especially the first batches, and give good constructive feedback so your writer knows what you want. If you can’t afford to pay someone what it takes to get quality content, then do it yourself, or don’t put anything up.

The problem I see a lot of internet marketers do is, they hire low quality writers, and get low quality content as a result,  remember you get what you pay for. Even if content like this technically reads in good grammar, it’s often full of filler fluff. This is the sort of content that used to fly well in Google, but is not doing so well anymore. Furthermore, regardless of Google, this sort of content would never really go that well from a human user point of view anyway, and isn’t the sort of thing people would be willing to tell people about.

The bottom line is this, if your content is not the sort of content that someone would share on Facebook and tell their friends about, then your content is not good enough, and needs to be improved. Also if your site is not the kind of site that someone who has an interest in the niche, would think is a fantastic resource for them about this topic, then your site is lacking and needs to be improved, by adding more quality content.

I also think where possible add in bullet point lists, or a table, use lots of graphics and also video, to make your content richer. So you might have something like this:

Five Tips for Improving Your Content

  • Pay more for quality articles
  • Use bullet points
  • Use lots of images
  • Embed video
  • Focus on the user experience

Of course I’m an advocate of planning a good SEO traffic strategy, so don’t think I’m saying to only write great content with no SEO plan, as that would not work out so well, unless your site got passed around virally. So make sure you choose keywords that will bring you traffic, and match your content to these keywords as best you can.

So the moral of the post is to always think of the user experience first and the search engine second, and you’ll win in the long run, as search engines will like your site, and people will share your sites around, and you’ll grow your traffic and profits overtime. On that point, if you think this post is quality, I would really appreciate it if you could help me spread the word, by using the social icons below. Thanks!

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73 Comments to How Good is Your Content?

  1. February 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Permalink


    I do agree with you. This time, with the recent google updates quality will do better than quantity. If you have the same or almost the same number of backlinks with one of your competitors, what will separate your rankings will be the quantity.

  2. February 10, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Interesting.I used to post 3-4 times a week and got to prs.
    Now I psot 1-2 times a week and imptoved the quality of my content.
    Nowmany internal pages have gained considerable page rank
    IO believer content is king bujt there is content and there is content
    Staying focused on my keywords,doing good research and guest blogging has helped tyremendously

  3. February 10, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    Hey Matt,
    This is a question i am that has confused me for a long time and i really need an answer for it.
    I bought a PR 3 domain last week,Did good keyword research and stared back linking,But someone told me that it’s pretty tough ranking for a keyword without and EMD .
    Is that true ? Do EMD’s really have an advantage over High PR domains.

  4. Joe's Gravatar Joe
    February 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Sounds like a good plan. I’m starting to pay more for my content too and branching out into making videos to put on Youtube and my sites.

    I’ve just going through your free video training course and loving it so far.

    I’m tempted to sign up for your paid course but not sure I have the time to implement it. Do you thing it would help me make sites that make $500 a month or is it more lots of little sites?


  5. February 11, 2012 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    Its True Even the less number of back-links can beat the site of our competitor if we have a good quality content.
    It happened with one of my site.


  6. February 11, 2012 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    “Content is still King in 2012”, Panda. It is all about user experience isn’t it. Paying $40 per article is something I would have a hard time doing but if it is one article for your site that you don’t republish anywhere else you will get a pat on the back from Google. I now use copyscape to check all my pages to make sure I have a high number of unique pages. You are always right on track Matt, thanks.

  7. February 11, 2012 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    To be honest, apart from my main blog that I am updating regularly, the rest of my niche sites are pretty much focus on SEO with “ok content”. The cost of outsourcing to a top writer is high.

    I totally agree with you when I do some search on Google on some popular popular products, the results are dominated by affiliate sites with inferior content…So, even I sincerely want to read some honest useful review to buy the product, it is kinda hard for me to find them…

    Quality is still the way to go…

  8. February 11, 2012 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt! Random question, and sorry if this is silly..but what if every page on your site has the exact same format: same headlines, except for the keyword (example: keyword 1: the basics on one page and keyword 2: the basics on another). Then, what if each page also has a YouTube video. I am not sure if my question makes sense, but what if you havebbasically the same type of format on all of your pages, do you think having a video on every sinle one of your pages, or usuing keyword anchor text to link internally on everyone of your pages will raise a red flag in google’s eyes?

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Anything that looks unnatural really should be avoided. Have a look at this blog, it is the classic example of what Google likes, as I write for you guys, and not for the search engines, so all the posts have different headings, keywords, length etc…


  9. February 11, 2012 at 2:48 am | Permalink


    I have always been an advocate of putting up quality content, but spending $40.article out of the gate can get expensive. Especially, if you are trying to initially rank for 6-10 keywords that have a decent combined search volume.

    Do you have a strategy to get ranking with “ok” content and then add better content once you have some ROI? It sounds a little tricky, but I don’t know how many people could launch new sites with that kind of budget.

  10. February 11, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Yes, it’s very true. Content is very important.

    I’ve been researching ton of high traffic KWs which have serious competition in 1st page Google. And the affiliate guys I see ranking top 3 all have at least 1000 words in content. IN fact, most of them have like 3-7 WordPress posts all lumped together in the front page homepage.

  11. Zheng Gao's Gravatar Zheng Gao
    February 11, 2012 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Hi, anybody tried I think they are quite good. their prices are considered steep.

    what is good is its article are SEO keyword focused.

  12. February 11, 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    What you say make a lot of sense. The thing is that when you start out you just do not have the cash to hire top quality writers. In fact I think a lot of people, like me, just have to do it all themselves just to get up and running. This is when you start taking shortcuts and using plugins just to get something out there that can be indexed and start ranking.

    I use an Amazon plugin and with good keywords I get fair rankings. Quite a few page 1 keywords. I just wonder how long it will last.

    Thanks for a good read.


  13. February 11, 2012 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Yes, I agree. I’m really thinking that quality content–content that helps my reader, whether or not they buy–is the way to go.

    I just wanted to share some of my tips and approaches when it comes to creating content (or having it created):

    1. You mentioned research. I’d add that, more specifically, you want to answer questions like, “What is X?” “What are the technical specifications, size, number of pills, etc.” “What are the ingredients? Any side effects?”

    You basically want to answer any question that a potential buyer may have.

    And, depending on your goal for your site, you can give more general information, too, such as a how-to or something.

    2. For quality content, I’m finding that even if I don’t write the article, I have to get in there and be involved in the research process. I have to know enough about the product that I could write something about it if I had to.

    For example, I had a writer writing something for me. When I looked at the article he wrote, he mentioned something to the effect of, “when you take the pills.”

    But…this product wasn’t a supplement; it was informational. It was weight loss-oriented books and a DVD, not a supplement.

    Luckily, I had done my own preliminary research into the product and saw his mistake, so I was able to correct him.

    Another example was when one of my writers mistakenly quoted that Dr. Oz had said something, which he did not. Sure…it was on Dr. Oz’s website, but it didn’t come from Dr. Oz himself.

    That’s how involved you may have to get. You may even have to cross-check references, as I did, to make sure that things are correct, especially if someone’s being quoted.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks DK

  14. February 11, 2012 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    I mean QUALITY. Sorry for that. 🙂

  15. February 11, 2012 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    With social media being such a major factor in web rankings these days, it just makes good sense to always provide well-written, relevant content that is focused on your niche; something that can go viral.

    I doubt most marketers will jump on the “$40 per article” bandwagon, that’s much too expensive for most of us, but it just takes some extra time and effort to re-write that $8 article and make it into a great article yourself.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Mark


  16. February 11, 2012 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    I might add a 6th bullet point: RE-write for Quality. Not just moving forward – but to go back over important, high-traffic posts and static page content and refine it closer to where it needs to be. Changes for the better do get picked up on with each successive crawl.

  17. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    February 11, 2012 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Oh man, what you explained above is EXACTLY what I’m doing with one of my sites 🙁 Basically cranking out article after article of OK content. Think I need to take a step back and look at what I’m doing. Thanks for a great post.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yeah I would Phil, less is better, if it is quality


  18. February 11, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,
    You hit it hard on the nail… It almost seems like you are looking over my shoulder. Just this week I took a hard look at one of my sites and it all needs to be re-written. (aahhh…)
    I agree that content is more king now than before!
    I also agree with the outsourcing comment you make… “you get what you pay for”.
    Thanx for the good post, Don

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Dan

  19. February 11, 2012 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Excellent post, Matt! As always, thank you for you insightful content! I am brand new to this (my site being less than a week old) but your jewels of wisdom are putting me on the right track!

    That being said, what suggestions do you offer those of us just starting who are still too small to outsource our content? I am a fairly capable writer and I enjoy the niche I’ve invested in. However, finances (as is all-too-often the case) these days are problematic and $40 per article isn’t something I’m prepared to handle at this time. Any and all input is greatly appreciated!

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Brandon

    You only option is to write all the content yourself then,



  20. Eric's Gravatar Eric
    February 11, 2012 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Thanks again, Matt. As always, you’re spot-on. I have never been comfortable adding crap content to the already-large pool of it that swamps the internet. Unfortunately, since this is a numbers game, it’s too easy to fall into the trap of just spewing out as much content as you can without regard to the actual value of the content. If you want to know the truth, unlike what a lot of other internet marketers seem to feel, I’m glad for the google algo updates. It may actually improve the web. I personally don’t like finding a bunch of useless sites when I do a google search, and I doubt anyone else does, either. In any case, thanks for all you do! The techniques I’ve learned from you (and later from your partnership with Terry) have been hands-down the best I’ve gotten, were the first to make me money, and are still my bread and butter. Keep it up =)

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Eric

  21. February 11, 2012 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    I was thinking about improving the layout of my amazon sites, i currently use the free template you provided, do you think its time for a more in depth template?

    Great article by the way, just a typo I noticed
    “be willing to tells people about.”

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Richard

    Yes I would advise to use a new template if you have some spare funds.


  22. February 11, 2012 at 3:23 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    This is good topic and one that I am glad is finally being resolved. For those of us that strive to put quality content on our sites it has been frustrating to see other sites less concerned with the user rank high in the search engines. That said I have a couple of adsense based sites where primarily I don´t want the user to be too engaged with the content so at the moment I am trying to find the balance of providing content that the search engines like but the user will skim and hopefully click on the ads.
    This post panda environment has been a great leveller and given the people who joined the IM game a little later a great potential to prosper if you have the right attitude towards the sites that you produce and always think user first. I for one am really excited about the opportunities that are out there to grab at the moment.



  23. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    February 11, 2012 at 3:24 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt – thanks for the very specific post on content.

    If I don’t have time to write content I send it out to an English speaking writer, give them some sources and more specific info on what I want. Then when I get it back I make adjustments to it, or add or subtract material. I find that if I have the “structure” done, then it’s easy for me to polish it
    up with my own style.

  24. February 11, 2012 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    The other Matt (Mr Cutts, head of Google web spam) has been going on about a good user experience in webmaster videos for a long time. It is the number one priority in terms of returning search results, to find those sites that offer the best user experience.
    Google has metrics to try and figure that out, such as bounce rate, time spent on page, social signals (I hate the word “social”. There’s nothing social about geeking around on Facebook all day. If you want to be social go down the pub).
    But the biggest problem with all of these metrics is that people will try and game them.
    They game them, but leave crap on their sites! And the biggest problem of all is that you still see it working in the search results. Google might be big, but they are well outnumbered by IMs. People will always find loopholes.
    You can even game social signals nowadays with paid networks to some extent.
    But the biggest problem of all in my opnion is Google itself and it’s virtual monopoly on search traffic. They created the link spam problem themselves, indirectly. No one in their right mind would spend 5 hours using some spinning software for fun.
    But most of us know that it worked in the past. I think it’s pretty dead in the water now in terms of mass submission to article sites. I cannot remember the last time I saw an ezinearticles article on page one of Google. You used to see them all over the place a couple of years ago. And you almost NEVER see results listing all of those crapticle dirtectories listed in things like Article Marketing Robot and Magic Submitter. I cancelled Magic Submitter recently as anything I sent out on it was pushing my rankings DOWN! Serously.
    I analysed my anal(lytics) the other day, a job I hate doing. But on one of my sites on gardening, my top 7 pages were ones that I had never backlinked to at all. I also rank absolutely nowhere for the main keywords in the title, but get several thousand page views a month for some of them. So I checked out the entrance keywords for this particular page on Bonsai trees, and because I wrote a 2,500 article on the subject, it gets found for several hundred different keyword combinations. I like keyword research, don’t get me wrong, (I bought SE Cockpit after your webinar Matt) but if you start out writing from the perspective of “optimizing” the page for one phrase, you could be spewing out nonsense and actually limiting your potential traffic.
    I’ve been working online since 1989, and search was a nightmare back then. Utter nonsense returned all day long most of the time. Then by the mid 90s it got better, and search was more fun as there were 10-15 search engines you would regularly use. You got different angles on subjects that you don’t get nowadays with just using Google.
    Anyway, enough moaning. The good thing nowadays is that it is quite easy to create a fantastic user experience on a site. I am going to be using a heck of a lot of different media from now on, freely available to set up on sites like:
    audioboo, Pbase, alternet, smugmug, zedge, photosynth, Realscoop, as well as the usual suspects like Facebook, twitter and youtube.

  25. February 11, 2012 at 3:28 am | Permalink

    Good advice, Matt! I have always written all of my own articles because I just couldn’t afford someone else to write them and I knew it would take a lot of time to find someone else who could write well. I often find very poorly written articles on the internet and I suppose many of these are written by low-paid outsourcers.

  26. February 11, 2012 at 3:30 am | Permalink

    Very true words
    I got stuck writing for an SEO Plugin not actually realizing how it read in the readers mind
    I believe this needs a complete re-think for myself and the direction my blog has been and is going’
    Thanks Greg

  27. February 11, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    Thank you Matt! I was so pleased to read your article, quality content is vital these days if you want to succeed at IM.

    I’m a copywriter and started out by writing for the internet.

    I was contacted by someone yesterday who wanted me to write their articles, I had been recommended to him by one of my regular clients. His email started out with “I’m desperate to get 45 articles written…” and ended with “…what’s your best price?”

    I am not a flea market vendor. I take pride in my work and write thoroughly researched articles, well SEO’d if required and delivered on time. If a client wants one article or 101, they are all treated the same. A 500-word article takes the same amount of time whether I’m paid $5 or $40, and as you can imagine I’ll always take the $40, thank you anyway.

    Needless to say I had to bite my tongue when I replied. I wanted to say “you get what you pay for, pal” but I managed a polite reply, declining the work because in truth I’m far too busy.

  28. Ted's Gravatar Ted
    February 11, 2012 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    Great article, and as a content provider I couldn’t agree more. Recent Google changes are aimed at making the user experience better and have flushed out a lot of lower quality sites.
    Well said, Matt!

  29. February 11, 2012 at 3:35 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks very much for yet another wonderful post. ‘Think from the user’s view point ‘ – this is a great tip for beginners and people who are not very successful in their online business. Content should always be given top priority.


  30. February 11, 2012 at 3:37 am | Permalink

    everyone I hear from in the IM business keeps stressing the same thing, namely that as Panda gets smarter (it’s kind of creepy because its as if it’s becoming more intelligent kind of like the machines in The Matrix or something) it’s more important to have good content but this begs an obvious question:
    If you have 50,80 or 180 sites each with let’s say 7-10 posts plus all the articles you would need for article marketing, it would costs tens of thousands of dollars to make those sites work. How can you get reasonably affordable content that is still going to get past Panda’s standards? Thanks Mark

  31. February 11, 2012 at 3:40 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,
    A great way to test the quality of your content is to submit it to Stumbleupon. If it gets stumbled it’s a good sign, if not, maybe your submission is not categorized well, or it sucks.

  32. Kim's Gravatar Kim
    February 11, 2012 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    I have a review site on a particular name brand product and am having a hard time coming up with article ideas as its a review site on “one” product. How many different articles can you do on one product with out them saying practically the same thing? I think I`m moving towards more authority sites in the over all niche. Live and learn. It`s been a great learning experience for me though. Matt, I appreciate all your helpful articles. Thanks!

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Kim

    Yeah I understant, and this is why I don’t do these style of sites any longer, if you are a member of my Rapid Profit Formula you will notice i sent an email out to all members to tell them the course has been totally revamped.


  33. February 11, 2012 at 3:42 am | Permalink

    Aloha Matt!

    I absolutely agree with you 100% percent on this. I use to pay a contractor $10 to $15 per article prior to the Panda update. Now I am willing to pay up to $40 for higher quality articles. The funny thing is, I have noticed that the only search engines that seem to have noticed the better quality of articles on my site have been Google. What seems to be even more bizarre is what seems to be a boost in my rankings after I post a nice fat juicy article. For example, I try to ensure that my articles are at least 1000 words in length, and only containing the most relevant links possible with minimal advertisements or affiliate links. Once these articles post, I get a spike of two or sometimes 3 positions in the search results once the page is indexed. In a way it gives me more incentive to produce better content. Which I believe is the objective of Google. It is so motivating, that I even have resorted to making a writing schedule for myself to ensure that I keep producing these ripe articles for posting. In all of which I try to follow the format you mention. Using bullet points, lots of images or videos and ensuring the article is a really good read. I am not making much money online, but I believe in time I will have a greater likelihood of being rewarded by Google for producing these types of quality articles. …well at least I “hope I’ll be rewarded.”

    Great Writing Matt

  34. February 11, 2012 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    Thanks for the excellent content tips. First it is a good reminder of the importance of quality. I have been guilty of some content that is only OK and now I should go back and fix it. I have never outsourced anything so it has always been just me. I like the idea of using bullet points often. I tend to just write regular paragraphs. I have been good about using video which I usually set the video on auto play so it starts right away when the page is first loaded. I think that is a good way to try and catch the customer’s attention right away.

  35. February 11, 2012 at 3:48 am | Permalink


    What about spinning content for articles used for distribution and linking purposes? The emphasis on quality applies primarily to content on your site, not as much what’s generated for article directories, correct?


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Yes to a certain degree, but you need to make sure your spun content still reads properly, as far as grammar etc…

    Karen Comer Reply:

    One of the reasons for submitting articles to directories is to get backlinks, yes, but surely the other, better reason is to attract visitors to your site who will sign up or make a purchase. They won’t click through if the article is a load of spun garbage. Do you really want your site to be perceived as third rate?

  36. February 11, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    I am glad you wrote about quality content. As a writer, I have been very disappointed to find contenton on websites or in ebooks of extremely low quality. I also refused to write for vendors who weren’t willing to pay enough for the time it takes to research and write good content. So I am pleased to see the results of the Google Panda changes. I hope it creates a better user experience for web surfers.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Marcia

  37. February 11, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt, I have a question about images. One site I did there are lots of pictures in each article and what I’m finding is that I’m getting tons of searches but it’s dominated by the images and not the content. Therefore, it’s not making any money. I ranked for the images but nothing else. Is there a fine line on the number of images to use or how to make sure they don’t dominate your searches?


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Bob

    I would just see the image traffic as extra traffic, but not worry about it, just keep focussing on user traffic.


  38. February 11, 2012 at 4:02 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    I think your right – good content makes for good user experience.Not sure if that’s still enough for Google – if you have an affiliate site.

    As time goes on, I think they will become even cuter at demoting smaller affiliate sites – Google seems to prefer promoting the bigger brands who spend millions with them.

    Understandable from a business point of view – but conducive to good user experience – I don’t know.

    I did see one remark lately allegedly taken from the infamous Google manual reviewer – it said that if, say, a travel site that filled all the users expectations and ticked all the boxes etc should still be marked as spam if it was an affiliate site. So even though it filled searchers needs it would likely be downgraded and so become next to invisible to most searchers.

    By the way SOPA is not dead – the monster has morphed into a more sinister form under the name ACTA.

    I had an email from Fight for the and it states:


    Together, we beat SOPA in a huge victory for internet freedom. But this Saturday, internet freedom protests are breaking out in over 200 cities across Europe. Why?

    Because the companies behind SOPA are using international trade agreements as a backdoor to pass SOPA-style laws

    SOPA’s supporters are pushing two agreements: ACTA and TPP1. ACTA would criminalize users, encourage internet providers to spy on you, and make it easier for media companies to sue sites out of existence and jail their founders. Sound familiar? That’s right, ACTA is from the same playbook as SOPA, but global. Plus it didn’t even have to pass through Congress2.

    TPP goes even farther than ACTA, and the process has been even more secretive and corrupt. Last weekend (we wish this was a joke) trade negotiators partied with MPAA (pro-SOPA) lobbyists before secret negotiations in a Hollywood hotel, while public interest groups were barred from meeting in the same building.3

    Trade agreements are a gaping loophole, a secretive backdoor track that–even though it creates new laws–is miles removed from democracy. Trade negotiators are unelected and unaccountable, so these agreements have been very hard for internet rights groups to stop.

    But now the tide is turning. Fueled by the movement to stop SOPA, anti-ACTA protests are breaking out across the EU, which hasn’t ratified ACTA. The protests are having an impact: leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have backtracked on ACTA.4 Now a massive round of street protests in over 200 cities is planned for this Saturday February 11th.

    We’re planning an online protest this Saturday to support the protests in the streets. Why? Because together we can drive millions of emails to key decision makers–and start tipping the scales like we did on SOPA.

    Can you take part? Click here to get the code to run on your site!

    We just built an ACTA & TPP contact tool, and it’s not just a petition. It’s code for your site that figures out the visitor’s country and lets them email all their Members of European Parliament–the politicians who will be voting on ACTA in June–or the trade negotiators behind TPP. This direct contact between voters and their officials, driven by websites of all sizes, was instrumental in the fight against SOPA.

    We can use the same tactics to defeat ACTA & TPP, but we need your help!

    Support the street protests with a flood of emails to the officials responsible for ACTA & TPP. Get the code for your website!

    Don’t have a website? Tell officials in your country to scrap ACTA & TPP! And spread the word about Saturday’s protests!

    This is going to be tough fight. But we need to make secretive trade agreements harder to pass than US law. If we don’t, our internet’s future belongs to the lobbyists behind SOPA.

    This is just the beginning,

    –Holmes Wilson, Tiffiniy Cheng, Joshua Blount & the whole Fight for the Future team.

    P.S. This map of ACTA street protests in Europe is amazing. The largest has almost 50,000 RSVP’s!


    1. For more information on ACTA, read these excellent articles from Techdirt and La Quadrature du Net. For information on TPP, read this Ars Technica piece. For video, watch this.

    2. Obama’s signing of ACTA may have been unconstitutional. See Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns and Techdirt.

    3. Hollywood gets to party with TPP negotiators, public interest groups get thrown out of the hotel.

    4. Ars Technica: Czech, Slovak governments backing away from ACTA, too.

    For a quick overview of ACTA check out You Tube:

    Sorry for creating an epic post but I believe ACTA should be stopped dead just like SOPA.

    Best regards,

    John C

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Wow, thanks for this update John, I will post that Youtube video on my SOPA post.



  39. February 11, 2012 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    You are correct. the last 18 months I have been doing this..lots of quality content but also a video…i think google owns you tube so they give a embedded you tube video lots of love and google juice

    so lots of content for google and some people. some people wont read the content but will watch the video. and pictures or graphs.
    This has my bounce rate low and time on site higher.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Good work Don


  40. February 11, 2012 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    Good to know (having just spent some time researching the healthy niche I’m working on) but still comes back to backlinks and getting the traffic. Like… can you have one without the other?!

  41. February 11, 2012 at 4:19 am | Permalink

    Now days good content is king for google. I guess what I’m asking is when writing articles, where do you draw the line for the user experience and making a sale pitch to your would be customer for an affiliate site or eCommerce sites. With recent purchases of the synnd software. There saying you can’t talk about products at all. Just an unbiased opinion. In the end every marketer wants that click that ends in a sale. Any feed back would be great. I have many articles ready to post but I want them to be successful.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    The key thing Scott is to build trust with your customers, whether you are an affiliate or merchant, if they trust you they will buy your recommendations. A lot of affiliates before Google Panda went for the approach of just trying to get that affiliate link clicked as quickly as possible, I too was guilty of this, but not anymore, as you really should take the approach of helping the visitor as they are more likely to return to your site and pass it to friends and you will make more sales anyway.


  42. carlen's Gravatar carlen
    February 11, 2012 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Matt. I’m pretty new at this affiliate marketing, but I’ve been writing and editing for two decades now. And frankly I’ve been very surprised by what google found as acceptable sites… densely packed copy, no breathing room, copy that would be unacceptable for most 5th graders, etc. etc. etc.

    I’m glad to hear that google is searching for quality… I hope that turns out to be true.

    A long-time affiliate marketer, Travis Sago, talks about the fact that as affiliate marketers it’s not our job to sell a visitor to our site… that’s the job of the merchant. Our job is to be Advocates for our visitor searching for some good info.

    I like that approach. I’ll find out soon enough if it works for me.

    Keep up the good work.


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Carlen

    Yup your job as the affiliate is not to sell the customer, but to faciliate the sale, by providing valuable content about the topic for them.


  43. February 11, 2012 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Wow, 40 dollars an article – I just write my own stuff. But I know what you’re saying is true.

    I also think it is important, when uploading images for content to fill in all the fields (using WordPress as an example) for metadata, like the Title, Alternate Text, etc. I think of it as trying to rank my images as well as my content, so that if people are searching for images…

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Chris


  44. February 11, 2012 at 4:35 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt
    That is a very constructive article and I agree with what matt says about regarding if you have the same amount of backlinks as your competitor the only thing that will separate them both in the rankings would be good quality content.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Lorean


  45. February 11, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Thanks again, Matt, for your great ideas on getting quality content for our sites. I agree, our content should be something others will want to share and consider a great resource for what they are looking for. Thanks for the 5 tips – I will make a note of them and be sure I incorporate them into my posts.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Sounds good Karleen, keep up the great work


  46. February 11, 2012 at 4:48 am | Permalink

    Matt, I think you’re a genius but if I had to pay $40 per article I’d probably be better off writing the content myself. Hell, I’d hire myself and quit my day job and be making a WHOLE lot more money. Of course it would never get done then.
    I suppose though that you’re right if I were be posting to for an authority site like yours. I’m not. Anyway, great reminder for me to do what I can to improve my content. Thanks!

    bill Reply:

    I just noticed all the typos in my own previous post. Another reason not to write my own stuff, lol. ;D

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Bill

    Yeah, well I wrote all the content for my first few sites many years ago, so if you don’t want to pay a writer, then doing it yourself is a good option, if you can write well


  47. February 11, 2012 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt

    We’ve all been doing the $5 for 500 word thing.. Whilst its ok for some site for my better long term sites im definetly moving up the price curve.

    Where have you found great writers yourself? Im looking to pay no more than $1015 for a 500 word article.


    Matt Carter Reply:

    Hi Steve $1015 is a huge amount for an article of 500 word!! ha ha, I know you meant $10-$15. But really that is still quite low and you can’t expect that great quality, but it is going to be better. Also I use and one last thing, 500 words is too short, aim for mininum of 800



  48. Guy's Gravatar Guy
    February 11, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    Thank you for the tips Matt. That’s what I’m doing lately.

    I have a few mini new sites I have launched recently, but before going too far with this, I decided to revise my content with the help of what you show in your Rapid Profit Formula about writing good review – really help me that one.

    And I also recently ordered your Rapid Rewriter to help me do that tweaking of my sites and write more contain.

    Really love and enjoy that software.

    Thanks again.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Good work Guy


  49. February 11, 2012 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    Great article Matt, I take it you wrote this one yourself, it’s good but not worth $

    Would you say it’s a good idea once you’ve paid for your content to be written, that you can spin your content and repost it out to all the article sites for more backlinks?

    Get Your Free Traffic Secrets Here

    Matt Carter Reply:

    HI Steve

    No I would not spin content that you use on your sites.


  50. February 11, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink


    You are right about content quality. I have only been doing SEO for a very short time but I am quickly finding out that as far as quality content is concerned, you pretty much get what you pay for. I wish I could get great writing for $5 an article, but so far that has not been my experience. I have a lady who writes health related articles for me, who I found at Odesk…she is more expensive, but boy is she worth it. What she writes is better than what I can produce and it can go directly on my website without me having to alter it or anything.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Dean


  51. February 11, 2012 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Great information Matt,

    I definitely took a hit with Panda – or Farmer-well one of them, not quite sure. But I think my content is pretty good overall, I know that there were other areas that were not quite right.

    Needless to say, i am going through my websites with a fine tooth comb, looking for areas where improvments need to be made.. 🙂

    Thanks again..

  52. February 11, 2012 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    I agree with you that you get what you pay for but sometimes by luck you may find masterpiece writters who like writing and are good writers.
    Thanks for your post can you suggest a good backlinking service that wont break the bank and have good roi?

  53. February 11, 2012 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    Great Article Matt, I always look forward to what you have to say my friend…

    Eric Burnett

  54. February 11, 2012 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    It seems that the research really is the key to good content, but doesn’t your target audience dictate how technical the writing should be? I guess using links to more info can give readers the option to dig deeper.

    Matt, you always deliver good content and ideas for discussion.

  55. February 11, 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Finally! People are getting it! The kind of freelance writers who do spend time researching and writing quality articles have been forced to write at 3rd world prices simply because internet marketers could and would buy junk at a lower price! I have not been a fan of Panda in the past, but if this is what it takes for freelance writers to get a living wage then, I say yay Panda!

  56. February 11, 2012 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt…

    Great article…as usual. An insight that is very relative today.

    I have a question. I have a site that got hit hard by the last Panda update in Nov 2011. I have tried to figure out what to do to get the rankings back (was ranked #7 for almost a year). Now…it’s no where in sight.

    But, can’t figure out what to do.

    The only thing left is the content. I have 100+ articles on the site. Should I go through them and delete the content that is not quite up to par?

    As far as backlinks…I try to build about 75 per month. But, Google is only recognizing about 50.

    What should I do now?


  57. February 11, 2012 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I really think that content is the main driving force of any website. If you can write good certainly then you posses the power to do well.

  58. February 11, 2012 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Ever since the panda update, writing quality, user friendly content is definitely key in better rankings.

    I actually think that the panda update has given good marketers an advantage. As you said, it is not as easy to rank as it was in the past and this helps those of us who actually put in the time to do keyword research, build backlinks and write quality content.

    So, I’m all for Panda!

    Thanks for sharing Matt and have a good one!

  59. February 11, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Great Article Matt,
    However I think you should not only write good articles and posts, I think everything you write should be the best you can do. Post to a blog only top quality. If you can not post information that will help the readers and the blog, don’t post. Skip it and go on to the next blog. You will be rewarded by long lasting blog posts and the link you desire.

  60. February 11, 2012 at 7:06 am | Permalink


    I agree with you 100%. $40/article is a little above my means however so I’ll have to keep writing for now. Thanks for the tips about improving content.

  61. February 11, 2012 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,
    i found that in order to write great articles you need to research your niche and theme your articles with keywords that are in your niche.And study the top ten results in Google,to find what causes them to rank so high.Its a lot of work,but you can rank higher with less backlinks.Of course i write my own articles.

  62. February 11, 2012 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    I figure by the time I pay someone a cheap price to write an article for me, then I have to edit or re-write it to bring it up to my high standards, I might as well just write it myself. Of course, I’m a better than average writer and know it will be decent if I do it.

    Good content, whether you write it or pay for it, will always bring a better ROI than all the SEO and back linking you could do. And really, the writing is the EASY part of the process. Always consider the visitor and an easy test for that is, if you read the content, would you trust this person and take their suggestion to buy what they’re reviewing? Or click the back button and go look elsewhere?

    Another idea on getting quality content is instead of paying someone else to write it because you’re not a good writer, write it and have someone edit it for you (rather than the other way around).

    Glad you wrote such a thorough article on this topic, Matt. And thanks for your honest self-assessment!


  63. February 11, 2012 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Hi Matt,

    Thanks for this. With us, we have so many pages on our website that it is very important to have good content on each page.

  64. February 11, 2012 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I probably don’t put out that much content, however I do spend a lot of time thinking about what I am going to write about, and then I write about it, in a way that you could say is convesational, as if I am speaking to the person reading it.

    As this takes a lot of time I only write one or two articles a month, but they seam to rank well.

    Quality definately outranks Quantity.

  65. Patricia's Gravatar Patricia
    February 11, 2012 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Bravo Matt! you ARE the genuine article! (Sorry for the pun.) Someone who has a tendency to sensationalize and not give a rat’s ass about quality would NOT be as down-to-earth and in touch as you are. It makes sense – Google must be saturated up to the rafters with poor content by now, and things have to change. Cheers.

  66. February 11, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    G’Day Matt….It was really getting out of control. Worst of all many of those poorly written articles ranked on 1st page of Google. I for one am glad that changes have been done and reward those that work hard to give value to one’s visitors. Just yesterday I payed twenty dollars to a guy in England to write me an article for Ezinearticles, where as I have been using Fivver in the past. Some were good but you really have to go through a lot of them to find a good writer.

    Now I feel I can build a relationship up with this person… he gets to know my needs and I now can do other things knowing that I will always get good researched content.
    To your success

  67. February 11, 2012 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt,

    Well said Matt you definitively cant beat getting a well written article and these days you do have to pay a reasonable amount of money otherwise you just get rubbish.


  68. Eric Bakker ND's Gravatar Eric Bakker ND
    February 11, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Another superb article from Matt. This was my personal strategy all along, I have written several hundred articles ranging from 2500 – 5000 words for my site and the traffic is starting to really reflect the fact that people (interested in my niche) love my articles. I believe in:
    – Originality, express yourself like you would talk to a good friend.
    – Never copy another peoples content, ever heard of copyscape? You will end up getting “cease and desist” letters and maybe an internet lawyer on your tail to.
    – Eat, live and breathe you niche. The more you know it the more people will love your content. Read everything you can about your field, and associate with people who are the experts in your field.
    – Have lots of patience, it can take years to become known as the guru in your field.

  69. February 11, 2012 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    $40 for an article. I hope it is 1200 words or so. I agree with the images, videos and more. I think $20 an article is good too. I was displeased with the higher cost articles though. I did a better job than the writer. where do you get yours from.

  70. Adam's Gravatar Adam
    February 11, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Hey Matt
    Quality content is definately the way forward. Not just quality but article length also. I am finding that 1000 word articles are ranking much better than 500 word articles. So from now on all my my website posts are 1000 word articles. Might update some of my thin content websites that were slapped by google to 1000 words minimum. Great post by the way.

  71. February 11, 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Great post Matt and rings a very strong bell in me.

    I’ve been doing affiliate marketing part-time and have to admit that the only sites that make me significant money are those with original quality content that I wrote myself.

    Now I’m doing the same on a new site only this time, my articles are longer (around 2000 – 2500 words) and have only 3 up so far, so I have much more work to do. But each one took me about 3-4 hours since I really had to think them through.

    But interestingly (and despite Google’s craving for fresh & unique content which I read on from their own guidelines), I am getting absolutely no meaningful rankings whatsoever. Although all the pages are indexed, I can’t find the site anywhere and zero traffic from Google Analytics. The site is only 2 months old.

    I’ve deliberately held-off from backlinking to see how the Google Panda ‘reacted’. And in this case, the Giant Panda seems to be stuck chewing bamboo somewhere or another.

    So I guess the moral of the story (at least so far ….it’s early days) is that even if you work hard to produce high-quality / great content, it is definitely not enough. It will help readers once they find you but starting out, backlinking seems the only way to start getting any initial visibility, and eventually things will get better from there (in combination with other ‘social’ techniques, I guess).

    Thank you again for sharing your insights.

  72. February 11, 2012 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    I want to know how long was the $40 article? and if you get it rank it? thanks

  73. February 11, 2012 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    As always, great points Matt. There is no short cut to getting quality content these days. You either have to write it yourself or pay more than you have been in the past. In the long run, good content will always end up paying for itself and then some.

    Matt Carter Reply:

    Thanks Adam


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About Matt

Hey, Matt here, I'm a full time Super Affiliate, 33 years old, and live in New Zealand with my wife and son.

The internet is a brilliant way to make money. I encourage you to sign up above and start with my free 12 part affiliate marketing video course, and follow on facebook