Google is on a mission to provide users with more high-quality content. Last October 1, they announced through a blog post that they’re removing the First Click Free (FCF) Policy.FCF was designed to allow users to discover and see how valuable subscription content is. Since subscription content is only accessible to subscribers and Google evaluations showed that non-subscribers tended to shy away from it, FCF was introduced.
But now, Google is removing FCF as a requirement for Search and instead encouraging publishers to look into other available free sampling schemes. As long as publishers adhere to the webmaster guidelines, then there should be no issues with the free content they’re sharing with non-subscribers.
No to Deceiving Users
This announcement made by Google only shows how crucial quality content is for every website, be it business or personal in nature. Google is keen to ensure only high-quality content circulates online and if you want to be sure your website continues to do well, you need to commit to creating only valuable content.
Aside from providing users with the opportunity to discover the value of subscription content, FCF was also designed to address spam issues such as cloaking. In cloaking, users are served content that is different to what was stated on the search engine results page. It misleads users in order to drive click-through rates and Google doesn’t take this lightly.
So, even if you’re having a hard time attracting readers to your website, don’t resort to the ‘bait and switch’ scheme. There are many more search engine friendly ways to drive traffic to your blog posts. If your content is valuable, chances are you won’t even have to do all the hard work. Your readers will also help you spread the word about your great work.
How Flexible Sampling Works
Google provided a comprehensive guide for implementing the flexible sampling. In particular, they recommended using either metering or lead-in. In metering, publishers can set a quota on the free articles that non-subscribers can access before the paywalls start to appear. In Lead-in, on the other hand, the first few sentences of the article will be shown to give users a preview of the content.
Done correctly, flexible sampling will work great for publishers that are looking for more exposure for their content, without compromising their goals for implementing subscription offers. The job is now in the hands of publishers and content creators to ensure they keep sharing content that matters.
Tips for Creating Quality Content
Even Google advises against writing for search engines. Always put your readers first. Here are some basic tips for creating quality content that both users and search engines will appreciate.
- Always share original content. You’re free to gather inspirations or ideas from popular posts but be sure to make something that’s all your own. If you must quote statements from other posts, don’t forget to add credits where they’re due.
- Never deceive users. Avoid tricks at all costs. Instead, always ask yourself if the content you’re about to share will be helping your users in any way. Be clear about what users can expect from your content and deliver.
- Keep watch for your redirects. If you must add a link to your content, know where your users are being redirected. There’s nothing wrong linking to another related post within your website or to a credible source. But make it a habit to review links you share to ensure there are no broken links or sneaky redirects within your pages.
- Break down content into smaller chunks. Avoid writing in huge blocks of paragraphs. Help your users absorb your content more easily by breaking it down into smaller chunks. Use subheadings to separate your points and bullets for easier scanning of information.
- Use your keywords wisely. Keywords are important in that they let search engine crawlers know what your content is about. However, you’ll want to use them sparingly. Avoid too much repetition and instead look into other phrases or long-tail keywords you can use.
- Write unique headlines and meta descriptions. Avoid using the same meta descriptions over again. Let users know what your content is about, all while making sure you’re not duplicating a snippet you have already used for another content. As for your headlines, be creative but avoid being too gimmicky.
- Add images or visuals. Consumers are driven by visuals. They see images and graphics first before they take notice of texts. Take advantage of this by incorporating original or free to use images and don’t forget to add your alt tags.
- Share on social media. Don’t be shy to share your work with your followers. Add social media buttons to your posts so even your readers can also share them within their circle. You need not rely on search engines alone for your content to gain exposure.
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