What Google Wants from Your Content
How many times have you heard that content is king? The importance of great content has been emphasised over and over again and, while it may have become a bit of a cliché nowadays, there is a reason why everyone says it: Google.
Google is constantly refining the algorithms they use to rank pages according to content quality. The technology titan has also released Search Quality Rating Guidelines that are kept up-to-date and help websites create the best content possible. To the surprise of absolutely no one, the best content and the one that ranks higher on Google is the one that follows those guidelines.
So, how can you ensure that your content hits all of Google’s sweet spots?
High Quality and Informative Pages
Low-quality websites are not, predictably, Google’s cup of tea… if a page is considered of low quality, it will not rank as well on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). However, it can be challenging to know exactly what makes a high-quality page. Thankfully, Google’s guidelines can help you here.
A low-quality page is characterised by factors such as:
- The quality of the Main Content itself is low
- The website’s reputation is negative
- The page design is not very user-friendly
- There are little to no updates to the website
- The amount of information on the pages is not satisfactory
- The page does not have helpful Supplementary Content
If you think your website or your pages present one or more of these elements, then it might be time to re-evaluate your content! A simple but effective rule of thumb is E-A-T: Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This of, course, also implies that certain practices, such as copying content from other websites, having little content on pages, and making things up, to mention a few, are not well regarded by Google.
Google launched their mobile-friendly update in 2015, which boosted the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. While most people who accessed the internet in recent years were doing so on their computers, 2016 was the year when mobile web use surpassed it. 51.3% of people used mobile devices to load websites, an astonishing figure that clearly showcases the importance of a responsive website design agency for a mobile-first website.
And, with the introduction of a mobile-first index that might launch at the end of 2017 or in 2018 (the exact date is still unknown), it is increasingly important that your website has the appropriate content to rank well – if it’s not mobile-friendly, it may not rank that well at all.
Your SEO needs to be on top of everything to prepare for this change: your mobile website should have structured data, responsive design, rel-annotations, and, of course, the content you want to rank for.
SEO is your friend. Contrary to what you may think, Google has no problem with organic and natural SEO practices, as long as you approach them with a positive, user-friendly mentality and intention.
A good way to optimise your pages is to ensure the right balance of keywords. While search engines need keywords to tell them just how relevant a page is, keyword abuse is frowned upon, so cramming them will have bad results for your ranking. A 1% to 3% keyword distribution will allow you to keep your readers in mind, too, not just the search engine.
Keywords should also be grouped in synonymous sets, as Google recognises similar words when performing a search. LSI (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords are, in essence, keywords that are closely related to other search queries, and Google holds them in high esteem. Your page can rank better by using LSI keywords, as different people will search for the same thing in different terms.
However, as with everything else, moderation is key! Otherwise, you get something like this:
“So this SEO copywriter walks into a bar, grill, pub, public house, Irish bar, bartender, drinks, beer, wine, liquor”
— L.A. Weekly (@LAWeekly) January 10, 2011
Funny, but not the best SEO practice!
Another way to improve SEO performance is by using H tags. There is a hierarchy to H elements, with H1 being the most important one for a very long time. Structuring a page correctly means obeying this hierarchy and applying H2 to H6 as subheadings.
If we were to consider where SQ Digital lives, for example, the hierarchy could be applied as such:
While this is not the cure-all for your SEO needs, it does make it easier for Google to understand what your content is all about. There are much more ways to correctly optimise your pages, from making sure you have a great link-building strategy and creating a user-friendly website to ensuring YMYL (Your Money or Your Life) pages have the right references and expert opinions.
Being helpful and providing positive, valuable information is Google’s aim; if your content can achieve this by following the guidelines, then you’re well on your way to having a website with content loved by your readers and, of course, search engines.
Our SQ Digital experts always strive to provide the best SEO content for Google and other search engines. Our content marketing agency has over 20 years of experience in producing SEO lead content so that we can create meaningful and user-friendly content for your website; contact us and talk to a friendly member of our team.