As a small business marketing consultant, I talk about the need to provide quality content on your website if you want to rank well in searches. But how do search engines identify quality content?
Successive Google algorithm updates (culminating in the recent Panda 4.1) aim to refine results so that they match the intent of the search query and deliver the most comprehensive, accessible and well-written answer.
Put simply, Google are always looking for genuine quality content, and are increasingly smart at finding (and dismissing) pages that try to get round the system.
For example, Google’s Hummingbird algorithm restructure enables it to better understand the meaning behind search queries as well as the semantics behind content.
So what should you focus on if you want to produce content that search engines will recognise as high quality? Here are five key factors that we have identified from our rearch as a small business marketing consultant:-
1. Holistic content
Content should not just be focused on optimising for single keywords – but should cover the topic comprehensively and be based on individual subjects or topic areas that are based around keywords and a variety of related terms.
This change is because Hummingbird and the move to semantic search means Google is now much better at recognising the intent of searchers when they enter a search term.
Companies should include content phrases in order to be more holistic – and, at the same time, make content more relevant for users with different search intentions.
A good way of doing this is to look at content in terms of proof terms and relevant terms, as both have a strong positive correlation with high Google rankings.
For example, for a search term such as “iPhone 6 plus” proof terms such as “Apple” or “mobile” are words that are strongly related to the primary keyword and highly likely to appear at the same time.
Relevant terms such as “bending” or “screen size” are a bit more removed and part of a sub-ordinate topic cluster, but still important.
2. Length of text on the page
Back in 2012 when Searchmetrics analysed the factors that correlate with pages that rank highly in Google, they found a higher number of words on a page had a negative correlation.
That trend continues as the average length of a top ranking result is now around 975 words/8,313 characters.
Obviously this is not just a question of writing more words – search engines are looking for quality content that is relevant and contains content clusters, rather than unconnected, single keywords.
3. Readability of copy on the page
As part of the aim of delivering usable results, Google is also considering the readability of the text - i.e. how easy (or difficult) it is to read particular pages.
Generally web content that aims to appeal to a non-specialist audience should be straightforward to read and understand if it is to rank highly.
It‘s important to create content that fits the search intention and the needs of your specific targeted user group.
4. Less advertising on the page
Sites that rank in the top 30 positions generally include less advertising than average according to our analysis. As a small business marketing consultant, my research indicates that Adlinks and Google Adsense integrations both correlate negatively with good rankings.
This continuing change reflects the desire from people to find and read holistic content, rather than be distracted by advertising.
5. The presence of images
While perhaps not worth a thousand words, photos and videos seem to be viewed favourably by Google as well as making a page more attractive to readers.
The top ten ranked sites in Google’s search results tend to have between 6-8 images on a page for example. While it is likely that this will be capped by Google in future, ensuring your content has relevant, high quality images will help when it comes to ranking.
Google is getting better at identifying quality content and its succession of algorithm updates will continue to downgrade the appearance of poor and spammy pages in its results.
If you want to achieve strong, long lasting search visibility then you should make sure that producing a regular stream of high quality content for your target audiences is a key part of your strategy.
Content is essential in SEO which is all this article has been about. But do you fully understand SEO in B2B marketing? No, well find out more by downloading the eBook from the link below:-