In 2017, SEOs have been scrambling to keep up with the all of the Google algorithm updates—both confirmed and not. While algorithm updates are common in the organic search world, the fact that we’ve already seen multiple updates regarding content quality paints a very clear picture: if you don’t have good content, you’re falling behind.
A quick note about algorithm updates: when Google rolls out an update, usually they affect a small percentage of websites indexed by the search engine. Unless you’re blatantly spamming the system, you’re probably not going to be affected. However, these algorithm updates give SEOs insight into what they should be focusing their efforts on. With multiple algorithm updates centered on content already in 2017, creating high-quality content that engages the user has never been more important.
But how do you put together high-quality content? What even is high quality content? The answer, unfortunately, is “Well, it’s hard to say.” I know—they pay me the big bucks for a reason. But there are some specific things that you can factor into your content creation that will make your customers—and therefore, Google—happy.
Always Focus On the User
The biggest trap we fall into is focusing too much on rankings and keywords and not enough on the end user. Trust me—when I’m buried in Excel spreadsheets trying to crunch the numbers to boost a site’s organic performance, I sometimes lose sight of what’s important: answering the user’s question.
Typically, when somebody performs a search in Google, they’re setting out to find information about or answer a question on a specific thing. It’s important to intersect the searcher with valuable content that thoroughly answers their question in an engaging way. You can find what these topics and questions are through keyword research and SEO-focused ideation, but it’s important that the final piece of content is highly focused on providing value to the user. One of the biggest ranking factors for Google is bounce rate—a statistic that measures how frequently a user looks at exactly one page on your site before leaving. If somebody lands on your website, doesn’t see what they want, and immediately leaves, Google is going to understand that you’re not providing the right content to the people making that specific search, and you’re going to suffer in the channel.
That’s why, when creating content, it’s important to answer the following question: “If I landed on this website to do research about this topic, would I be satisfied with what I learned?” If your answer is “Yeah, actually, this content does a good job of explaining this topic!” then you’re well on your way to having successful content on your website.
Imagine you walk into a restaurant and it’s just filthy. Like it feels like you’re seconds from seeing Jon Taffer burst in and scream “SHUT IT DOWN”. You wouldn’t want to eat there, even if you had heard great things about the food. A website is kind of the same—if your site’s design is awful and has a confusing user interface, you’re not likely to see great results in the organic channel. Think back to what I said in the previous section—having a user deeply engage with your website (visiting multiple pages, spending lots of time on each page to read the content) is one of the strongest ranking signals. Your website’s design is crucial to this experience.
Since 2014, SEOs have keyed in on user experience (UX) as a critical ranking factor, and it’s only gotten more important as time has gone on. As a matter of fact, Google has ways of seeing if a site is sub-standard based on how it’s laid out—primarily through making sure it’s not overly spammy with advertisements. So if you have great content, but you’re still not performing as well as you should, take a look at how your site is designed. UX is as important to SEO performance as anything else. And that’s not even going into mobile usability!
Invest in Building Good Content Today
Listen—creating great content is really hard. I’ve been doing this for a while and I’m still learning new ways to build good content for clients. When you factor in how Google frequently moves the target, it’s important to have a specialist focusing on developing these strategies for you. That’s where we come in! To learn more about Brightlark’s content creation and SEO services, contact us today!
April 13, 2017