One of the content creator’s greatest joys is to see people engaging with their content. However, this may not be possible if the intended audience never comes across the content. For the right audience to see the content, its creators need to ‘work together with search engines’.
In this article, we explore ranking on Google and how content comes in. We will finally look at how you can create content that will do well on search engines, allowing the right audience to engage with it.
How Google’s ranking works
Google uses algorithms to ensure that information is organized and then presented in a way that enables people to find what they are looking for. There are many algorithms that work together in order to achieve this.
These algorithms look for a range of signals that altogether determine where you rank on search engine results. Some of these factors include content authority, location, the words used in a search query, webpage relevance, how easy it is for users to use your webpage or website, and the nature of the user’s query.
In this article, we will focus on those factors that have to do with content.
Google ranking factors that are informed by content
Let’s explore how content comes into play when it comes to ranking.
The length of the content
A few years ago, it was easy to rank on Google even with a piece of content that was only 300 words long. But since Google frequently updates its algorithms, such content is no longer a game plan.
The length of your content matters. According to a ranking factors study by SEMRush, the difference between the length of the content of the result at number three and number 20 was 45%. This graph by SerpIQ shows the length of content in the top 10 results on Google:
Long-form content gives you an opportunity to fine-tune your piece to make it more relevant and valuable for your intended readers. However, don’t just make content longer without adding any real value.
People are more likely to share long-form content on social media because they find it valuable. Better still, users engage with this content more, to the tunes of 68% on Twitter and around 23% on Facebook.
When people engage with your content and share it, Google picks that up as a signal of relevance, contributing to better ranking on the search engine’s results.
The quality of the content
A lot has changed when it comes to the definition of quality content. A few years ago, quality content was centred around the use of keywords. All you needed to do was add a keyword to your title, use it in your content headers, and at the beginning, middle and end of the article – roughly 3 to 5 times within the content.
Today, quality means that the content:
- Is relevant to the user. It helps them find what they are looking for.
- Purposefully uses keywords. Using synonyms in order to keep repeating keywords does not equal to using keywords when necessary. It might get you penalized, contributing to lower site rank on Google.
- Uses long-tail keywords. These are longer keywords. For example, a user looking to join university might search ‘what are the options for joining university’ rather than ‘joining university’. The former is a long-tail keyword. It is easier for your content to rank for these.
- Is not ‘thin’ (content that offers very little value if any for the user).
- Is not ‘duplicate’ (you have extremely similar content on different pages on your site).
Optimizing for a higher rank on Google
How do you then ensure that your content actually ranks on Google?
Create relevant and quality content
There is no way around this. The content that you create must be relevant and of high quality. What does this mean?
- It needs to be long-form
- It needs to have a unique angle to it
- It needs to properly use long-tail keywords
- It needs to be free from grammatical errors and typos
- It needs to bring to the fore your expertise at the topic you are dealing with
- It needs to take care of the audience’s geographical location. We are going to look at this more in the next section
Content needs to take care of a user’s geographical location…
If you have noticed, Google’s search results include this rectangular box on the right side that contains information about the site that you are looking for.
Image source: http://bit.ly/3aHFDBo
This is called a ‘Google My Business’ Listing. What does this have to do with content and Google’s ranking? It comes with a part where posts can be added. You want to ensure that the content that is created is relevant to the people who see this part of the results.
Moreover, Google’s algorithms show users content based on their location. A global brand is likely to have different websites and content for different regions or languages. This way, users only get to see what is relevant to them.
Make your content easy to read and interact with
Now that you know you need to create long-form content, you need to make sure that it is easily readable. Here are some tips that you can incorporate:
- Use lists and bullets
- Use short paragraphs
- Break the content (use images and videos)
All in all
A lot of effort goes into creating content. In order to ensure that the right pair of eyes gets to interact with it, you need to have an understanding of how search engines show it to them. You then need to go on and improve your content, incorporating aspects that will make it easier for search engines to qualify your content as quality. This way, you will not only have the intended audience engaging with your content but also achieve a higher rank on Google.