I am often amazed when people ask what type of content ranks best in today's search engine results. The answer is and will always be the same: Google wants one thing, and that is quality content. Google strives to provide its users with the best possible results. There are several reasons why some sites rank at the top and others rank at the very bottom.
Two of the main ones are:
1. Delivering high quality original content that is both legitimate and credible
2. Updating the site with fresh content on a regular basis
The first and foremost tip is to stop trying to game the search engines with black hat techniques. True, they may work for a short while, but eventually the search engines will catch up and put your site in the sandbox. Once in the sandbox Google won't send you any more traffic. Instead of spending hours trying to find a way to trick the search engines why not spend an hour or two writing a valuable piece of content the search engines and people will love?
So what can you do to be sure that Google views your content as valuable? There are two major factors that Google looks at, and you can easily track how your website performs through cold, hard data.
User Engagement and Bounce Rate
The first one is engagement. How engaging is your content? Are people actually reading the entire article or are they hitting the back button as soon as they see it? This is how Google measures engagement. They want to know how long people are sticking around to read your content. If they stick around for several minutes, they know you are providing value. This metric is measured by what is called Bounce Rate, and lower bounce rates can help rankings.
If users typically click back, and your site has consistently high bounce rates, this can affect rankings in Google.
The second thing they look at are linking patterns. Google and other search engines learned very early on that people link to content they consider valuable. Content that is considered useful almost always is shared by users. Content that is considered useless doesn't. It's quite simple, but don't be fooled. All backlinks are not created equal. This ties in closely with user engagement and Google wants to see that your content is being shared by reputable sources with real people.
While linking algorithms have advanced quite a bit over the last several years, the basic principles of this concept still hold true. So if you want your content to rank make sure it’s valuable. Make sure it helps the end user. That's the key to getting your content ranked. There are no magic methods or solutions.
Make Content For Users Not Search Engines
I am sure you have heard this said before and it’s true. When one creates a web page for search engines their focus is keywords. Focusing on keywords and feeding the Google bot often results in overstuffed and awkward content that is boring and difficult to read by your actual customers.
While you may see a brief rise in your search results with these types of black hat tactics, most often it’s only for a short while and then the site is hit with a big fat penalty and ends up in the black hole of SERPS.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Useful content leads to happy users and a low bounce rate, happy users link back and/or spread the word about the content through social media, which leads to more traffic, which leads to better rankings in Google.
Therefore, when it's all said and done, your end tactic needs to be focused around providing useful content. That's what Google wants and that's what your potential customers want.
Any time anyone uses Google to make a search, they have an intent. They want to either find out about something, learn about something, solve a problem, buy something or treat something. Google is going to provide users with information that fulfills that intent, so do your research and find out what type of content your target audience is searching for. Make it a point to construct your content around their wants and needs. This will not only increase your rankings, but it will also increase your conversions and sales.
If there's one take away point from this post, it's this: people read content, not the search engines and people are your paying customers. Do away with the keyword stuffing and anything else that is designed to manipulate the search engines. Write good content that people will love to read and your content will be ranked!
Too busy to keep up with your own blog or social media content? We can write and post content for you every week with our affordable content packages. Check out our custom social media content packages to get started and bring new life to your online presence.