Let’s put a little personality behind Google. What does Google want? Google wants to keep people using its search engine. For that to happen, good search results are a must. So, in turn, Google wants you to be a great result for their customers, the searchers. Becoming a consistent and trustworthy source of good results is the best way to grow your monthly search traffic.
In October 2015, Google released a one hundred sixty page manual for all to see. It gave some direction as to what Google was looking for and included some guidelines for best practices. To summarize, those who work hard and are honest will be rewarded with higher rankings.
For years tinkerers and hackers have been trying to cheat the system. These bad guys have been trying to rank higher regardless of the website’s value, the messaging, or what was being forced onto the searcher. These sites would not only have bad content but often they would try to install malicious malware or dupe the unsuspecting browser. Google has been in a constant battle with these cheaters since the very beginning.
At one time, there was a high value on keywords and meta tags. This only lasted until the cheaters stuffed paragraphs and overused keywords trying to get a ranking. They showed a lack of concern for the quality of content or the user’s experience. Now Google barely looks at metadata. Often, Google only notices when someone is trying to cheat the algorithm.
After this came an era when it was rumored that websites with the most links were considered the tops. Instantly, people were going link crazy. Sites were popping up just to sell links. Overnight, directory websites were scraping the internet just to farm out links. The ugliest is when computer programs called robots or “bots” spammed all of the blog comment sections. This caused most bloggers at the height of blogging to turn off the ability to comment on their posts. Once again, Google had to step in. Google now punishes sites that have these low-value inbound links. Be careful who you let link to you.
Recently, content quality was under the gun. Content was officially crowned the King of search engine optimization. Many people try to take the least expensive route, opting for less expensive offshore content creation, or allowing a novice writer to create or curate their copy. This could be their assistant, your high school daughter, or a neighborhood college student… not an expert in your field. This low-quality content was littering the internet. Before things got too far out of control, Google came out with two crucial content guidelines, which I’ve illustrated below.
E.A.T. = Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness!
Google wants expert content! Not something you let your niece write because she needs the practice, and certainly not something written by someone from another country. Many undervalue how important it is to write the content themselves or hire a high-quality copywriter, or at times, both. If you know that writing is not your strength, don’t waste time creating copy or content you know is below par. Your website and your marketing efforts deserve better.
Other indicators graded are readership level, copy length, topic, keywords, and a few more formatting best practices. Google can tell. How? Because they are comparing your site to every other site on the world wide web. By using various indicators, Google can spot what quality is and what is of little value to searchers.
Y.M.O.Y.L = Your Money or Your Life!
As drastic as this sounds, Google is sick and tired of its customers getting scammed by internet fraudsters. Now, and more in the future, Google will be taking a hard look at any website that offers content or sells products that will directly affect the wellbeing of the searchers.
• Think bad medical advice.
• Think online shopping scams.
• Think bad investment opportunities.
• Think Fake News!
• Be Unique or Be Left Out
O.P.C. Other People’s Content
The same seven words in a row on two sites is a major red flag. Duplicate content is considered the cardinal search sin. Is your content authentic and one of a kind? Check for yourself. There are several online sites that you can use to verify that your copy is unique and original. Copyscape is the industry standard, easy to use, and very affordable. Copy and paste in a few of the paragraphs from your site. Just like Google, these engines can scan the web and tell you every instance, the date and the origin of the content. Google can do the same with photos too. So original photography counts! This practice is worth the effort if you’re concerned about featuring in search engine results and protecting your online integrity.
New Episodes or Just a Bunch of Reruns?
Google gets so bored! Google scans the internet and looks at each website about once per month. Imagine, some of these websites have not changed in years. It would be like watching the same reruns of old episodes over and over again. Extremely dull… very unexciting.
When Google comes by your website and sees that you have new content and photos, it is very much like releasing a new episode. With excitement, Google notes your changes and can’t wait to see more! A new article or blog post is all it takes to keep Google happy. In fact, with continued updates, Google will begin to favor your site and start coming by more often to check your new content. Better yet, this increased interest means your pages are being indexed in search more often, and your content is ranking higher.
Compare two local mechanics in your town. Mechanic A hasn’t updated their website in almost ten years. Boring! On the other side of town, Mechanic B has been updating their site every month with how-to articles and being helpful by advising those searching for vehicle maintenance tips. Which website do you think Google will rank higher? A or B?
The answer, of course, is B. Google believes that a website that updates regularly, with new, fresh content is often a better search result, versus an old stagnant website. Your website needs to become a better result. Better than your competitors. Create good content at least once a month, and you will be rewarded with higher rankings in Google searches.
Content Pages vs. Home Pages
Each page of content that you create on your site can be found in a search. Google prefers to direct it’s audience to a specific landing page, blog, product, or service page, rather than the Home Page. Google knows that it can save the user a click or two by guiding them directly to the page with the specific information they seek.
Search, “Sears Dishwasher.” Google search results guide you right into the dishwasher section. Not the Sears Home Page. The Home Page is nowhere to be found, even after several pages of search results. Google doesn’t want to risk the searcher getting lost or off track by starting them at the Sears Home Page. Google knows that searchers have a better chance of finding their desired result by directing them to a Landing Page instead of the Home Page.
Keyword: “Fuel Tank Maintenance”
Notice that Clean Fuels ranked 2nd and 3rd for “Fuel Polishing Maryland.” Neither page ranked is the Home Page. Each of these product and service pages bring new customers to the Clean Fuels website each month.
Keyword: “Chesapeake Bay Fishing Report”
Notice that Angler’s ranks 2nd and 3rd under the State of Maryland for “Chesapeake Bay fishing report.” Neither page ranked is the Home Page. The blog ranked second, and a specific fishing report ranked 3rd. These posts bring huge amounts of traffic to the site month over month. Sometimes there will even be a third post ranked in the top 5.
More, Quality Content = More Monthly Traffic
Each page you put out on the internet is another opportunity to gain more visitors through search. Do not think of your content as “here today and gone tomorrow.” Google is not Facebook, Snapchat, or any other Insta-gratification social media site. When it comes to search results, you need to change your ideas about content. Each page will continue to be found in search month after month until it is removed from the internet.
Denise Dental Studio Annapolis
Denise Dental Studio was reaping the benefits of consistently blogging for several months in a row. In the graphic above, you can see the number of entrances to the site. Three of the top landing pages had more entrances than the Homepage. These landing pages generate this organic traffic month in and month out. The more quality content placed on the website, the more the monthly traffic builds. For every one hundred visitors, a certain percentage will call and become new clients. Therefore, you need to invest in quality content.
Consistently contributing quality content will organically grow a website’s monthly traffic. Directing and converting visitors into sales is the true definition of Search Engine Optimization. Especially in an environment where Artificial Intelligence is automatically generating real-time results based on your search history, location history, GPS coordinates, and social media habits.
Much like a bell curve, as a website is recognized by Google to be a provider of high-quality content, like a tide, all rankings for related keywords will rise.
Is Your Link Game Strong?
This last part couldn’t be more simple and at the same time complex. As we mentioned before, in a not so distant past, it was rumored that Google ranked websites by the number of websites linking to them. The abuse was rampant, and an update was implemented. Today, the quality of a link plus quantity of links both to other websites and from a website affect how Google decides.
Sound Complex? Allow Us to Simplify
- If popular, and local websites link to your website, your site must be popular. Google loves these types of earned or natural links.
- If unpopular sites link to your site, you must be unpopular. Such as spammy blogs or link farm directories. Submitted or purchased links are frowned upon heavily.
- A website must be a genuine effort to inform, educate, and provide value in order to be ranked well by Google. Honesty, good content, hard work, and quality win.