The mechanics of the web are rapidly changing and we need to stay ahead of the trend. This means to focus on the elements that matter and not waste time on factors that produce no results. Over the years, we have learned a lot about what matters and the changes Google is making to their search algorithm to improve the user experience. If we can understand the main forces behind SEO, we can continue to rank well in the SERP’s with little effort. I’ve noticed “4” elements can be implemented while you write content and the final “1” will require very little effort if things are done correctly. These elements are all intertwined and complement each other so keeping each in mind while creating your content is important.
Here are the elements in no particular order. Let’s jump right in…
1. User Experience
I can’t stress the importance of high level user experience and it is widely believed it is part of the Google ranking system. Google has close to 200 ranking factors and certain elements of a user’s experience will have an effect on your ranking. For example, the way a visitor interacts with your content can provide data to Google on the importance of your page. The question is, how is user experience measured by Google for the purpose of ranking your site?
We as bloggers can conclude what is important when creating content and what tells us we’ve done a great job. Here are the things that provide Google important data into your content.
Click Thru Rates –
This is measured within the content and through organic search results. A high click-through rate will indicate you have the right keywords within your meta title and description. Having keywords in the right place will attract people to your content through search engines. When this data is transferred over to Google, they can determine you have something of value and will increase your rankings as per results. Google loves providing users with the best content so boosting content with a high click-through rate is essential.
Time on Page – Indicates your content is engaging and people find the information they need. It also indicates a high level of value and substance.
Bounce Rate –
Bounce rate is defined as:
Bounce Rate is the percentage of single-page sessions (i.e., sessions in which the person left your site from the entrance page without interacting with the page).
It’s often said the best content will link to other relevant sources, both internally and externally. To decrease bounce rate, it’s important to have a solid interlinking pattern so people can navigate to other relevant areas of your website. A low bounce rate indicates to Google that they not only found the information they need, but that you also have other resources available.
Return Visits –
Previous visitors consider your website of value and return daily or weekly. Return visitors indicates fresh new content is posted regularly, which is important to provide people with consistent, up-to-date information.
2. Brand Searches
SEO has been a difficult learning curve, especially when changes are being made so often. For years, Google found it very difficult to distinguish between a reputable business and fake websites. However, recent updates to search algorithms have included LSI and long tail keywords, which narrow down the user search pattern. Google is able to pick up on brand variation and how often people are typing a business name, etc. The more often these searches appear, the greater the value that is put onto these websites. If you want to dominate the search rankings going forward, you need to start establishing yourself as a power player. Here are some tips to push you in the right direction.
First, start by branding yourself and marketing your brand name. Whenever you are writing content and/or producing images or videos, always include your brand name. Next, if you have offline marketing strategies in place, then include your brand and/or logo, which will help increase brand searches once people jump online. The key is to have Google recognize you as a brand, so, over time, anything with your name will be credible, enjoying higher rankings quickly.
3. Content Quantity and Quality
Before jumping into content quality and length, here’s a quick case study on how content length directly influences rankings. It is important now, and going forward, that more emphasis is put into creating the best content. Google has been shifting toward providing only the best results within the SERP’s and the recent Panda 4.0 updates were catered to remove “thin”, low quality content from the web. These types of content simply don’t provide the value they once did because people know more substance means higher rankings. It’s becoming more in-depth and provides data to backup major point. This is the level you should be aiming for the next time you produce content.
Here is something to note:
It can be difficult generating unique content ideas so you should aim at making existing content better. Research to find a common problem and provide the best possible solution including data, case studies, and anything that you feel can help. Next,
Longer content has a tendency to attract more links, which leads to better rankings in many cases. Remember to do some research so you can find a popular topic or problem so your content will immediately gain traction and will be useful to others.
4. Social Signals
The direct link between social signals and the effect they have on your rankings is questionable, however, they do put a series of events into action, which help increase your rankings long-term. Social signals help promote content to thousands of people with some of them being influential people. This can lead to additional link building opportunities that otherwise would not be available. This is why I encourage people to always add social share buttons on their website so it increases the chance of someone sharing your content. Next, if you add high quality content into the mix, you are setting yourself up for success. Here is the usual chain of events:
Valuable Content=Shares=Exposure=Links=Higher Rankings
The high valuable content is shared more and this has a potential of reaching influential people in the industry. Next, these same people might link back to your content if you provide additional support for content they’ve written in the past. These blogs are of authority and the link is of more value. The end result works in your favour, increasing your search rankings for given keywords.
Google’s whole search engine is based on the premise of link authority, so it will always continue to play an important role, no matter what other changes are being made. High authority links are very important if you want to rank well. However, you need to tweak the strategy slightly. More attention should be given to the type of links and the variations in keywords used. Focus on exact, related, and LSI for your anchor text so you stay relevant to the user search pattern. Remember to keep a close eye on the way links are built and stay with the changing trends. For example,
Going forward into 2015 and beyond, here are a few key elements:
First, social networks are now putting content in front of millions of people quickly, so strategically position yourself to receive the maximum exposure. Use relevant #hashtags, keywords, and add links within your “tweet” or “share”. Keep updating your content and/or write updated list posts because people love them. Content changes quickly so people want to stay with the trend so offer them the latest content. Finally,
Your email subscribers are perfect for quick link building so shoot them a quick update when you post new content. Some subscribers have their own blog and will love to link to your content if it is of value.