Forget SEO. Here is How to Rank High on Google
Why Good Content Over SEO
By Mike Rashford
At some point back in time, just like the typewriter, SEO got the job done for many bloggers and site owners. However, with a new set of rules, regulations and updates, SEO is as good as dead.
While majority of site owners and bloggers write SEO articles, a bigger percentage of these site owners continue to find that their websites do not perform well within search engines results page.
Let’s assume you are a website owner. You hire an “SEO Expert” to churn out search engine optimized content for your website.
You give him a set of keywords to include in the content.
The expert completes the piece and then submits the content to you. You go through the article, all the keywords are correctly placed and the keyword density is okay.
Several months after posting the post on your blog or website, your post does not perform as you would have expected. What could be the issue, you ask.
If you are not familiar with the hummingbird update, then you should. Google recently introduced the Hummingbird update and several other important updates.
This was a move aimed at ensuring content which ranked well on search engine results were high-quality content and not, “keyword-rich” content that offered no-value to the readers.
The problem with many “SEO Experts” today is that many of them continue to rewrite existing content and then fill these content with specific keywords to ensure that the page ranked well.
While doing this might have had a direct impact on the overall ranking of a website, it offered no new or valuable information to the readers.
Google’s Quality Guidelines
Apart from introducing the hummingbird update, Google also threw several other unexpected changes to webmasters and website owners. Google began by tweaking the keyword tool, which was quite useful for many experts.
In addition, Google came up with a Quality Guideline to ensure that webmasters offer high-quality content to readers and not keyword-rich span content.
The quality guidelines for webmasters that Google came up with are as follows;
In a world full of fake news and propaganda, Google’s main goal is to ensure that high-quality content from well-established websites and content creators ranks higher compared to those without a great reputation.
On top of that, Google is still continuing with its war on clickbaits.
When ranking pages, Google places several factors into consideration. The overall page quality rating is one of the metrics that Google uses to rank pages.
Websites with no absolute value, including pages that are created to offer no absolute value to users, cause or create harm, misinform users, or spread hate are usually given the lowest rating.
On top of that, when assigning page quality rating, Google looks at the purpose of the page, expertise, authoritativeness of the page, main content quality, website information and website reputation.
While we may not be writing for search engines, it’s equally important to inform the search engines of what we are doing. So, how can we let search engines know that we are producing content so that we can receive proper rankings?
Yes, high-quality content will get you ranked much higher, compared to low-quality, keyword-rich content. As a website owner, you might be asking yourself, how can I achieve this.
Long Form Content
When you are learning about a certain topic, for example, email marketing, what will you prefer; a list of tips or a well-explained article with examples and case studies.
The well-explained article with examples and case studies will do you more good compared to the list.
According to a research done by Neil Patel, content with a much bigger word count ranked much better in comparison to content with fewer words.
To prove Neil Patel’s research, I did a simple search on Google. I assumed the role of a user who was looking for ways to make money online.
As you can see, the first post that came on the search results was a perfect example of long-form content. I then decided to scroll downwards to see if the search results page displayed.
To my surprise, all the other content displayed on the first page were all long-form content.
The simple research revealed that Google prefers long-form content since they are highly informative and offer more value to the user compared to short-form content.
While there might be exceptions in some cases, highly engaging content with a bigger word count has a higher chance of ranking higher on Google’s SERP in comparison to content with fewer word counts.
On many occasions, longform content are highly shareable. Many readers find long form content highly engaging and informative.
A study by The Drum reveals that the shareability of a content can be correlated to its word count.
There are several ways of creating long-form content. One way to make a post longer is by including more items.
This means that instead of writing 5 proven ways, you can try out 20 proven ways, just like in the previous example on Ways to Make Money.
Another great way to make posts longer is by adding more detail to your content.
Adding more content means expounding on the content that you are working on by including details, many of which you may have overlooked or the readers might find necessary.
If you are working on three steps to lose weight, then you can expound on each of the ways. You can state the scientific evidence behind each step, include infographics as well as the expected results.
Help Your Readers Navigate The Waters
Good content is one that never assumes. As a content creator or website owner, you should be able to help your readers understand your posts by making everything clear and by filling up any holes.
For example, if you are introducing a new topic, you should make your content easily digestible. Making your content digestible will ensure that your readers are able to understand the fundamentals of the topic that you are introducing.
This, in turn, will result in a great reader experience. Content that offers more value to the readers will rank much higher in comparison to content that offers little value.
Break things down
When introducing a new topic, it’s important to break things down for the reader. A good writer is one who never assumes. Make sure that you use words that all readers are familiar with.
On top of that, you should also avoid handling huge topics all at once.
For example, when teaching a reader about how to become a blogger, you can never achieve this with a single post. Instead, you should break down the topic into easily digestible content.
You can make use of metaphors, similes, and comparisons when explaining complicated concepts.
Examples are also a great way of toning things down for the readers. For example when explaining What is SEO, I will first introduce the topic and then begin talking about various elements of SEO, such as backlinks.
Since not all readers are familiar with backlinks, I will refer the reader to another article that clearly explains what backlinks are.
By doing this, I will allow readers who are familiar with backlinks to continue reading, while at the same time referring new readers to an in-depth article, which clearly explains what backlinks are.
By the time the readers are through with them, they can easily pick up from where they left, but this time around they will be more informed.
Finally, you should correct any mistake. You probably have heard that you should not trust everything that is on the internet. While there are hundreds of thousands of pages on the internet with lots of information, most of this information is outdated.
Instead of deleting outdated posts, you should regularly update the post so that it continues to offer value to the readers. Updating old blog posts will help you increase traffic.
You should treat your website or business, just like any other product!
In today’s modern age, people want to not only find content that is engaging but also appealing to the eye. Content that is appealing to the eye, will make the visitors stay on the landing page bearable.
Many years ago, Apple launched its first ever mobile phone into the market.
One of the key features that made iPhone a success story is it’s design. According to an article by CNBC, the first iPhone design differed greatly from the design of other smartphones in the market.
Apart from the lack of physical buttons, the rest of the device consisted of a touch-sensitive which allowed users to access all the mobile’s functions.
It’s the iPhone’s eye pleasing design which continues to make it one of the most successful mobile devices ever built.
What I am I trying to say: Appearance and looks really matter.
Research shows that even with the same content, websites will perform differently based on their designs. Users will prefer to read from one website and won’t bother to read from the other one.
You can improve the appearance of your content by;
Research shows that the average reader will automatically run away from a block of texts with no images.
Long content with lots of images tends to perform much better than short content with no images at all.
People tend to process images much faster than reading information from a block of texts. The rule of thumb for content writing is that you should insert an image after every 350 words.
The best images to include in a blogpost include;
- Stock Images
- Custom Images
To support a point or information, you can include a graph or chart. They are quite effective. Custom images are not only great but also quite resource intensive.
Because of limited time or other commitments, we all love to skim the net from time to time. Research shows that people will read not more than 28 percent of your content.
On top of that, a whopping 55 percent of your visitors will read your article for 15 minutes or less.
Apart from breaking up content, lists are also more readable and are normally less awkward in comparison to long sentences.
Structure Your Content for Enhanced Readability
Successful Blogging gives useful tips on blog writing and layout. Since it’s much easier to read content that’s on print than on the internet, careful formatting will help you present your content in a manner that is easy to scan.
As you can see from the above example, the text with fewer sentences per paragraph (content 2) is easier to comprehend compared to the paragraph with many sentences (content 1).
Moreover, you should also constrain your post column width to 80 or fewer characters. Wide texts columns are an instant turn-off and also makes content hard to read.
Font type, font size and background colour also play a significant role in readability and aesthetics, thus you should also pay close attention to these elements as well.
Support Each Claim or Proposal With Facts and Data
A great way to support a point or claim is by citing expert opinion or including credible data after each claim. You can include as many links to a post as you can.
The more you are able to support claims in your post, the more trusted your opinion or content will be.
There are numerous ways of supporting a claim in a post. One sure way is by providing links to resources, while the other is by including relevant graphs and images into your post.
Supporting your claim with data will go a long way in making your readers fully understand the topic, or subject that you are talking about. You should try and back up every claim in your post.
Irrespective of the niche that you are in, there are thousands of resources available online that you can use to backup your claims.
While creating great content is not an easy process, it’s the only sure way of getting your article ranked highly in SERPs. Do your research and gather all the resources needed.
Take your time in curating the article and be sure to include all the relevant links, facts and data to support each claim.
On top of that, you should also ensure that you combine two or more strategies from the article while creating content to get the best results.
Just like in business, consistency is key in content creation, if you are keen on getting hundreds of thousands of customers per month visiting your website or page.