Google updates its search result algorithm thousands of times every year, and for content marketers, keeping up with the ever-changing search engine optimization (SEO) standards can feel like a losing battle.
Though its tweaks are typically minor, some changes are a lot heftier. In just the past two years, Google rolled out nine significant updates, including several deemed “Broad Core Algorithm Updates.” And, while the search behemoth is traditionally tight-lipped about what each update entails, typically its goal is to evolve how its 200 SEO ranking factors—such as inbound versus outbound links—are scored in search results.
The impact of each update, in turn, depends on whether it’s applied to a relatively small number of web pages or rolled out more broadly across the larger internet.
Overwhelmed yet? Google and SEO experts maintain that there’s no need to be. Google’s primary intent isn’t to penalize pages; it’s to improve the web browsing experience for its users. “Think about it like this: Search engines are built to serve people,” writes Neil Patel, chief marketing officer and cofounder of NP Digital, a content marketing, SEO, and paid media agency, on his blog. “People change. Plain and simple. And as our behavior changes, technology evolves to keep up with our wants and needs. So, search engines have to change too,” explains Patel, whom Forbes has named as one of the world’s top 10 marketers.
While it’s essential to remain updated on the most recent algorithms and rating elements, the science of SEO comes down to 1 easy truth: creating strategic, well-written content material that caters to readers’ wants is one of the simplest ways to make sure excessive rankings.
KNOW THE BASICS
There are some greatest practices that each content material creator should know when writing with SEO in thoughts—and lots of are pretty intuitive. Every piece of content material ought to have a robust headline, or title tag, and meta description. Title tags are clickable headlines that seem in search outcomes and are essential from an SEO perspective, whereas meta descriptions present readers with a fast abstract of the content material. Length is crucial for each of those components: title tags shouldn’t exceed 60 characters and meta descriptions shouldn’t exceed 160.
And whereas Google urges content material creators to keep away from extreme key phrase stuffing, the title and outline ought to embody key phrases that precisely describe what’s on the web page. The identical goes for subheads—embody them and use key phrases in order that readers can digest lengthy content material with ease, but don’t overdo it.
Site pace is one other differentiator that Google considers when rating outcomes, and in the present day, any website that takes longer than three seconds to load is in critical SEO hassle. Ensuring that any multimedia content material is optimized for quick load time and efficiency is essential. Consider lowering the decision of photos based mostly on suggestions inside your content material administration techniques and use the fitting format to your wants. For instance, JPEG photos sometimes work superb, but graphics that include textual content load higher as PNGs.
Most content material administration instruments additionally recommend coming into alt-text, or easy descriptions, with photos. Don’t depart this line clean—it permits Google to parse photos for key phrases and will enhance rating.
Once all multimedia content material is optimized, take a look at web page efficiency with Google’s PageVelocity Insights software. It’ll reveal any potential pitfalls that stay in order that they are often addressed.
Be certain to incorporate loads of related hyperlinks in your content material, but be aware the emphasis on related. “Prioritize high quality over amount in content material and link-building technique to get higher, extra sustainable outcomes,” recommends Omkar Dharmapuri, info expertise engineer at AI-powered content material platform Techlurn.
Google gained’t reward content material that’s peppered with random hyperlinks, so be strategic and drive readers to associated inside content material, lowering bounce fee and rising engagement. Finally, eradicate boundaries to easy buyer expertise. That means removing intrusive pop-ups and minimizing empty-looking white house.
REMEMBER TO EAT
Once the headline, subheads, photos, and hyperlinks have been addressed, content material entrepreneurs are nonetheless left with a large thriller: find out how to make the remainder of their content material SEO-friendly.
Experts advise the “EAT” strategy. EAT stands for experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness, and it’s now a search high quality evaluator guideline endorsed by Google.
To set up experience, content material creators ought to go for longer content material, says Simonas Steponaitis, advertising and marketing supervisor at HostingWiki, a webhosting and WordPress useful resource heart. “Research reveals that the typical size of the highest 10 outcomes is at about 1,500 phrases. This is as a result of internet pages with in depth, high-quality content material get pleasure from extra visibility. Long articles enhance dwell time, telling Google that customers are having fun with your content material,” he says.
Posting typically also can assist set up experience, says Mika Kujapelto, founder and CEO of Laptop Unboxed, a website that gives expertise evaluations. “Maintaining common weblog posts may also help you rank increased on engines like google, making it doable for potential prospects to see your web site on the primary web page on the search engine.”
Still, it’s essential to not go overboard. “While you possibly can make the most of weblog posts to write down about important updates, related subjects to your business, or different priceless content material to your readers, it should be significantly executed to get the perfect outcomes,” Kujapelto says.
Meanwhile, to vet for authoritativeness, Google is beginning to prioritize content material from extremely respectable sources, says Colin Palfrey, chief advertising and marketing officer of Majesty Coffee, a supplier of espresso brewing tools. “It’s beginning to pay extra consideration to authorship of articles to see if the one who writes a weblog put up has precise expertise within the business. Google now seems at that individual’s holistic footprint on-line to find out their authority within the area.”