March 2016, Andrey Lippatsev (Google’s search quality strategist) confirms that content and links are the top 2 ranking factors that will influence the search rankings of your website. With links, it’s pretty much clear - get links from relevant and high-authority resources and you’ll get a rank boost.
But no matter how many links you get, if your content is crappy, you won’t get far. In order for your business foundation to become stable, each piece of content that your brand distributes must provide the necessary value and relevancy to the marketplace. Nevertheless, if your content is extremely low in quality, chances are that you are going to get penalized by Google.
How do we create content that would be considered unique, high-quality in the eyes of Google?
Read on to find out.
1. Unique Content:
Every content you publish on the web must be unique. What does unique mean? Well, concerning the SEO metrics, a piece of content is unique if it’s written differently from all the other existing indexed content.
So in case you’ve copied a sentence from somebody else’s content (without changing the words, order, and structure), Google will perceive your content as “duplicated”. This will tremendously weakening your rankings and your chances of becoming the #1 result.
“Nothing’s new under the sun.” Your content’s ideas don’t have to be brand new. Yet, they must be presented through unique angles. The best way to avoid plagiarizing is to do your research while developing a unique outline. Once you’ve finished developing your outline, stop peeking the other articles and stick to your outline. This way, you’ll develop unique content that’s never been written before.
2. Unique Value:
Google doesn’t expect only the text and the graphics be unique, but the actual information to provide unique value. If by “unique content” Google expects a page to provide a unique combination of keywords, numbers, graphics, and other factors which have never been presented the same way on the web before, “unique value” means something entirely different.
Value, in business terms, is the single most stimulating factor that’ll help at convincing a prospect to become a customer. If the content you publish delivers value, you’ll also gain the reader’s trust, bringing him closer to your final move, which means closing a sale or getting a positive deal.
Here’s how to provide unique value to your target audience:
- Be relevant: Always think of how your content will appeal to your customer’s needs and problems. If you can make your reader’s life better, you’ll be relevant to him!
- Be extremely helpful: So besides giving him relevancy, offer him the necessary help to solve his problems and get through with his challenges.
- Bring something unique: This is the most important aspect of the entire “unique value” proposition. If you bring something that’s never been written before (anywhere), you’ll gain a huge leverage.
Whenever you create your content, bring these elements back to your mind. Do you want to rank? Then you need to put in the work. Keep into account that Google’s getting smarter and smarter. The more true value your content brings to Google’s users the better your pages will be featured in the SERPs.
3. High-Quality Pages:
Google’s criteria for ranking content is interconnected with the quality of the website. Most generally, Google’s going to pay attention to your pages quality. The quality of your pages is determined by various factors which will be presented in a moment.
Now please keep in mind that Google’s algorithm and ranking factors are generally kept in secrecy. Moreover, the algorithms keep changing over and over again, so you’ll have to maintain a balance with all of these factors:
- Unique content. As already mentioned, this is a huge factor.
- Relevant content. If someone searches a keyword, ends up on your website, spends a little time, and shows signs that your content has helped, your content will be considered relevant, or “uniquely valuable”.
- Impeccable content. No grammar, spelling, and structure mistakes. It should also be well-organized.
- Backlinks (internal and external). The more the better.
- Mobile-optimized. Everyone’s using a phone nowadays. Google has specifically stated that mobile-optimized websites and pages will gain a competitive advantage.
- Fast Loading Speed. Generally, websites that run slow will be penalized.
- Great User Experience. The easier it is for your website visitors to access the information and tools they need the better your rankings will be.
James Groves, an SEO specialist at EduGeeksClub, cared to share a story with us:
“All the content that our company used to craft and publish was a regurgitation of other different sources. Even though nothing’s really “unique” in today’s marketplace, we have decided to stop researching our content ideas on the internet. Instead, we use books. Since the change, our content ranks much better because of the unique value it provides.”
4. Use Markdown so Google Better Understands Your Page:
Content creation is not all about writing articles or producing videos. It’s also about embedding these pieces of content so that Google can better understand it. This is done with the help of HTML language. For many content developers, this might be the most daunting task ever.
Most content processors like Microsoft Word is producing bad HTML code that doesn’t fit your website’s and Google’s criteria. Moreover, you might try different solutions for putting your pages live on the web, yet you might encounter a lot of struggle along the way.
Markdown is markup language which contains plain text which formats syntax. In simple words, Markdown helps writers deal with the most common HTML code issues that happen during the conversion of the codes.
To better understand Markdown, you should check out the Markdown Syntax Guide to at least learn the basics. You can then look further on this resource, which explains how to use Markdown to develop your HTML code with ease.
5. Avoid Misspelling and Poor Grammar:
Grammar and spelling, even though they seem to be “small things”, they play a huge role in your ranking’s performance. Both Google and Bing’s representatives suggested that poor grammar along with misspelling will bring negative consequences over a website’s rankings.
In order to avoid this futile hassle, you should edit and proofread your content with a lot of care. Besides your own pair of eyes, it is suggested that an editor or proofreader gets through your content too.
If you don’t want to outsource freelancers, you can at least take advantage of several grammar and spelling tools. Purchase the premium versions and you’ll hardly miss any mistakes.
6. Optimize for Keywords But Don’t Overstuff:
I’ve seen many content creators and SEO specialists breaking their nerves while trying to come up with the “perfect keyword density”. Well, let me stop you for a second. There is no such thing as the perfect keyword density. A few years back, lots of websites were overstuffing their keywords. Why? Because Google wasn’t that advanced back then.
In 2017, Google has definitely become better and fairer at judging the content’s value. What you need to understand is this: Google wants you to optimize your keywords but in the most natural way. They state that they’ll severely punish “the practice of loading a webpage with keywords in an attempt to manipulate a site’s ranking In Google search results” -Google.
7. Optimize for Satisfying User Intent:
Did you understand what Google really wants? To better google rank your website, you must be aware of the fact that Google’s only trying to bring as much relevance as possible to its users (every time someone searches for something). What they’re looking for, in fact, is for websites to satisfy the user’s intent.
So if someone types “how to cure acne” and they end up on your website, Google expects you to provide relevance and value so that the person who’s having trouble finds a quick and useful solution. Therefore, in order for that to happen, your content must be optimized to satisfy the user’s intent.
To tell you the truth, I could go on with another 10.000 words about this topic. Yet, I’ll let you do the research on your own. Optimizing for user’s intent is hard until you truly get it. Once you get a better feel concerning your target audience’s intentions, you’ll be able to impress Google every time a person gets in touch with your content.
Content marketing is art. You can master it by continuously pushing your boundaries and by executing your ideas. Keep testing, failing, optimizing, scaling, and repeating the process over and over again. That’s how great businesses win. Don’t stop until you’ve managed to achieve your business goals; it’s challenging but totally worth it!
Stay up to date with the marketplace because as you may observe, it’s moving at an incredibly fast rate. When you remain stuck with something that’s no longer working, for example, an outdated SEO content strategy, you’ll be wasting time and energy on things that won’t pay off the way you want them to.