Search engines are constantly changing to improve their performance. Google’s search algorithm alone is updated anywhere between 500 to 600 times each year.
The Google algorithm remains a closely guarded secret, and the best, highest ranking results will always be subjective. That said, for the most part, search engines do an excellent job of delivering the answers searchers want.
What Gets Top Ranking?
Websites that appear at the top usually have several different qualities in common.
For starters, they are easy to understand and navigate. The site design is professional, fluid, and makes sense to the average user. Nine times out of ten, these websites are mobile responsive and compatible with modern browsers.
Think of it this way. You are inviting Google into your house (website). You have to be hospitable to them (play by their rules) if you want them to come back. If you're nice to them, they will be nice to you.
But regardless of the site design, one thing all search rankings have in common is good content. It can’t be faked.
Keywords, links and site structure can all be engineered. They provide an indirect but measurable indicator of a site’s popularity. If no one links to your site, search engines interpret this into their rankings as a sign of a sub-par website.
On the other hand, search engines have a specific way of defining content. You may be thinking that crawlers can’t read or truly appreciate a page as a human, so they cannot infer its quality. Which leads to the question, how does a search engine define good content?
Qualities of Good Content
Before we go any further, let’s make one thing clear. Search engine optimization (SEO) is a useful tool to help make content more visible, but under no circumstances should it supersede your user’s needs and wants. In the SEO Starter Guide, Google points out two important things every content marketing strategy should include:
Create fresh, unique content. Don’t rehash or copy existing content on a new page. No duplicate content.
Create content for users. Inserting irrelevant keywords into a page will affect your ranking. Tactics should include designing your site for users’ needs while making it easy to access.
Google also employs human “search quality evaluators” to manually search and rate low-quality content. With machine learning, the algorithm mimics human evaluators to predict what a real user would judge as a low-quality website.
“Develop great content” may be the most overused term when talking about SEO. But it remains true. Good content is crucial to search optimization. Sound writing, relevant images, and interactive multimedia make for the best way to match a searcher’s criteria.
When you optimize your content, it will drastically improve your exposure online. To achieve more visibility within search engines, you must be committed to regularly creating great, optimized content.