The Google algorithm is constantly changing and evolving in order to provide more valuable and relevant search results for its users.
In the last year, we’ve seen an increase in the importance of videos, photos, charts, infographics and even social media updates to Google ranking factors.
With around 200 ranking factors up for consideration, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which ones to focus on in your own SEO campaign. Despite all of this, though, there is one factor you should always make your first priority: strong content.
Great Content is More Valuable to Consumers
Google’s ultimate goal is to best match its users with the information they are looking for. Therefore, web pages that contain pertinent content will always be ranked higher in the algorithm.
While other elements such as videos and photos can help provide useful information to site visitors, these should be used to complement existing content. They exist to enhance your content, not replace it.
Think of it as a cupcake.
Your content is the cake, the base of your dessert, while everything else is the icing and sprinkles on top.
By itself, the cake can satisfy your sweet tooth, but the frosting makes it look and taste even better. And if you only eat the icing, it will taste good at first, but eventually it will make you sick.
The same holds true for your website. Your content should be able to stand on its own, but everything else on the page enhances it. However, those ancillary elements aren’t as appealing without the content.
Look at it this way. Say you were looking for information about how the cupcake was created. Would you want to find a site with just a gallery of pictures and very limited content or a web page that has plenty of useful content, complete with photos?
You’re going to want the website with pictures and content.
Establish Yourself as an Expert
In addition to making your website more valuable to both site visitors and Google, adding relevant and useful content to your site will also help you establish yourself as an expert on a certain topic.
As you add more informative and authoritative content to your site, it sends a message to visitors that you know what you are doing. This will help generate trust between potential customers and your company, making it more likely that they will purchase products and services from you.
Engage Your Customers
The importance of valuable and useful content extends beyond just what you post on your website. It also includes the content you post on your social media channels.
When posting updates, it’s important to not just bombard your followers with an endless stream of sales pitches. Instead, you should mix in outside links or content that they may find interesting and useful.
This will help you build relationships as well as increase your brand’s recognition.
How to Make Your Content More Valuable
There are many ways to create valuable, relevant content. Here are a few general rules to live by:
- Longer Content Gives You More Opportunities
Gone are the days of adding a paragraph or two to a page and calling it a day. As the Google algorithm continues to evolve, so too does its emphasis on the amount of content on a page.
Adding length to web pages isn’t a new concept. In fact, studies from 2012 found that the highest-ranking pages on Google ranged between 2,000 and 2,400 words.
Longer content gives you more opportunities to integrate keywords and phrases into your content in a natural way, which helps explain why Google ranks these types of posts/sites higher.
It all goes back to the idea that the more content you provide, the more valuable and applicable your site will be for users.
Think about it from the perspective of a Google user. Would you rather Google present you with thinner search results, or do you want to read more in-depth content that might even answer questions you didn’t know you had yet?
When it comes to web content, more really is better.
- Authoritative and Relevant Content is More Appealing
While length is important, so, too, is making sure that you are providing relevant content.
Creating longer posts is a great way to keep people on your site and optimize your content, but it won’t do you any good if the content you provide isn’t relevant or helpful to users.
Don’t just add content to increase your word count; make sure there is a strategy and a purpose for everything you post.
This means removing unnecessary fluff. Yes, it’s important to sell your products and services, but make sure you are doing it in a way that also adds value.
And make sure you don’t dance around a topic. Teasing a customer by saying you will provide certain information and then talking around the subject so you never actually address it will only encourage distrust of your brand among users.
By presenting site visitors with content that is not only relevant to their search engine inquiry, but also provides them with additional quality information, it will help breed trust and even help you establish yourself as a knowledgeable resource in your industry.
- Interesting and Informative Content is Share-Worthy
When writing blog posts or social media content, your goal is to engage and create a discussion with your readers and followers.
A great way to do this is to create content that people will want to share on their own channels. This will not only engage your existing customers, but it will help you reach potential new customers as well.
Whether you make your content humorous, informative or just incredibly interesting, make sure it’s something targeted and relevant to your customers.
- Check and Double-Check Your Content
Just as great content will help improve your reputation and build trust among consumers, poor content can do the exact opposite.
Your website is a direct reflection, and sometimes a first impression, of your company, which is why it’s essential to make sure the content and information you present is accurate and well-represented.
As professionals, we all understand the importance of proofreading, but mistakes can happen. As you write and add content to your website, make sure you always give it a second or even third look.