Let’s state the obvious: Google can be a hard search engine to please. Especially when it comes to adapting to Google algorithm update issues. According to Moz, the search engine giant implemented roughly 9 updates per day last year alone. Businesses that rely solely on organic traffic could find themselves in precarious situations if they fail to modify their approaches for ranking content on Google.
Much as with other platforms, you cannot control Google’s decisions on what it decides to how to approach each Google algorithm update. However, there is one aspect that you can control: how you’re writing and publishing your content. Regardless of whether you’re using paid advertising campaigns or organic search tactics, you’ll need well-written ad copy and articles to convince prospects to click through and learn more about your services. Once your prospects arrive on your pages, you’ll have your work cut out for you to make sure it is authoritative enough to merit their attention and engagement—as well as Google’s. Google confirmed this in recently-released guidance it published August 1st on its Webmaster Central blog. According to Google, you can still make content work for you if you play your cards right. And, in turn, be better prepared to address rankings dips with each update it releases. This guidance, however, comes with a major catch: not all content is king.
While Google’s post doesn’t dive as deep as it could into specific steps you should pursue when preparing your content, it does provide hints about what types of organic content perform best on its platform. Simply producing pages upon pages of landing pages and keyword-heavy articles won’t help your strategy if your content isn’t unique, original, and well-researched. While Google does advise users to review its guidelines on content, it did provide a set of questions regarding how to best approach content. Here are five takeaways from these questions that businesses and firms should explore when preparing their content for publication:
1. You’ll need to look at what everyone else is doing and present your article differently
Providing fresh, timely takes on the topics that matter most to your audiences will never go out of style. Google’s search engine, after all, would be failing at its job if it didn’t provide meaningful, relevant results for its users. If you do your part to create meaningful and relevant content, you may find your rankings won’t fluctuate as much. To do this, take a closer look at your content and see if it offers a fresh perspective on the topics you’re writing about. Examine what your competitors are doing and stand out on your own by presenting similar topics in informative, innovative ways that best answer the queries your prospects are typing in. The more insightful and unique your take is, the better it will be for both your prospects and for Google. This means you’ll need to think outside the box when it comes to creating content designed to answer your prospects’ search engine queries. For example, you may want to supplement your product compliance pages with Q&A interviews with industry experts, shareable infographics, data visualization pieces, or video & audio media that increase the time prospects stay on your pages.
2. You’ll need to cover your chosen topics in a substantial, complete, and comprehensive manner
If your content doesn’t cover the topics you’re addressing in-depth, Google will likely not consider it authoritative enough to rank above more intricate articles, landing pages, and other content. Whenever you can, incorporate statistics in your articles that originate from primary resources to allow for easy review and identification. If you are discussing any information collected from other sources, make sure to incorporate your authentic perspective as well. Carefully unpack some of the questions Google’s blog post poses, and you’ll immediately sense that copying, pasting, or sensationalizing elements such as your headlines or headings won’t lead to the ranking outcomes you’re looking for. Again, it all comes down to how authoritative your articles come across to readers and whether they’re unique enough to generate high levels of engagement. Your articles should be the type of content you’d want to bookmark in your browser, share with your professional colleagues, or of the same quality as a professional news article or encyclopedia entry.
3. Write about what you know, and use experienced contributors or staff to cover what you don’t know
While linking back to high-quality sources can help tell your readers and Google that your content has been researched, you’ll still need to demonstrate some level of expertise in the subjects your content covers. You can give your new and existing content an added boost by getting experienced executives and partners involved in-house to write about topics they’re well-versed in. For example, you could have your in-house attorneys blog about the regulatory issues your products address and or have your CSO write about the cybersecurity problems your services deal with. If you want to tackle issues that are beyond the scope of what you know, don’t hesitate to invite contributors who have the credentials and capability to either prepare articles for you to publish or participate in expert round-up pieces. Doing this allows your brand to weigh in on topics pertinent to your mission and launch content campaigns that appeal to the professional audiences you’re targeting. Don’t forget to also add author bios to your content so that you can showcase your contributors’ credentials and experience.
4. Make sure your content presents well for each google algorithm update
If your content appears to be hastily prepared, contains misspellings, or includes false facts, Google may catch on and downgrade your site accordingly during the next Google algorithm update. When writing articles, make time to vet your data and data sources for fact-checking and reliability issues or hand these duties off to editors who can. You can also programs such as Grammarly and Hemingway on hand to give your articles an AI-powered first pass for grammar, spelling, and sentence structure issues. You may also need to look beyond the text of the article itself. Having descriptive titles that accurately foreshadow what visitors should expect, mobile-friendly formatting, and minimal advertising banners can also help you earn presentation points with Google’s algorithm.
5. Make sure you master E-A-T
As part of generating feedback for its algorithm changes, Google receives input from search quality raters to see if its algorithm changes are performing as expected. These raters are human individuals who review search result queries and then provide feedback on those results using the company’s E-A-T guidelines. This acronym stands for the three qualities Google expects to see in its results: expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. You can review Google’s search quality rater guide to better understand how these factors can play in when Google’s search quality raters review the quality of Google’s search engine page results.
6. Make sure you’re telegraphing the right technical signals in your content when adjusting to each Google algorithm update
While you’ll need to account for your readers, you’ll also need to account for Google’s highly-technical methods for analyzing online content when responding to a Google algorithm update. The E-A-T methodology may help you when it comes to seeing if you’re Google’s fulfilling broad expectations for content, but you’ll also need to analyze the quality of your backlinks, your website performance, how new and up-to-date your content is in response to trending queries, and how long visitors interact and engage with your website. You can learn more about various technical signals Google relies on to rank websites by reading its explanation on search algorithms here.
These tidbits, of course, merely reflect Google’s position and perspective today on the types of content it currently finds to be valuable. Google will inevitably keep fine-tuning its approaches to ranking content as it adapts to growing content and search trends. If you integrate authoritative content from knowledgeable writers into your marketing strategy, you’ll face stronger odds of maintaining or improving your rankings over time.