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February 29, 2016

10 Ways Content Can Improve Your Rankings

Image courtesy of (Jomphong)/FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of (Jomphong)/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you’re writing for your site you obviously want to write quality content to generate hits. After all, you’re putting it on the Internet, a place where all the world can see it.

But how does one offer quality content that will push your content up in the rankings?

Google has a series of algorithms that dictate where a website will show up in searches. It’s a lengthy system with somewhere around 200 variables. Although it’s nearly impossible for one person or business to hit on all of Google’s sweet spots, there are ways to ensure that your content is seen by the world.

1. Content That Isn’t Text

Although there are some obvious answers to the question of what content actually is, it encompasses more than just words on a page.

Yes, when someone speaks of content they are speaking of product descriptions, blogs, articles, and the like. That being said, there are other variables that Google takes into account when its algorithm is chugging along.

Google takes a look into non-text items as well as text items. One theory for this is that the powers that be consider pages with images and videos to be of higher quality than pages without them.

Another idea is that spam sites that are just farming for hits won’t take the time to put up relevant images and videos. Rather, they’ll just stick to spamming keywords to move their site up the rankings and gain page views.

2. Keywords

You’ll hear a lot of talk about how the keyword is dying out and being replaced. That’s simply not as true as many people think.

Keywords are still important.

For obvious reasons, you won’t gain page views for a car dealership if your most frequently used phrase is “moon landing.” Yes, “car dealership” might still be your go-to and you should still try to use it in the title, metadata, description, and the content itself.

What people mean when they say that the keyword is less important is that it’s becoming more important in context.

What Google is looking for nowadays is how often related search terms are showing up. Not only does this help for page rankings, it helps categorize and differentiate different sites. After all, a heavy metal band’s site shouldn’t be in the search results for metal welders.

3. Organization

It should go without saying that organizing your content can increase your page rank by leaps and bounds.

Overall readability, as measured by the Flesch readability test, is being utilized by search engine analytics.

Why is readability important for rankings?

Consider how long you’ve spent on a site that was two steps away from being gibberish. Now consider a well thought out flow of ideas with correct grammar, punctuation and spelling. Which one is more valuable to you? Which one brings you back time and time again?

Now you know why the Flesch readability test is being used to determine decreases and increases in page rankings.

4. Length

Gone are the days when content should be a measly 500 words. If you’re willing to take the risk of a 500-word blog or article, you’d better have something extraordinary to say.

Search engines are getting wise to what users like to read and using it to determine your rankings. An SEO rule of thumb for increased page rankings is that longer posts are better.

It goes without saying that “within reason” comes into play here. A product description for a baseball mitt should still be relatively short and concise. You should also avoid having a blog post the length of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.

There’s a sweet spot that should be hit. Generally speaking, the SEO gurus have advised around 1,500 to 2,500 words for optimal page rankings.

Consider that when you’re writing your next blog, list, or article.

5. Value and Quality

Imagine you’re at a restaurant and it’s warm, inviting, smells wonderful and has reasonably priced food that is prepared well and tastes delicious. You would certainly be inclined to stay longer and visit often.

Now imagine that you’ve walked into a restaurant and observed a rug of cockroaches on the floor. You likely wouldn’t stick around to find out what other sensory experiences awaited you.

In a third restaurant you find that the décor is indistinguishable from any other restaurant, smells inconsequential, has a small menu of very similar products, and the food is edible but bland. You might go there once in a blue moon if you’re really hungry, but you’ll likely dislike it more and more.

The first restaurant example is what you, readers, and Google are shooting for. You’re hoping to write innovative content that is different at every turn. Your readers will stay on your page for longer, you’ll get more referrals from social media, and Google will rank your page higher.

The second example is what you presumably hope to avoid. Think of a MySpace page from the early 2000s. And don’t think about the regular ones, either. Reminisce about the friend you had who cluttered their profile with a cornucopia of animations, flashing lights, crazy text that clashed with a bright background, and automatically playing music and videos that drowned each other out. You may have loved that friend, but you never ever visited their MySpace profile because it was a nuisance.

Finally, the third restaurant represents a page that is simply unoriginal and bland. It’s not offensively bad, but it’s boring. You’ll skim a few paragraphs, find that nothing really catches your fancy, and leave. If you spend a bit more time on the site, you might even find that they essentially plagiarize themselves or others.

Google takes all of this into account so presenting value, making original content, gaining referrals from social media, and having content that will make people stick around or revisit your site is a big key to successfully increasing page rankings.

6. Faster is Better

This isn’t directly related to your content, but it is liable to make you sink or swim.

A big, unsung part of SEO is the speed of the page in Chrome. Your interesting, original, long form, world changing content isn’t going to mean much if your site takes three minutes and 37 seconds to load.

Not only will Google stop caring about your page, readers will too. The fact that you found the meaning of life will go unread because your page loads slowly.

Coding your page properly is the best way to build a fully functional site that anyone can just hop on at the drop of a hat. Optimize your webpage and you’ll optimize for search engines.

7. Links and Linkbacks

Even though outward facing links aren’t as important as they once were, an authoritative site still links out.

Just like you wouldn’t accept a scholarly paper with no sources, or even a Wikipedia page with no sources, Google doesn’t accept most pages that don’t link to other, more reputable sites.

Linkbacks are even more important. They can make or break a site, depending on where the link is from. If your site is frequently linked to from sites of ill repute, you’ll become notorious for hanging out with the wrong crowd.

On the other hand, if your site is mentioned a number of times by the AP, Reuters, CNN, and Fox News, it’s likely that your page will experience a huge rise in readership due to both the referrals themselves and your newfound higher page ranking.

8. Optimize for Mobile 

Considering SEO in the mobile market is especially important now that mobile users have surpassed desktop computer users. Some 50 percent of time spent on digital media is spent using a Smartphone or tablet. That means you need to find a way for your page to look great on the computer, Smartphone, and tablet.

Optimizing for mobile isn’t just about looks, it’s about speed as well. Again, loading time is absolutely vital to good SEO content.

Keywords are another place where your approach will be slightly different than on a computer. While people are somewhat inclined to type longer search terms when using a computer, they’re more inclined to be short and sweet when it comes to mobile.

9. The Amount of Content

It shouldn’t be a surprise that you’re going to need more than one piece of content to rise in the page ranks.

SEO sites are full of interesting, new, and continuously updated content. The older and less updated your site is, the quicker it falls down the rankings and into obscurity.

There are some ideas as to how much content you should be writing, particularly if you’re writing blogs or articles. The question of how often you should write has been tackled by many and one idea is that it depends on how much you plan to write per article or blog.

• Short form and very current content: a few times per day to once per day

• Regular topics in a blog: a few times per week

• Long form blogs on a variety of topics: once per week

Sticking to the schedule will ensure that you have plenty of regularly updated content for your readers, and Google’s algorithms, to keep their eyes on.

10. Call to Action

This is one of the most important but most neglected aspects of a SEO website.

A call to action in an article or product description, written correctly, directs the reader to engage with your product or brand and expand your readership. This, in turn, means more page views, a better reputation, more domain authority, and a higher rank in Google’s search.

The best calls to action are short but informative. They’re there to tell your audience a few things.

First, you’ll want your audience to know what to do. Enter a contest? Buy a television? Shop at your clothing store? If you don’t tell them, they might not think about it.

Next you’ll want to make sure your call to action mentions who you are and what to expect from your brand, goods, or service. Most businesses or individuals aren’t necessarily using calls to action for return business, though it is helpful; the calls to action are built primarily to drive new business. After all, you’re not McDonald’s and simply reminding people you exist.

Finally, ensure that the language of your call to action is correct.

Don’t be ambiguous about what you want your audience to do. Be powerful and commanding. Your call to action shouldn’t sound timid and apologetic. No one wants to read, “I suppose if you’re okay with it you should buy my clothing. But only if you want to.” Rather, a call to action should read loud and clear “Shop at my store!”

Also, be enthusiastic about the brand. If you can’t muster up some excitement about your brand, why should the customer? Feel free to be hyperbolic if you feel it’s appropriate. That’s why every sale at every store is “The sale of the century!”

If you’re advertising a temporary event then slap the end date on your call to action. Make sure your audience knows that it’s only through the weekend, ends Friday, or will sell out soon.

Read on right now for the conclusion and an example of a call to action! (See?)

The Take-Home

Building your brand, reputation, and customer engagement requires great content that is optimized for Google’s algorithms. Without a rising page rank and high domain authority, your site may be passed by in favor of a competitor’s.

Don’t be afraid of trying new things and mixing up your media, but make sure everything is there for a purpose and promotes the value of your brand, product, or service.

Also, it’s important to be cognizant of the customer’s time and convenience as well as referring them to sites you use too. Make yourself a convenient and fast resource for future viewership.

Finally, don’t forget the call to action.


avatar

Julia McCoy is a writer and entrepreneur. She created three businesses and wrote a book at 16; at 20, she dropped out of nursing school to teach herself online writing and start Express Writers. Today, her content agency has more than 70 writers and thousands of worldwide clients. Julia hosts The Write Podcast and #ContentWritingChat, and is the bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write? The Definitive Guide to Successful Online Writing. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

43 Responses to “10 Ways Content Can Improve Your Rankings

    avatar Dev Patel says:

    Just recently I found a case study that emphasizes on the long content, social signals and images as a ranking factor.

    Flesch reading score is a good measure but not recommended if your site is non-English

    avatar Yogies says:

    thsnk’s for your information

    Thank you very much

    For a great article.
    Very informative and simple
    We try our best to improve the spa websites rankings. We mostly climb up scale.

    We mostly publish long articles as long 1500 words, that’s working Great.
    Baruch Sarussi

    Thank you for your valuable post.

    I Like Call to Action Point Really Nice Post Dear.
    Thanks
    Sagar Ganatra

    avatar AtulHost says:

    Write unique, share like beast and be correct. This is everything to improve rankings. SEO is just 10% of ranking system.

    Thank you for the valuable post. Can you write something about AMP(accelerated mobile pages)? How they are created and their effect on ranking?

    avatar priyammd says:

    Great the given information and after refer that post,i get new energy because of all given information very excellent and real words to implemented for you.Thank you so much shared that valuable information.

    Yes, Obviously content is very important to rank in SERP but it should be Strategic. The above ideas you have given are very helpful for content strategy. Thanks for such a great article.

    That was a good share. But how is google able to determine which content is the original?

    Most websites with copied and poorly spoofed contents rank better than those with original content.

    just I had join this blog, really interesting news regarding SEO update, its very helpful for users..

    avatar مبلمان says:

    very informative educating post!
    thank you

    avatar Patrick says:

    Excellent information Julia! SEO is not a spectator sport, and your articles are not only priceless information, but a template for my articles. Bravo!

    Hello Julia,

    Thank you for explaining these points in brief.
    Flesch reading score is definitely important like you said.

    The length of content does matter on the niche also, for example a short tutorial related to computers or mobiles cannot be written in 1500-2000 words as users want only the solution to a technical problem not the history. Isn’t it?

    Thank You,
    Karan

    avatar Johan Jong says:

    Julia,

    You say that Google wants a lot of visuals (images and videos) on the sites, but you also say that faster is better. This is a “contradiction”. How can you balance speed and visuals in a way that Google is satisfied?

    avatar myilraj says:

    Just came here when browsing internet. I just astonished to see such a great content here that points on most important factors for writing an article.
    I am sure that I am gonna re-structure my article in my blog after reading this.

    Keep up the good work.

    avatar Marcelle says:

    Great article thank you :) I’ve gone through and pretty much got most of it covered now, except for inward links and a blog…although I post and link regularly from Twitter and Facebook, but still don’t see any rise in the rankings :( Could it be just down to inward links please?

    avatar iesteam says:

    Good tips to get rank

    Thanks a lot for such a great info-advising blog…

    avatar Bako Yila says:

    Thank you for sharing this information and it was a great tip. I run a company and did not take much on SEO but when i started it, it increase my readability as well as ranking.

    avatar fadduz says:

    Thanks for sharing such a great articles.

    Thaks a lot for sharing such an informative article. Tips provided here are really useful to improve the ranking status on the Search Engine Result Page. Let’s try it out. Thanks once again and keep doing…

    Hi Julia,

    It’s a wonderful article which explores the easiest way to improve the rank for a website.

    Thank You! Julia, Keep up the work

    Write something that nobody has ever written before. The internet now is being flooded by a lot of rewritten content from another source.

    avatar jimmi says:

    I liked this article , sometimes the audience is bored with excessive branding . articles with interesting content will certainly make menyuai readers of our blog . only , call to action that I am still not able to digest than what is in connecting with seo techniques

    avatar delizard says:

    Content, Content, Content! Today, ranking is not possibile without a good content strategy, semantic/LSI, insights (photo, infographic, video).
    A hard job, but somebody has to do it! :)
    Thank you, bye!

    avatar kajal sharma says:

    great content,it will help a lot to improve ranking.i love this awesome content ,thanks for sharing this article.

    avatar Toney says:

    Thank you for the informative article. It’s funny that you used a car dealership example, because I work for one. You would be surprised at how many dealerships believe SEO is basically a scam. Your article helped my supervisor begin to understand that SEO is hard work and legitimate when done right! Thanks again.

    Toney

    avatar aboadam says:

    I’ve noticed that the length of the article means a lot in your site’s ranking on Google, as well as new and featured content. The oldest special thanks to the author of the article, who told us we were much Memka Njhlh Thank you very much

    avatar chamee says:

    Thanks for sharing important points

    avatar Sonu Maurya says:

    Good tips and useful information seo ranking on google..

    avatar Sarah says:

    thanks for making this so easy for us. I always waits for your new posts thats all..

    We should write content for our targeted audience instead of any search engines. High quality and users friendly content always play a significant role in improving keywords position and attract new users. These all points are really helpful for developing quality content. Thanks for sharing it.

    avatar sneha says:

    Thank you for the informative article. Your article helped my supervisor begin to understand that SEO is hard work and legitimate when done right! Thanks again.

    avatar Ultimez says:

    Yes as you said Flesch reading score is definitely most important.

    avatar Alex says:

    Valuable post! I agree with tip #8. Mobile friendly website will definitely drive more traffic towards the site.

    avatar Wied says:

    Thank you for your support.

    It has grown to the place that it now takes a team to accomplish all that is needed to earn a good place in Google.

    The two important things for increasing website’s ranking are link building and content marketing..I very much know how to create and promote blogs and articles. But I do not know how to build great links. What resources do I need for creating various links?
    Can you assist me?
    Thanks,
    Vickie

    avatar Brad Victor says:

    If you are looking for good ranking in Google then take supports from Images, content which compose reader on page. Alt tag text hemp to make keyword friendly content which easy to gain up in ranking.

    This is a useful article, Which helps me a lot for improving my content writing…

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