How to make sure your web content wins in Search

It’s a jungle out there and providing effective signposts for web users to find their way to your content is challenging.

Inevitably a whole business sector sprang up offering businesses their SEO (search engine optimisation)  services to get websites featured  higher in search rankings than their competitors. Such practices meant that Search often returned results based on ‘trickery’ rather than ‘truth’, which became an increasing frustration to users and was set to undermine the value of the search engine being used.

Google had long recognised the issue, but until 2013 the algorithms they used to ‘rank’ search results to user questions was not sophisticated enough to effectively tackle the SEO ‘trickery’ being used. However, the situation has now changed, quite dramatically, levelling the playing field through promoting ‘quality’ requirements for success in Search. Below are 4 of a long list of the Google web content ‘quality’ requirements .

  • Is the content written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
  • Does the content have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
  • Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?

Panda algorithm

Launched originally in February 2011, Google’s Panda algorithm aimed to penalize sites that published weak content (targeting link-farm websites full of links, but little else), instead rewarding those publishing ‘quality’ content (e.g. original, insightful/helpful blog content).

By May 2013 the fourth major update to the Panda algorithm came into being, aimed at reducing web spam. Google had also developed a way to determine the quality of links and whether they were relevant to the content on the web page. The target of this algorithm update was affiliate links, featured on a web page, with no relevance to the website or content.

Hummingbird algorithm

The launch of the Hummingbird algorithm focused on aspects of page loading speed and also the level of ‘sharing’ of content to social media networks, both increasingly major components for success in Search.

The Hummingbird algorithm enables Google to recognize full-question searches instead of specific keywords. The implication for preparation of web content means that more thought needs to go into not just the body of text but also the formatting of headings.

The capability of Search is becoming increasingly more human and the Hummingbird algorithm helps Google understand the user question, as a whole phrase, rather than just ‘key’ words. This results in the Search engine being able to respond with more relevant search results to a user query than previously.

Additionally the Hummingbird algorithm helps users locate in-depth ‘evergreen’ content (content that remains relevant/useful historically). To enable this additional markup is required to indicate to search engines that the content exsists, even though it may effectively be archived. Learn more details about how to get your evergreen content found in Google Search.

Busy Bee algorithm

That’s a strange one isn’t it? I own up, it’s actually nothing to do with Google,  but  used in my straightforward  answer to those who ask me “how do I get to be on page 1 of Google”. Basically, if you’re not in the position to pay Google for the privilege on featuring on page 1 of Google then you’re going to have to be a busy bee and work hard!

Creating original, relevant, quality content that is published regularly provides building blocks for success. Whilst this can be challenging on a website, where the content matter often doesn’t require updating on a regular basis, a blog provides you with the perfect vehicle to publish new content on a regular basis. NB If your blog is work for SEO purposes it needs to be integrated (in the same place on the web server) as your website.

A blog can provide individuals and businesses with a very useful way of communicating with the world at large. The style, more informal than ‘website-speak’, provides a means of speaking to potential customers in a conversational tone. What you’re reading here is a blog post on the Website Wing’s blog!

Learn how to develop effective web content

Search algorithm updates will continue to evolve, in minor and sometimes major ways, making things challenging for website owners. Keeping up a definitive list of requirements to enable success in Search is actually is an almost impossible task, but grasping an overview of requirements can really help shape the method of web content production.

I’m delivering a series of courses for the eBusiness club during 2014 on ‘Planning a successful website’ and ‘Developing effective web content.’ Within both courses I talk about what website owners need to establish to optimise potential in Search and also how a blog can be used to improve SEO  (search engine optimisation) potential.

There’s also a couple of blog posts I’ve written previously that might give you some guidance about what you need to be doing if you want to have links to your web content featured on page 1 of Google.

Requirements for success is Search

The talk now is all about establishing a “high quality” site. Basically, your website needs to demonstrate that it’s trustworthy and contains original content that demonstrates depth. A page which is little more than a lot of links to other web pages is not going to cut muster with Search algorithms these days.

Those who produce content that shows leadership, or provide in-depth insight are putting themselves in a favourable position to benefit from what Google calls an “authority boost”.

Finally, in a nutshell, publishing unique content containing relevant links is the  main route you should be following  for improving potential for success in Search.

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Other posts that might be of interest:

Marketing your business online

Introducing Wings Academy

Create a blog for your social media strategy

What you can learn at the Dentist about websites




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