In the beginning of the year, I wrote, or maybe better translated a Dutch article from Eric van Hall from Mediaweb in Emerce, called SEO checklist 2015. In April Eric wrote an article about Content Marketing for SEO Contentmarketing voor SEO: Wat is ‘kwaliteit’ volgens Google? was very interested so I decided to translate it in Dutch.
Content Marketing for SEO: What is “quality” according to Google?
Do you write for your visitors or for Google? If you are smart you write for both.
Content that is good for people is also good for Google. And vice versa. In fact, if you understand what is good content for Google’s, you will write better. The knife cuts both ways.
In my own experience I started this blog ywanvanloon.com. I didn’t have ambition to sell something, to get traffic but just to give some structure on my knowledge, experiences and sometimes opinions.
So no focus on traffic but it is always to measure the traffic from organic search. And even without focus you see posts that have some serious traffic from certain keywords. But as Eric mentioned in the Dutch article, it is a matter of keep on going and finally it will work. Measure and improve and the traffic will come. You only can’t predict when.
Content Marketing certainly works for SEO. You just have to have a long breath. And you have to deliver consistent quality.
Infact Google, you and I have the same interest: the optimal experience for the user. Google will bring you the visitors and you take care that the right content with the right user experience.
Eric’s conclusion is that SEO is not complicated. But certainly not easy. And that it makes no sense to try to outwit Google’s algorithms. I fully agree with Eric’s conclusions.
Some tips from Eric:
1) Understand Google
Google let companies to make websites more user friendly. For example some time ago Google gave a new ranking signal to make websites mobile friendly. Many people accused Google to abuse their power and create extra costs for companies to update their website.
But in stead of being angry on Google, these companies can better spend their time and energy to make their website mobile friendly.
Google focuses on one thing: provide an optimal experience to people using the search engine. Because satisfied customers come back. And satisfied users click on ads and then Google makes money.
You can not bypass Google. Google is playing this game already extremely successful since its inception in 1998. In the Netherlands, Google even a near-monopoly market share of 94 percent. It is remarkable that Google’s market share in smartphones and tablets is even higher: 97.6 percent. Source: PUR IM.
Google is also be responsible for more than 90 percent of all of the organic search traffic to the most websites in the Netherlands.
If you have a website and you would like as many relevant visitors, so you can not simply bypass Google search engine.
2) High quality content based on Data Driven Marketing
Google has the data to discover the optimal user experience of its search engine. Google does not rely on intuition, but on data. A lot of data.
Google continually analyze the huge amount of data that it collects about the behavior of Internet users. This makes Google knows better than anyone what users of their search engine experience as quality and what is not.
So if you know what content is according to Google of high quality, you act also based on this knowledge, it will help you and especially your visitors.
Based on the knowledge Google gained by analyzing their data, Google created the course Create valuable content.
In the course Google explained what to focus on:
Useful and informative: If you’re launching a site for a restaurant, you can include the location, hours of operation, contact information, menu and a blog to share upcoming events.
More valuable and useful than other sites: If you write about how to train a dog, make sure your article provides more value or a different perspective than the numerous articles on the web on dog training.
Credible: Show your site’s credibility by using original research, citations, links, reviews and testimonials. An author biography or testimonials from real customers can help boost your site’s trustworthiness and reputation.
High quality: Your site’s content should be unique, specific and high quality. It should not be mass-produced or outsourced on a large number of other sites. Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.
Engaging: Bring color and life to your site by adding images of your products, your team, or yourself. Make sure visitors are not distracted by spelling, stylistic, and factual errors. An excessive amount of ads can also be distracting for visitors. Engage visitors by interacting with them through regular updates, comment boxes, or social media widgets.
3) More high quality content based human interpretation
Google not only used computers and algorithms to determine what quality is. The search engine giant also has a small army of site assessors employed to help Google determine what content is of high quality.
These human evaluators work according the “secret” Google General Guidlines which you can find, off course in Google.
And at last a YouTube movie about good content: called: How Does Google Determine Content Quality? How Would You?
4) Gain trust
Google also warns explicitly against things that may cause visitors do not trust or exit your site. Think of the following:
- Errors such as broken links or wrong information.
- Grammatical or spelling errors.
- An excessive amount of ads.
- Spam like reaction or forum spam.
To help you more, Eric made a checklist: Is the quality of your website Google proof?
- Is the content unique? Is your own content? Regardless of quotes that are relevant to the text (like Google above) and embedded videos or Slideshare presentations etc.. Be aware to use “canonical tags” for duplicated content.
- Does the page not using “keyword stuffing”? In other words, certain words are not often on the page so that the readability for an ordinary man makes life so miserable? Obviously with the only purpose to score higher in search engines?
- Visitors can easily click through to other parts of the website? Especially related pages? In other words, the site follows an internal link strategy that is helpful for visitors looking for specific information?
- Is the content of the page is not too superficial? In other words: Is the length of the page sufficient to explain the subject matter in sufficient detail?
- Covers the page one clearly identified subject? If a page does not have any recognizable subject (as on this page how Google assesses the quality of content) will have Google effort to determine what the relevance is.
- The page contains content that is not relevant to the subject? Pay particular attention with affiliate links and ads. These are red flags for Google.
- Covers the page a topic that extra extra sensitivities on Google? Think of financial, medical or legal information. In this case, Google argues in extra strict requirements on the quality of content on these topics.
- Is the content on the page useful, entertaining or inspiring to the visitor? That visitor thinks namely: Do not tell me who you are, tell me what I did to you .
Actually SEO based on content marketing is not complicated. But that does not mean it’s easy. Because ultimately it’s all about creating quality content and delivering a good experience for your users. And that’s just a lot of work.
It certainly has no desire to chase the algorithms of Google. Tricks to fool Google no longer exist. And if someone sometime one discovered there, the fun is usually of short duration.
Good content is in the interest of your audience, Google and also for yourself.
High quality, unique content also produces true win (user/visitor) – win (Google) – win (your website) situation.