Google recently gave us a sneak peak behind the iron curtain that is their search algorithm. Finally they confirmed that they do assign ranking adjustments for content that they see as high quality, truthful, and valuable. This comes as no surprise to us in the SEO community who have speculated for years that these factors were very important to Google’s core algorithm especially value. Value in this case refers to the value it represents to the end user, the searcher. Google wants to make sure that your content is not just high quality, but also that it is true and valuable for the user. They have several different ways in which they can go about analyzing the content on your page, here is a quick look at some of them.
Google wants to figure out whether or not the content on your page can be considered quality information. How do they do this? Well it is relatively complicated but we can talk about it in the most basic terms. They have indexed such large portions of the internet that they already have 100’s if not 1000’s of articles talking about exactly what you are talking about. For the main keywords of your page they look for related terms on similar pages with high click rates and engagement stats and compare your page with those pages. For example if you were writing about hockey you would most likely mention words like puck, stick, skating, goalie, etc. Google would look at your page and see if these words are present – based on the data it has from the other 1,000,000 pages about hockey. If you do not have these words present Google is likely to think that you do not really understand what you are talking about and therefore less likely to rank you for hockey based queries.
Once Google has decided that the content on your page is quality based on the idea that it contains certain keywords that other established pages also contain; next they need to determine whether or not the information is actually true. If you are talking about hockey and using keywords such as puck, stick, skating, and goalie, but are talking about the goalie throwing the puck towards the player who must try and use his stick to hit the puck as far as possible while quickly skating to the base; that is not hockey, that is some weird hybrid version of hockey and baseball! Someone who does not know either sport however might take that information as true. This is exactly what Google wants to avoid, the dissemination of misinformation. So how do they do it? Again it is relatively complicated, they have a big database of trusted users who have verified information on their site, the NHL.com official site for example. These trusted users are seen to have authority over their industry and therefore Google trusts what they are saying to be correct. If you say one thing and one or more sources in Google’s trusted user database contradicts your statements you will not rank well for that topic as it is assumed your information is incorrect.
Finally, Google has decided that the content on your page can be considered quality, the statements you are making are in fact true, now they need to decide whether it provides a good user experience (UX) and therefore value. This is even more complicated than the others but it is something that Google has been doing for a very long time, and have gotten pretty good at. They use a combination of data (Click through Rates, Bounce Rate, Time on Page, etc) combined with their Robots (programs that crawl webpages taking notes of all the little details including text, layout, and code). By combining this information with their algorithm Google is able to show which websites it considers to be most valuable to the end user. What can we really do for this? Well we can make sure to follow the best practices outlined in Google’s Search Console, as well as make sure everything that is on your page can be seen by human users and not just robots, and lastly make sure your website is mobile-friendly, meaning you need to make sure your website will display properly on tablets as well as phones.
If you would like some help analyzing and improving your on-page content feel free to give us a call today to schedule a consultation!