Where should we even begin?
Truthfully, there are many, many ways to improve your search engine rankings, boost online visibility and secure a coveted first page position on Google. You can use metadata, you can use alt tags, you can optimise for mobile. All of these are important jobs that we highly recommend you are always working on in the background. You can even pay to have Google treat your website like it’s royalty…
But where’s the fun in that?
There is another way, of course: content marketing. Now, content marketing is good for two reasons: firstly, it increases the amount of time that visitors spend on your website (which tells Google that you’ve got some pretty engaging stuff going on). Secondly, it offers an absolute ton of link building opportunities. These are essentially chances for you to associate yourself with big name brands, and it gives you even more chances to break out your metadata!
Call us biased, but we really do believe that the best way to make the Google Bot happy is simply to feed it content when it gets hungry. But not just any old stale content; the sweepings from the floor of the content cupboard simply won’t do. This has got to be really great content.
What is ‘great’ content?
Let’s be honest here. What we might think of as being great content might not be what the Google Bot feels happy munching on. So, to really see an improvement in search engine rankings (which, by the way, is pretty important, considering that second page results account for less than 6% of all clicks) it’s worth finding that somewhat elusive middle ground between readability and optimisation.
How to improve your search engine rankings
So just what are the secrets behind Google’s ranking algorithm?
- Content: It might seem like an obvious starting point, but your content really does matter to Google. Google likes evergreen content, which is the sort of thing that people will want to search for all year round (e.g. ‘Olympic legacy’ rather than ‘London 2012 Olympics’). It also likes a few choice keywords thrown in to help it understand what your content is about.
- Frequency: Did you know that businesses that publish 16+ blog posts a month get 3.5 times more traffic than those that only post up to 4? Why is that important for search engine rankings? Because traffic accounts for a pretty decent portion of Google’s ranking algorithm. It figures that if so many web users are heading to your website, there’s got to be something good about it.
- Length: Most of the top-ranked pages on Google feature content that’s between 2000 and 2500 words in length. Blimey! Now, don’t panic; while a bit of long form content is good, if all your content was this length your audience would never have time to do anything else. Try to include a healthy mix of long form and short form; around 500 words is good for conveying a single idea.
What not to do
At some point, you’re probably going to be tempted to take a few shortcuts. Our advice? Don’t. We don’t want to see you end up in Google Jail. There are quite a few ‘black hat’ techniques that some people use to improve ranking, like publishing auto generated content – which, as content creators, is so horrifying that it makes our eyelids visibly twitch. There’s link schemes – which are about as subtle as a flatulent moose. Then the old favourite; keyword stuffing – “Keyword stuffing is bad and no one likes keyword stuffing, as keyword stuffing makes things difficult to read. Because of all the keyword stuffing.” You get the idea.
These techniques may be tempting, but when you remember that three quarters of people never scroll past the front page, pissing off the Google Bot is the very last thing you want to be doing. What we do advise, however, is that you leave it all to us. There’s more to life than sitting there and worrying about your search engine ranking. And anyway, we kind of enjoy it!