Every time Google makes a change to its ranking algorithm, online business owners across the world either revel in the gains or struggle to cope with the losses. On both sites of the equation, webmasters scratch their heads and try to figure out what they need to change if they want to get ahead and stay there.
The Problem with Google Algorithm Updates
If you’re struggling after the May 2020 Google algorithm update, you’re not alone. Popular websites such as the New York Times, Huffington Post and Last.FM have lost up to 40 percent of their traffic since the update. If your site has also lost traffic, you’ve probably spent some time looking for advice on SEO websites. You’ve come away with a mountain of seemingly conflicting advice.
It’s enough to make your head spin – and the reason why you see so much conflicting advice is because the best thing to do after a search engine algorithm update is anyone’s guess. Google can’t disclose the specifics of their algorithms. If they did, then everyone would simply game the new algorithms.
The good news, though, is that propping up your search rankings – or regaining the rankings you used to have – after an algorithm change isn’t really that hard. You only need to know one simple SEO trick. To understand why the trick works, consider why these algorithm updates happen in the first place.
The Most Important Thing to Know About Any Google Algorithm Update
The first thing you need to know about any Google algorithm update is that Google’s goal is always to deliver the best search results possible. Google earns revenue from displaying ads on search results pages. To earn that revenue, Google needs users. If Google fails to deliver high-quality search results, people will use other search engines. Therefore, it is always in Google’s best interest to ensure that people have no trouble finding what they want.
Every time Google changes its ranking algorithm, the goal is to help great content reach the first page and reduce the visibility of spammy content.
Therefore, the one SEO trick that always works after any Google algorithm update is simply to produce great content.
That doesn’t sound like much of a trick, does it? As it turns out, though, producing content that an algorithm will identify as high quality isn’t always quite as easy as it sounds. That’s what we’re going to discuss in the second half of this article.
How Does Google Identify Great Content?
One of the best ways to understand how Google identifies great content is by observing successful websites in industries in which SEO is the only marketing option that exists. Sites like ECigaretteEmpire.com can’t advertise on Google AdWords or Facebook, so the fact that they receive significant traffic means that they’re doing well on Google’s organic search results pages. So, what can we learn from these sites?
Original Thinking Is a Marker of Great Content
Some of Google’s biggest investments over the past several years have been into the development of improved artificial intelligence and natural language processing algorithms. Google’s goal from this endeavor is not just to do a better job of identifying relevant content, but to understand what the content means. In short, we are quickly reaching the point at which Google’s algorithm can identify a page of content that basically uses different words to say the same things that have already been said hundreds of times elsewhere. When you write content, bring your own original thinking to the table and try to approach the topic from a fresh angle.
Long Content Covers Its Topic Thoroughly
Research has repeatedly shown that the content most likely to appear on Google’s first page for any given search is more than 2,000 words long. It’s clear that Google uses length as a signal that an article covers its topic thoroughly and attempts to go the extra mile to satisfy user intent. It’s not enough just to throw a bunch of words on a page, though; the way in which you handle the execution of those words is equally important.
Organized Content Helps the Reader Absorb Information
If you’re going to publish 2,000-word articles on your website, you’d better make sure that people can read them without trouble. One of the reasons why Google gives Wikipedia the top rank for so many different searches is because the content is incredibly well organized. Every article has a clickable table of contents and subheadings that separate the article’s main sections. Other elements such as bullet lists further help to break up large blocks of text and optimize the content for easy scanning. Those elements enhance the user experience, and Google rewards sites that put their users first.
Word Choice Indicates Subject Matter Expertise
Cataloging all of the information on the Internet has taught Google’s ranking algorithm a great deal. One of the things Google has learned is that an article written by a true expert will include many words that are semantically related to the main topic – and since Google has indexed billions of pages, Google’s ranking algorithm knows what words are closely related to any topic.
This article, for example, has focused on creating content that’s likely to rank well on Google. What are some words that you’re likely to find in an article about great content? Here are a few:
Every article that you write should have a main idea – a core keyword phrase for which you’d like the article to rank on Google. You do want to optimize the article for that keyword phrase – but using that phrase over and over in the text will not help the article earn a high rank. It’s far more beneficial to work in as many synonyms and related terms as possible.
Relevant Images Maintain the Reader’s Attention
One of the things with which you’re going to have to come to grips is the fact that the people who see your content typically won’t read it thoroughly. When people read content online, they often scan the subheadings and bullet lists to get a general summary of the information. A reader’s attention can waver quickly, and it’s even more likely to waver when an article has no images to maintain visual interest. Maintain the reader’s attention by placing images between large blocks of text. Don’t forget to give the images file names and alt text relating to your article’s main idea. Google will notice.