Since an update in 2011 to the way in which Google ranks websites, high quality original content has become more important than ever before. Whilst once search engine optimisation may have been about keyword densities, changes to the way Google handles machine learning has meant that it can now start to look at websites in the way that a person might and read them in much the same manner.
Language, Structure and Depth
Just as any visitors to your site would hope to see well-written and well-structured pages, that’s exactly what Google looks for too. Using over 40 signals, Google judges the quality of web-page content. It looks at length, depth of content between pages, use of synonyms and antonyms and sentence structures. Alongside these signals, search engines also look for websites that are updated frequently and regularly with fresh, unique content. A proactive content marketing plan creating high-quality content will ensure your site gives off all of the right on-page signals.
But search engines also look beyond this. Using data gathered through users of Chrome, Androids, Google Toolbars and many others, Google can build up a picture of how people behave online. If people spend time actively browsing your site, clicking through the different pages and paying attention to what you have to say, these site metrics will signals to Google that your content is engaging and worth a visit. As search engines seek to deliver the very best website results to the people who use them, strong and engaging content that encourages people to browse through your site will result in more visible search rankings.
‘The Crowd’ factor
No discussion about performing better on search engines would be complete without a mention of the number of links that point back to your site. In essence, this is important because Google places value in the opinion of crowds, and just as a strong academic paper may be referenced more often, links once formed the backbone of how Google judged which websites were higher quality than others. However, recently there has been a shift in this mentality because links are so easy to manipulate. Instead, search engines are seeking to qualify websites’ popularity through the crowd’s validation through social signals in the form of Likes, Tweets, +1s and more. Content marketing comes into its own with social media, encouraging engagement and shares that signal to search engines that your site is worthy of a high search ranking.