When you’re trying to learn about search engine optimization (SEO), it can be easy to get lost in a sea of information. There’s been so much written about what you should and shouldn’t do, that you often get conflicting information. One person might tell you that a certain tactic will help your site rise in the rankings. Others might tell you that that very same tactic will result in your site getting penalized by Google.
If you’re new to SEO, instead of worrying about small details, it’s helpful to first understand the big picture: If you want your site to rank higher in Google searches, write for real live users of Google – not Google’s algorithms.
SEO Is All About the User
Sometimes it may seem like the folks up at Google make you jump through hoops to improve your site’s ranking because they like messing with people who run websites. No matter how complex SEO appears to be, rest assured: they are not just messing with you. The tweaks to Google’s algorithms that can change search results overnight are, in reality, all about Google wanting to improve the search experience for its users.
This may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that Google is a business. A big way it makes money is through selling ad space, and one of its most important “billboards” it sells is on its search results pages. Google was an early pioneer of the pay-per-click advertising model, and it remains central to Google’s business model.
Google can only get money from advertisers if people continue to use its search service. Because of this, Google wants to make sure that every time someone goes searching for something, they find it. Its algorithms are designed to present the best pages on the internet to answer its users’ search queries.
What That Means for Your Site
There are lots of intricacies in SEO, but at its core getting your site to rank high in searches is all about producing high quality content. If you sell software for widget manufacturers, you want to have great content that shows up when widget manufacturers go looking for things on Google.
In the not-so-distant past, you may have been correctly told that to rank higher for certain searches you should be cramming your keywords into certain places on your site. Today, though, you would be penalized for that keyword packing. Focus on writing for real humans, not algorithms. Give Google’s users the high quality content they’re looking for.
How do you decide if something is high quality? Ask yourself these three questions.
Is it original?
Did you make something new, or are you just rehashing the same article someone else wrote? Google rewards original content because it makes its search results more valuable to its users.
Is it helpful?
After someone reads what you wrote, did she or he learn something? Make sure your content is actually helpful and isn’t just a bunch of fluff.
Is it thorough?
Did the searcher learn enough to do something or to know where to look for more information? Don’t get caught up in counting your words, but take a look at what you made and decide if it was a worthwhile contribution to an already crowded internet.
If you can answer “yes” to these three questions, you’ll be well on your way to creating user-centric content that will encourage Google to rank your site higher for searches you care about.
In our next SEO blog post, we’ll talk about a few specific factors Google looks at when ranking your site.
If you need assistance improving your site’s ranking for Google searches important to your organization, NuGrowth Solutions can help. To find out how, contact the NuGrowth team at 800-966-3051 or fill out a contact form and we will be in touch.