Want your content to rank better in Google? Following the search engine’s quality guidelines will give you the best chance of appearing high up in their search rankings. Google’s quality guidelines cover a range of topics, including many more technical aspects of search engine optimisation, but below is a checklist of the most important points to consider for content creation.
Get the fundamentals right
Before you even start creating content, it is a good idea to check your site is compliant with the fundamentals set out by Google. These include:
- Ensuring all content on your site is linked to by at least one static link.
- Using copy rather than images for key content.
- Making sure all your pages have a descriptive page title and a meta description, as this will help Google index them and also encourage people to click through from search engines.
- Adding accurate descriptions to images using ALT text.
- Checking your site doesn’t have any broken links.
You may also want to ensure that all your content is being submitted to Google via your sitemap or Google webmaster tools.
Write useful content for users, not search engines
When creating content, keep your reader front-of-mind. Google rewards content created for people, not search engines. With this in mind, Google recommends creating helpful, information-rich content using words that “clearly and accurately describe your topic”. To do this:
- Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.
- Focus on creating content that helps your users, rather than what might be good for search engine optimisation.
- Don’t try to “trick” search engines; instead, create valuable, expertise-demonstrating content that makes your website stand out.
Creating original content is key
A key guideline from Google is that your content should be original. Don’t automatically generate content or “scrape” it from others. Take the time to create your own unique content and you’ll be rewarded by the search giant.
- Poor quality guest blogs.
- Content that doesn’t add value.
- Content created automatically by tools rather than writers.
- Content lifted entirely from other sites or only modified slightly.
Use relevant keywords
In years gone by, many tried loading pages with irrelevant keywords (called keyword stuffing) in order to try and rank better. This practice is outdated and spammy, so avoid filling your pages with keywords as this could harm, rather than help, your rankings. Instead, use keywords your audience would naturally expect to read in your content. Google recommend that you:
- Use the same language as your audience.
- Don’t repeat phrases in an unnatural way – instead use keywords naturally in your writing.
- Don’t try to “hide” keywords in your content e.g. putting it behind an image or writing white text on a white background.
- Give your page and images accurate, descriptive names.
Conclusion: Create quality, original content for people, not Google
Being successful in search engines isn’t about using clever techniques – get the fundamentals in place for a functional, discoverable website, and then concentrate on creating unique, quality content that your target audience will genuinely enjoy. Your search ranking will improve, and your brand discoverability with it, ideally creating an exponential increase in your interested, reachable audience.