After the mid-2019 update regarding content, rankings are easier than earlier. Now you can focus on content quality and rank higher on Google.
It’s a fact that Backlinks has a direct relation with rankings but it’s becoming a secondary factor in rankings. If you have a user-friendly site with valuable content, you can definitely outrank an authoritative site with less valuable content.
Well, it’s not as simple as it seems to be.
There are over 200 Google ranking factors. Some are very crucial and some are less. Not everyone can focus on all ranking factors. That’s why you don’t need to worry about it. If you focus on the essential rankings factors, you can easily secure top positions on Google.
So instead of discussing all those 200 ranking factors, I am discussing the crucial ranking factors that help my content reach rich snippets on Google.
Here are the top ranking factors that can even help you rank new your new content faster on Google.
Nowadays, Google is focusing more and more on content quality.
Google wants to rank the best valuable content even with fewer backlinks. But this way Google is making content quality parameters more strict and advanced.
For instance, many people who had some reasonable backlinks, and were ranking for a long lost their rankings in the last few Google Algo Updates.
All those were content updates. Definitely, the content was not the only thing but somehow things were relevant to the content. For instance, when Google started changing titles in SERPs, it was a context update. It was how their algorithm was understanding the content.
It was also to provide users with the best relevant information. For instance, some of the direct questions or queries had not had direct answers. It was hard for the user to decide where they will find the answer that’s why Google started changing the title to best match the answer.
Well, all those updates have a clue to make the content better and rank high on Google.
That’s why content quality is a top-ranking factor among all rankings factors – at least for the best SEO content writers.
But, now, the question is what is content quality? If you could understand it, you will surely outrank and will never get a hit by Google.
What is content quality?
The best definition of quality content is that it’s direct, accurate, and solves users’ problems.
If you have a piece that’s 100% accurate and solves the user’s problems, it will win.
Well, it’s not as simple as it seems to be.
You might believe that your content has more words, you are discussing more aspects of a thing, so you should win. Right?
It may not be true.
Wordy content may not necessarily win unless you understand the user’s needs.
Let me be specific and direct now. Here are two things that make the content quality and make you win.
- Relevancy to user search
Unless you are not an expert on something or you have not experienced it, you can’t discuss it like an expert. Google is now advanced to see if you are an expert on the topic or not.
Let me give you an example to make it easy and digestible.
When I had to write an article, “Business ideas for Developers and Programmers“.
I knew that there are some businesses that developers can easily start and run. I had the direct answer but it was not enough to rank at the top.
It was essential to making programmers and algorithms believe that I truly belong to them.
To make people believe that you not only have great ideas but you truly understand coding, and programming, I needed some programming skills.
That’s why I learned programming at a basic level. I learned the terms and programs they use. And spent many hours preparing myself to communicate with a developer in their language.
For instance, I learned who are front-end developers, and back-end developers, why Python is popular, which tools most of the developers use, etc. Those terms, phrases, and keywords included made the algorithm believe that I truly understand the topic. Hence I outranked for the (easy) keyword.
You can also use Rank Math Content AI tool for this purpose. Tools can also find relevant search queries for you. This is why AI content also ranks on Google. But also remember AI content is prohibited by Google.
Relevancy to the user search:
If you truly understand the topic, it’s not enough. The next big thing is to research which aspects and angels users want to know.
Once again, let me explain it with an example.
If you are discussing a product X. Product X has 10 different angles to discuss. Users already know 6 of them, and they want to explore the other 4. If you are not discussing the product X with those 4 angles you won’t win.
Here is another real example.
If your topic was “Business Computers“. You don’t know which companies users love the most, and accidentally you don’t include those companies, you won’t win for sure.
That’s why it’s important to research what angles of the topic want you to discuss.
It requires a little extra time researching, and sometimes you can use some tools to find relevant keywords. Some keyword planners also offer you relevant queries. If you don’t have a planner, you can use LSIGraph to find LSI keywords.
If you don’t have any tools, here is how to do it.
- Put your keyword on Google
- Scroll down, and see suggestions by Google
- Pick the relevant ones
- Search again those relevant queries
- Once again, pick the relevant ones to your main topic
You are done.
The next big thing that matters the most in ranking content is on-page SEO.
OnPage SEO means optimizing your webpage to assist Algorithms in better understanding your webpage. There are a few very common things that you should focus on in OnPage SEO.
Here are the most important ones.
- Optimizing titles: That means you should somehow adjust the keywords within your title.
- Optimizing URLs: Also, keep in mind that long URLs don’t perform well in search engines. That’s why only include the important words in URLs.
- Keyword density: Include your main keyword within the content up to 2.5%. But it’s not essential to focus on the percentage. Sometimes it can be 0.5% and sometimes it is 5%. It totally depends on how your content looks natural.
- Outbound links: It also matters how many outbound links are included and who they are. It’s better if you include a few relevant external links. For instance, If you are writing about digital marketing, you can include this guide as an external link to your topic. It will help both of us.
- Anchors: I have noticed that after the last Google update, Google has started focusing on the Anchors of your page. If your anchors are relevant to the topic, you rank faster. I have also noticed that many experts are using this strategy but not speaking about it. Actually, we are not sure for how long it will work.
- Structured content: It’s also important to make your content digestible and structured. Keep the phrases short, make headings, use bullets, and a structured content plugin.
- Media: The images and videos included in your article also have a direct impact on your rankings. It’s also important to include your main keyword in the ALTs.
If you are on WordPress you can install any plugin and the plugin will help you check if the article is SEO friendly or not.
Google search is silently moving to mobiles.
In a report, it’s found that nearly 60 percent of searches are on mobile and it’s increasing.
That’s why Google wants you to focus on your mobile traffic. Almost all of the WP themes are mobile-friendly, otherwise, you can use any AMP plugin for the best mobile experience.
I have used AMP for a long but nowadays I am investing in some paid tools instead.
It’s a fact that backlinks have a direct relation with the rankings. I have experienced it many times.
Many times when Google was not even considering some of my pages, I had no clue what was wrong with the pages. I thought of building links. Once the pages got some valuable links, Google started ranking those keywords in a while.
For low competition keywords, you might not require backlinks (or internal links will be enough) but for keywords with some google search volume, you will get a tough time. You will surely require backlinks to give your rankings a boost.
Look at the example to understand it.
Basically, Google doesn’t want you to build links (other than a few whitehat techniques). If there are 20 pages that have high-quality content and are fully optimized, how Google will decide how to rank?
In that case, backlinks work as affirmations.
Webpages with natural backlinks get more value, and authority and hence perform better in search results.
Site speed is one of the 200 ranking factors.
Websites see a huge traffic drop if they take more than 3 seconds to load. Every second after 3 seconds has an impact on your user experience. Thus Google wants the pages to load faster, and hence it’s one of the important rankings factors.
You might already know that you build authority with backlinks. Then why am I discussing it separately from backlinks?
Site authority is becoming different now.
Your backlinks do play a role in building site authority, but it’s not the only thing.
Your topic authority is also important.
That’s called Topical authority.
A topical authority is an authority you build by discussing different angles of a niche/category/topic.
Here is an example.
A couple of days ago, I wrote an article on Business Analytics. Currently, it’s the only article available on the site, and it’s not ranking at all.
There are two reasons;
- It’s not getting links from other articles so it’s not getting a reasonable link juice.
- It’s the only topic so this site is not an authoritative site for the topic
So overall, your site authority means how many topics you have covered in the same niche, and how many quality links you have gained from authoritative sites.
For new sites, topical authority plays its role and helps content secure some good rankings on Google.
If we conclude, we can say that Google is trying to rank content based on its quality. If you pay attention you can see that almost all of the rankings factors we have discussed are in your hands. You can create great content, optimize them, make your pages mobile-friendly, and build authority by discussing different aspects of the same topic.
That’s why we can say that getting rankings on Google is different now. It has made blogging and ranking content easy.