Google has a way of keeping us guessing, and while there are definitely SEO practices that can boost your ranking with the search engine superstar, no one has actually “cracked the code” of the exact algorithm used. Still, there are some tips that anyone who knows anything about SEO will tell you if you ask. Recently, Andrey Lipattsev, the Search Quality Senior Strategist at Google Ireland, answered some questions about the top three characteristics that Google is looking for. They come as no surprise to those in the know, but here they are, in no particular order, for your consideration.
Remember a few years ago, when a common catchphrase was “content is king”? Well, it turns out that this is still a valid and large piece of the algorithm. If you have a web page that doesn’t actually give any information, is stuffed with irrelevant keywords, or is poorly written, Google is going to take notice and send you careening toward the recesses of the double-digit search result pages. So, what are the characteristics that your content should have? A few include:
- Scannability and a clear, easy to read font.
- Compelling. Include information that people will want to read and share.
- Concision. Don’t go on and on about nothing. At the same time, though, strive to keep your pages over 300 words.
- Original. Plagiarism? Don’t even think about it.
- Accuracy. Make sure what you’re including in your articles and blog posts is actually true and verifiable.
The takeaway here is to write for human readers and Google will soon follow.
Speaking of human readers, you’ve probably been aware for some time that artificial intelligence is rapidly catching up to, and in some cases even surpassing, the brainpower of humans. RankBrain, Google’s AI system, is an important piece of the algorithm puzzle. You can take a look at what RankBrain is all about and how it works, on Search Engine Watch.
Sometimes considered a gray-hat SEO technique, making sure that other sites are linking to yours is actually important when it comes to ranking well on Google search results. The actual links are a good thing, if you handle it the right way. If reputable sites are linking to you, Google will assume that you have good, actionable, useful content. If you are posting your link as spam all over other people’s blogs, however, it’s not going to work. Here are some link-building strategies can can work for you.
It’s important to keep in mind that there is no simple formula for ranking well with Google. Even if you have solid backlinks, great content and a good rating on RankBrain, you still might not make it to the top of the first page of results. On the other hand, if you aren’t achieving these basics, then it’s almost definite that you aren’t going to find the success you are looking for. Google uses the best tools available to put engaging, actionable sites toward the top of the results page. It’s in your best interest to write for human readers, incorporate some SEO techniques into your site, and contact a reputable SEO company, such as Most Optimal, to help you get the best results out of your efforts.