Did you know that Google made 3234 algorithm updates in 2018? That’s an average of 9 updates a day! Savvy SEO executives who keep a watch on their keywords’ ranking every day notice the subtle changes. A website that was lost in the depths of page 5 suddenly starts ranking on page 1. Another great link suddenly disappears from page 1 causing a flutter. What we don’t get an immediate answer is to the ‘why’ as we don’t know what’s changing in the algorithm.Even then, Google shares visibility to the bigger updates – also called core updates, like Penguin and Panda. The last confirmed update happened in June 2019 which revolved around quality and site diversity.
With so many changes happening every day, SEO specialists need to future-proof their site to possible updates that can have a big impact. Although this sounds difficult, we have some insights on predicting the future based on our past experiences with Google updates. After all, there is no point in looking at Google’s update with trepidation. It’ll be great to instead be prepared with content that can only rank higher with every update.
When Google algorithm updates can work better for you than some of your competitors
Google wants to constantly improve its search experience. Most people want to take the shortcut to rankings and end up creating bot-pleasing content piles that may get them going in the short run. If you have competitors who follow this strategy, it is likely that they may outrank you in the short run but with every Google update they are going to find it harder to sustain their rankings until they switch to white hat practice.
Google is looking for ‘useful’ content. As long as you can access the utility of your content from a user perspective on an ongoing basis, your rankings should change only marginally
How to access your content’s utility
With hundreds, sometimes thousands of pages in a website, many of them being dynamic, it can be a daunting task for anyone to evaluate content periodically. Content cannot be the SEO manager or Content manager’s sole responsibility. In fact, everyone in the organisation should be vested in ensuring that the content is accurate and updated.
Create a Content responsibility Google sheet
Let us assume that your website has 20 products and related pages, a blog and standard pages about the organization. In addition to this, there are some technical functionalities built within the site. The site may also have campaign banners and content from the HR team promoting company initiatives.
Each page identified within a function should be assigned to the functional head to ratify its content. If there are hundreds of products, the ratification group will have to be expanded. While the marketing team would be in charge of the blog pages, the HR in the company will be responsible for showcasing the latest updates from the organization. The performance marketing team will be the best to evaluate which campaign banners will show.
Democratizing the responsibility of the content now gives both SEO and Content mangers better ways to handle constantly evolving content.
Make yourself unique
Most marketers do a keyword evaluation, pick the relevant keywords with high search volumes and begin to write a blog. Often such keywords are also competitive and there is existing content available.
Do a detailed analysis of content that is currently ranking high for the keyword. Think of ways how your content cannot be incrementally better but exponentially useful for readers.
a. Here are a few things that can make your content unique
- Data or case studies from campaigns you’ve run: A campaign will generally give you access to a treasure trove of data and learnings that is unique. You can leverage some open information from such campaigns to build a unique case for your brand
- Your own research/surveys: While a survey and its result is generally good fodder for creating original content, you can cut various slices of this content to make it snackable or even build infographics and image visuals
- A quote from the relevant people in the company: A company quote and a PR angle is a great way to ensure your content is original
- Create new forms of content: Content need not be limited to text. From ads to blogs to gifs to social stories to infographics, modifying the type of content can give it a unique twist in perspective.
b. Make it meaty
The crux of the content and the summary should be interesting enough to drive high click-through rates. If you are talking about the one secret strategy to getting your keywords right, the secret strategy should be something that is really worth the readers 7 minutes of reading time.
c. Build trust by showcasing expertise
Think of all the industry blogs that you go to check often when you need detailed information on a topic. If the topic you are researching is on improving click-through rates on organic rankings, you know that you are likely to find answers on backlinko.com or Neilpatel.com or Moz.com All of these sites present convincing data from self experiments, in depth analysis and detailed screenshots on how-tos to help you solve your problem. They automatically qualify as the industry expert on the related topics over a period of time. It is not easy to gain expertise and showcase it with content. But the hard work definitely pays off.
d. Let the devil lie in the details
Content with typos and grammatical errors is simply unacceptable. It brings down the credibility of the website as a whole. It is simple to use tools like Grammarly to get your content house in order. Make sure that anything that is published is of optimum quality.
The exception here only lies for UGC. User-generated content is generally full of short forms and sometimes riddled with mistakes. But that goes to show its authenticity that it is not written by a professional but a lay man user of the product.
e. Be sure to make it visually stunning
Images and videos play a huge role in making your content sticky. Original photos are one of the best ways to grab a reader’s attention. This coupled with the format of presentation makes a world of difference in ensuring that the average time spent on the page and the read rate of your content improves over a period of time.
f. From AMP to mobile responsiveness, be mobile-first
Since over 70% content is now consumed on mobile, it is important to write for mobile users. Easy to read fonts, clear headlines and ample chunking on fast-loading pages can let Google know that you are serious about delivering quality content via good tech.
g. Create a content assessment plan – EAT sleep repeat
E A T stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness. This forms the crux of the checklist for any content you create.Google has share extensive quality rater guidelines ) for content which is a great starting point for your evaluation. Using the EAT, the raters in your company will be able to evaluate the content and share feedback on an ongoing basis.
Ideally check if your content is evergreen. In any case, set a date for a content refresh for content that is older than a year. This will mean having a constant churn of your content machinery. The analysis is likely to help you improve your content quality on an ongoing basis.
Quality, relevance and constant updates form the crux of ensuring that your content is future-proof for Google’s algorithm updates.
Watch: How does content marketing work to get your business traffic?