Search Engine Ranking: How To Improve
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and things that were relevant back then are still often relevant today – search volumes for example. The good news is that it doesn’t take ages to improve search engine ranking, thanks to Google’s speedy crawlers.
As well as the technical factors that we are not going into here, specially created content and link building has a positive or negative influence on the search engine ranking of a website. As an editor, you can take specific measures to help increase rankings on Google and other major search engines. In this article, we will explain how.
Added value through uniqueness
Sounds logical, right? Of course, there aren’t many editors who would start creating content without intending to provide added value for their respective target groups. However, you should make sure that the added value also takes into account Google’s algorithm requirements.
If you want to create your content for both purposes, you should consider the following aspects:
- Find out and accurately answer the questions of your target group
- Structure your articles with clear paragraphs, and use a clear writing style
- Highlight the important things
- Use synonyms for technical terms, because not every user will understand technical or expert terms.
- Offer context through quality hyperlinks
- Adjust the meta description / meta titles that get people to read
The Hummingbird Effect
Some of you might know the story of the little hummingbird that tried to put out a huge forest fire on its own, persuading other animals to follow suit and thereby starting a huge turnaround? Similar to the homonymous Google Hummingbird update that was introduced in the third quarter of 2013.
Since then, website content has been written differently, and now more closely reflects human search requests. Relatively similar keyword combinations show the same content assimilated more and more.
Editors can guess all search requests that users might type in. You need to try to create a comprehensive text with a lot of synonyms, explanations, descriptions, etc. that cover as many different variations and questions as possible. Hyperlinks are, as previously mentioned, an important search engine ranking factor. You can see the difference by just reading the text. Expressive hyperlink anchor texts are not just good for search engines, but also for users. Users know that by clicking on the link, they can get more information on certain aspects of the topic. The expectation that has been created with the hyperlink should then of course be met.
For mass markets where companies offer very specific products or services, so-called long tail keywords are a good idea. These are not as competitive, which means they have a lower search volume but more specific.
What many hipsters consider as their life motto – i.e. being unique, is quite profitable from an SEO perspective, because websites with duplicate content can have a negative impact on rankings. We can’t avoid briefly addressing the technical factors here. A domain transfer without clear 301 and 302 redirects, for instance, can lead to duplicate content just as easily as false canonical tags can.
Furthermore, internal and external content contribute to unwanted duplicate content. Internal content includes for example teasers and snippets that are used more than once, same language content on different domains (for instance the same English content on .com and .co.uk or the same German content on .de and .at domains) or also “boilerplate content” in the navigation, the header or the footer.
External content could be articles transferred word by word to another website (content scraper) or consciously externally published guest contributions that can also be found on the original website (content syndication). If you want better search engine ranking, you should really spend time on your content and specifically avoid this duplicate content.
Meta data and click rates
By meta data in this context we mean:
- Tags (meta tags)
- Descriptions (meta descriptions)
- Titles (meta titles)
Meta tags act as helpers for crawlers. For example, you can prevent crawlers following certain links with meta tags. For duplicate documents, a canonical tag can indicate which is the original, and indicate the language of a page.
Meta titles and meta descriptions on the other hand describe the content of a document. Here, the meta title is a direct ranking criteria, while the meta description has no direct ranking relevance, but has an impact on the click rate of a page as the content description. When done well, it motivates the reader to follow the link, and determines the expectations of the page content. So TLC for meta data is important for editors.
Click and away
As we’ve already touched, the click rate of a page influences its search engine ranking. Here, it is important to differentiate between:
- Click rate (click through rate)
- Bounce rate
The click rate generally describes the number of clicks on a link in the search results. The bounce rate shows users that have left the site after only one interaction. If the bounce rate is very high, this is something you should take a closer look at – for example it might be an indication that the page architecture isn’t very good and that the content is boring. However, if the bounce rate is high for a particular subpage or a blog entry, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. If the user has found the content they require, they don’t need to look any further.
To increase the time spent on a website, you should use a call to action leading users to a convertible page. Pogo sticking on the other hand is the black sheep of the bounce rate. In this case, users bounce back to the search results right after clicking on the landing page, showing that the content did not meet their requirements. If you have high bounce rates on certain pages, or many users bounce without any interaction, you should rework the content you produce, or better match it to the meta description. If your content does not accurately fit the search request, this can cost you ranking positions.
OffPage on fire – authority is not only a leadership style
Authority is absolutely necessary in many parts of life. If we consider authority relating to SEO, it describes the credibility of a website and functions as the generic term for the following important aspects for better search engine ranking:
- Generate more traffic
- Build backlinks
- Foster an expert image
- Create social signals
Apart from the first point, these aspects are mainly external factors. For this reason, editors need to try to attract attention outside their usual working environment. The necessary measures for this can be carried out in different ways.
An example, backlinks can be sealed in agreement with partners (definitely has to be of the same industry) or can easily be “earned”. This mostly happens when the created content is so good that other websites gladly use it as a reference in their own articles.
Social media is a bit different when it comes to creating backlinks. A high social media reputation and the scope that comes with it is still advantageous, since partners’ posts can also be shared, making content available to a larger audience. These in turn can show their gratitude with backlinks on their websites. Seeding created content therefore plays an indirect role for SEO success.
Conclusion: High-quality quantity beats simple quantity for search engine ranking.
In conclusion, instead of quickly creating content one post after another, you should plan your content carefully to ensure that it meets your target group’s requirements. In addition, it is vital for the creation process to find fitting and less heavily fought over keywords, and to do your homework on the meta level.
Do take your time. Crawlers and anyone interested will thank you. Copy & paste for descriptions or for headers? As much of a no-go as duplicate content. A high volume of quality content is still suitable to improve rankings.
Even off page, as mentioned, there are a number of options you can implement to improve your rankings. Don’t worry if you can’t shine in all these points all the time. In return, the search engine ranking algorithm considers all sorts, sometimes even incomprehensible criteria. This guide should, however, help you contribute your best to a good ranking position and to be successful.