3 More Key Google ranking factors

3 More Key Google Ranking Factors in 2017

In part one of our key Google ranking factors series we discussed backlinks in depth. They are the single biggest factor in the keyword rankings of your site and your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. While backlinks will get them there, your content is the key to holding your audience’s attention and getting them to come back again, and again, and that is something Google relies on heavily in determining rank.

4. Content Relevance

You’ve had it drilled into your head that content is king, but the type of content matters a lot. It’s not enough to visit Fiverr and hire the first “writer” you find to crank out junk content to fill your pages. Low-quality content that doesn’t pertain to your topic, or shares very little, will count against you. Content relevance is thought to be as much as 20% of your site’s ranking score.

Why content relevance matters

Even bigger than your concerns for search engine rankings, you should care what your visitors find when they arrive on your website. Relevant content, after all, is what they are looking for. If they come expecting to learn about kite making and find nothing but rehashed Wikipedia articles, you won’t find yourself at the top of Google. In addition, Google is watching, and looking for the best quality content to recommend. After all, even they have competitors, such as they are, and they want to be known for relevant results.

When Google ranks content for relevance they will look at keywords usage, volume and density of content and relevance of linking sites.

What can you do about it?

This may be the single simplest Google ranking factor to improve. The power is completely within your hands. Create and post relevant content. Well, that’s great, you say, but what does that mean? There are a few factors that  go into relevant content for Google Ranking.

  • Accurate keyword research leads to content that your audience wants. Write about the things they want to hear and you won’t be able to keep them away. Be sure to stay up to date on keyword density. Google changes what they are looking for from time to time. Share them often enough to be visible, but not enough to appear spammy. Readers first.
  • Share actionable information from a unique point of view to establish yourself as an expert. Density of content is just as important as quantity. Don’t use filler. Educate your audience.
  • Keep your content updated regularly to give your audience and Google more chances to find you. Sites that are regularly updated are among the most visited online.

Here are some tools for content that will drive Google Rankings

  • Use aggregators like Pocket and Paper.Li to collect relevant content from others in your industry to refer to and use as inspiration.
  • When you can’t write, curate. Curating is sharing other valuable content in a new and meaningful way. For instance, you could share ten YouTube videos on a single topic that might not otherwise be grouped together for an original piece that is relevant.
  • Hire a writer. If you need help in this department, we’d love to help. Just message us for more details, or search any of the writer for hire sites online.
  • Tools like Yoast SEO for WordPress can help you optimize for your keywords, a big factor in how Google checks content.

5. Content Length

Since the website’s inception, debates have raged over the proper volume of content. Since many of you will be writing blog posts as your primary means of sharing  content, it’s important to stay up with the trend. Google Ranking is currently favouring longer pieces. Recommendations for blog post length, range from 400-500 words, to over a thousand. This factor comes in at just under 5%, which can be enough to edge out the competition.

Long content as a Google Ranking Factor

In their guide for website rankers, Google mentions a “satisfying amount of Main Content” as a determining factor in Google ranking. They go on to mention highly detailed, authoritative content as a supporting factor. They even directly mention that the landing page of the URL should provide evidence of these things. This gives us a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for.

How long content helps

Longer content helps in a variety of ways. In addition to Google’s desire to see more of it, it also gets shared more than 3 times as often as shorter content. It helps to establish your expertise in your field and exhaustive pieces on a topic can even become industry references. All of these point to more traffic, more backlinks and higher search rankings.

How to improve content length

It’s not enough to simply “write more” your long content also needs to remain relevant to drive Google rankings. You need to make sure you are not just “talking to hear yourself” but really sharing valuable information that people in your niche want to know about. Here are some ways to do that without stretching your content thin.

  • Add tutorials that guide readers step by step through a process. Provide as much detail as possible, without sacrificing a conversational, readable tone.
  • Create content such as infographics and videos to add to your pages. Write complete descriptions of your visual content with links to relevant sources.
  • Strive to educate your audience about your niche. Add relevant history, technique, or technical information to your posts. Always work to share from high quality sources to add to your own authority.

Tools you can use

  • Read the latest books and journals in your industry to stay up to date on relevant content. Write reviews of them to add to your content, adding your own wisdom to the conversation.
  • Google itself is a great tool for finding relevant long-form content in your industry. Look at what the top ranking sites are doing and emulate it. You might even go a step beyond what they’ve done to create something called “skyscraper content”.

6. Click Through Rate

At just over 10% of your Google ranking score, all of what we’ve talked about so far leads up to your “click through rate”. Click through rate, or CTR, is the percentage of people who view your links in search results, and decide to click through onto your website. It is essentially the conversion rate for your backlinks and search results. According to a study by Search Metrics, click through rates had the highest correlation with Google rankings out of the factors and sites that they examined.

How search ranking effects CTR

A number one search result that is branded (a known name) typically receives a 50% CTR, from there the second result receives about 30% and the third about 10% with the remaining 20% spread between the lesser results. If your content gets a higher than expected CTR, based on where it falls in the search results, Google can adjust its position accordingly. To find out how your CTR use the Google Search Console “Search Analytics” tool to determine where you currently rank.

How to improve CTR

There is a warning that goes with this topic. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to artificially raise CTR by the use of bots or other means. Google will notice, discount your site, and can even bar you from results altogether. Your CTR is dependent on your Google Snippet, the small amount of text that shows up when a user hovers over your search result. Create a compelling title and give them a call to action that makes visiting your page a necessity.

Tools you can use

  • Read books and articles on persuasive copywriting, especially headlines. Here’s a good article to start with.
  • Test varying snippets on similar content to see what gets the best results and adjust your strategy accordingly.
  • You can even change your headlines and Google snippet on old content to help improve the CTR
This article is part of the Key Google Ranking Factors series of articles.