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A lot of talk is sweeping around about how Google search is biased. Well, I suppose that’s true in a way: it’s biased for quality content. Each iteration of the algorithm affects how pages are delivered online, and most of these focus on being true to what visitors want.
And this is vital to the performance of Google. The more quality content people find, the more money Google makes in the long run. It’s in the company’s best interest to deliver the best of the web to people searching for specific information.
Commanding Google Search
I am paid pretty well by clients to help them reach a wider audience through content and search engine optimization. In fact, I’ve successfully developed content for others since 2008. And I can say unequivocally that Google search is not as corrupt as some people might think.
The truth is, it’s mostly up to the developer of the content as a whole and what people are looking for.
Keywords Are Only Part of It
Keywords are still vastly important when creating content to appear in Google search. After all, someone looking for “chicken recipes” is not going to type in “carburetor repair.”
However, keywords are not nearly as important as they were back in 2002. For one thing, stuffing these words in your content will actually cause Google to flag your post and it will appear worse in search results.
Although keywords are still somewhat vital, appearing high in the results page takes far more than just having the right phrase in your content.
For example, I once had a client who wanted a short article about real estate on his very unpopular website. After creating the article, he immediately looked for it in Google using the keyword he wanted.
Needless to say, his article wasn’t in the top 10. In fact, it wasn’t in the first 100 either. This is because you can’t assume to take over a top position with an article from a website that sees very little traffic to begin with.
The Google crawler doesn’t automatically index a site’s pages. You have to provide a regular and consistent flow of material if you want Google to immediately show your article among the millions of pages online.
Unfortunately, he gave up on content marketing and just let the website sit idle for the last 10 years.
Content relevance is an important aspect of the algorithms controlling Google search. It’s not enough to have the best keywords, but the content itself has to be relevant to what people are looking for.
This is called, “search intent.” It’s the words before and after keywords and phrases that dictate how people will find the content.
Let’s take the word, “dodge.” Is someone looking for dodge ball, Dodge Ram or Dodge Prince?
This is where the quality of the content as a whole plays the biggest part of scoring well in search results. It’s all about focusing on what the article is about and knowing who you’re targeting as a visitor.
Internal linking is an often underestimated part of SEO. Essentially, you’re casting votes on your own content regarding importance. However, these links need to have relevance to the current article.
Think of this like giving readers additional information that supports the piece they are reading.
For example on my health website, I would link to my article about “portion control” when talking about how food portions are important for losing weight.
Irrelevant internal links are often detrimental when it comes to scoring well in Google. Remember, it’s all about quality and not quantity.
When linking internally, ask yourself, “Does it make sense in this article to mention that one?”
Backlinks are the Internet’s way of casting a vote on content. The more backlinks you have from other websites, the better.
However, this comes with a huge caveat…the backlinks need to have relevance.
Google is cracking down on people who create websites for the sole purpose of generating backlinks. In the past, you could link from virtually any website to make it appear better in Google search results.
Essentially, you could see a link from dog food sites to pizza sites to make the latter appear higher in Google. Nowadays, the content needs to have relevance.
For example, one of my health articles shot up in importance simply because it was linked by a medical website talking about the subject matter.
Linking to Authoritative Sources
Backlinks from authoritative sources are great, but linking to those sources is also beneficial. In fact, the articles I write which do better in search results link out to high-quality posts and articles.
For instance, I tend to include a lot of scientific information in my health blog. I don’t rely on hear-say and try to find quantitative material to back my claims. As a result, those articles are viewed as informative from both humans and search engines alike.
Want to relay a statistic to readers? Make sure you can solidify the claim by linking to the source. In a world where “fake news” runs rampant, being able to prove the information is vital.
And make sure the source is legitimate. I usually look at a site’s Alexa rating before linking to them. If the site is within the top 100,000, I’ll definitely cite it.
Site performance is part of Google’s algorithm to find quality websites. This is because the majority of users on the Internet want information immediately. A slow experience means you’ll appear lower in results.
In fact, the chances of a user leaving because of slow load times increase vastly for every second that goes by. Since Google search takes this into consideration, speed is a ranking factor.
There’s a reason why very few people use Flash videos today. HTML5 video is far more efficient and quicker to load.
The overall popularity of a site will also affect its appearance in Google search. Little to unknown brands and pages are less likely to get attention.
However, that doesn’t mean that a new website couldn’t rank in the top search results. When my Progresso Soup article first published on my new blog, it was among the top 10 after three months.
Popularity is affected by a myriad of factors, most of which pertain to the type of content you write and how well you market the site.
For most people, generating popularity is a very long process. However, the end result is a heavily visited website after a few years worth of blood, sweat and tears.
It takes a great deal of work to consistently reach the top of Google search results.
Your Personal Searches
One of the most common methods of delivery for search results in Google is content that is related to your past activity. This is also apparent in YouTube.
How you use search and what you look for will impact the results you see. While this isn’t the only factor the search engine takes into account, it’s one of the most affluent methods.
This is to help provide the perfect results based on an individual’s preference. In this regard, it’s all about delivering exactly what someone wants to see. It increases engagement and boosts how responsive people are to specific advertising.
When was the last time you went to a burger joint looking for some fresh fish? The same principle applies for SEO.
In fact, personalization is such an important role for Google search that it directly impacts advertising. You’ve probably seen ads run that are closely related to things you search for on the Internet.
I know I see these a lot in YouTube.
If you look for web hosting companies, the chances of seeing an ad for one increase exponentially.
So if you are having a hard time trying to find a specific piece of information, consider what you’ve searched for recently. It may play a part in what you’re finding.
Google Search is Not as Biased as Many Think
This is an over-simplification of how Google search really works. It has no bias other than trying to deliver exactly what it thinks you want to see. This information is based on a slew of data Google analyzes and scrutinizes.
With the sheer number of competing websites on the Internet, you may have to dig deeper in results to find exactly what you’re looking for.