Today, digital marketing is vital to the success of any business. Attracting customers and prospects to the company website has become a primary route to doing business. Even if you are a century old established business, you need to maintain existing customers and engage new customers.
Google has changed everyone’s life and it continues to adjust the rules of how we search and how our websites are found in a search. It is impossible to avoid Google – it is by far, the most used search engine. Google is the go-to for
- a question we need answering
- researching information
- buying something
- comparing things
What is the most important factor in getting website traffic
Is it possible to have done everything using SEO (search engine optimization) to optimize your website for Google, but still fall short in acquiring new visitors? SEO is not the most important component in digital marketing.
SEO is just the tip of the iceberg. Of course you need to ensure that you have all best SEO practices covered in terms of naming conventions, page titles, friendly URLs and meta descriptions. But, too many times, obsessing over SEO can take your attention away from the most important component of your website. In Google’s own words of instruction, quality of content by far is the most important feature of a website. Google scores web pages on thousands of factors. Google page scoring focuses heavily on a handful of factors that relate to the page’s content. Of course, Google would never release the actual algorithms that determine page rank. But in November 2015, Google did release the philosophy used in developing all Google page scoring algorithms entitled Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines.
Google: “Your money or your life” (YMYL)
There are certain categories of websites that Google holds to a higher standard. If the content of your website deals with areas that most affect a searcher’s life, such as health, finances, or happiness, Google sets higher standards for the website’s content. In other words, if low-quality pages could “potentially negatively affect users’ happiness, health, or wealth,” Google may rate the page lower and page rank may be penalized.
Google extends the YMYL criteria to any website that has an eCommerce component. Therefore, ensuring the sales process is secure would be another thing the guidelines would consider. If an online store’s content, descriptions, transaction process causes a user to not feel confident ordering or submitting personal information to it, then the website would not rank well.
When you take a look at the market areas to which Google applies these higher standards, you see that it is many websites. Google defines the areas as: eCommerce pages, financial information pages, medical information pages, legal pages, and the all-encompassing “Other”. In reality, most websites can negatively impact the “searcher’s happiness, health, or wealth” if they provide content that is thin, inaccurate, copied from others, poorly written and/or presented.
So, what are the indicators of good content?
If SEO is the tip and content is the whole iceberg, what makes good content? Google’s guidelines address that by setting up the attributes of: “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness” or E-A-T for short. E-A-T refers to the website content’s overall value and therefore page rank.
Expertise is demonstrated by the credentials of the individual content creators. Authoritativeness is similar, but is a value attribute of the website because of the content creators. Trustworthiness is a little more subjective and answers the question: Is this website a site you feel you can trust? Or, would you have trouble believing what the website is trying to tell you?
Google makes clear that “expertise” isn’t just limited to content creators with degrees or formal backgrounds. More likely expertise can be established with reviews, blog and forum contributions and even life experiences that may be provided in a profile or biography. Google takes into account almost everything when considering E-A-T.
Supplementary content can include articles similar to or that expand upon the featured content topic. An example would be related articles from your website or other sources listed in a sidebar. The key to good supplementary content is whether or not it is “helpful”. Does it support the featured content? And it goes without saying on a company website you would not put competitor’s content as supplementary. Other things considered supplementary content are illustrations, diagrams, info-graphics including the page’s navigation and links.
Each page of the website should be user-friendly and meet visitors’ needs. As Google puts it, featured content should be in Google’s words: “front and center” and the most prominent item of each page. It is a mistake to attempt to disguise your ad content. And don’t allow the ad content to compete with the featured content. The ultimate goal of a website that achieves higher page rank is to provide helpful information, answer a question, compare items or services. The same things that are need to ultimately engage potential customers.
There are many components to evaluate for better page rank contained in the Google’s Search Quality Rater’s Guidelines. But, the clear take-away is to have QUALITY CONTENT on your website. And make sure the content is created from highly reputable sources. Doing a good job with regards to these content guidelines can translate into Google rating your website higher and subsequently achieve a higher page rank.