What Google Really Looks for When Ranking Your Content

Learn the key factors search engines use in evaluating your web contentIf you’ve been working on your online content for a while, you may feel like you’re a slave to Google, caged in by gimmicky keywords and confusing SEO practices. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Just like its users, Google is really just looking for the right content to answer questions typed into its search box. While the “old days” of SEO were often about putting the right keyword in the right place, modern SEO has more to do with what you have to offer to readers and how well you are able to do so.

If you still think Google is just looking for the right signal keywords in the right places, it’s time to reconsider how you think about your content. Google looks at a lot of factors when ranking pages, and the truth is that you’re probably focusing on the wrong things. So, if it’s not just keywords, what is Google really looking for when it considers your content?

How Google Ranks Your Content: The Top Five Factors

No one really knows everything that goes into Google’s search algorithm, but there are at least a few things we know that definitely matter. Here are probably the five most important factors in how your content is ranked:

  1. Quality. Google is looking for high-quality content. That means that your content should be interesting, informative, and full of the answers that people are searching for. It’s up to you to figure out what questions your potential clients are asking and to provide those answers in a truly helpful way. Choose a topic, cover it well, and make it relevant to your clients and your area. Just remember that you should never plagiarize content or offer up the “same old thing” that’s on every other lawyer’s site.
  2. Who is sharing your content. Backlinks and social shares can mean a lot when it comes to search rankings. Google sees great backlinks as evidence of the quality of your content, and search engines are increasingly paying attention to social media shares, as well. Luckily, to start getting the backlinks and social proof of quality you need, you really just need to create and promote high-quality content. News sources, bloggers, experts, and followers will then be more likely to see, share, and link back to your site.
  3. User engagement. Keep in mind that the main aim of search engines is to connect their users with the information they’re searching for. If Google sees that people click on your content, stick around long enough to read it, and even sometimes dig into other content on your site, then it is more likely to reward you organically. Make sure that you’re creating helpful content—and don’t forget to use titles and headlines that really describe the content on the page, which will help make sure that it comes up in the right search queries. Search rankings change all the time, but offering truly relevant and engaging content for your readers will help you stay at the top.
  4. Page functionality. DSS™ users don’t need to worry about a lot of the technical factors that Google looks at, such as page load speeds and crawlability. However, you should make sure that the way you link your content together makes sense and the anchor text you use is descriptive of the page you’re linking to. Additionally, you should optimize images in DSS™ so you don’t accidentally slow down your load times with huge images.
  5. Everything else. Google uses hundreds of factors in deciding page rankings, so don’t believe that you can just game the system. You really can’t. The best way to make sure you reach the top of the rankings and stay there is to simply play by the rules. Create great content with your readers in mind, keep it relevant, and present it in an easy-to-digest format. Everything else will start to happen organically.

Do you have questions about creating engaging content or improving your search rankings? Give Foster Web Marketing a call today at 888-886-0939, and let’s talk about what it really takes to get to the top of the search rankings.

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