If you’ve ever hung around with me and talked about content, you probably know by now that one of the key reasons many business owners invest in it is to rank highly on Google. While many do genuinely see the benefits outside of the SEO world, there are some businesses for whom clawing themselves ever closer to that coveted first page ranking is the primary goal. But there is only one problem with that – Google is a fickle bugger that never seems to make up its mind. That’s not to be negative about Google – I think they are a fantastic company with great ethics, and they are fuelling so much innovation in so many sectors its frankly mind boggling. But they have also become the most widely used search engine in the world. It processes over 40,000 search queries every second, which adds up to over 3.5 billion searches per day, and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide. And if you’re like me and those numbers seem too hugely to really contemplate, they have a neat visualisation tool for it here.
So, it’s no wonder really that ranking on page 1 of Google is on most business owners marketing priority list. But Google is always changing, evolving, and learning from what its users are doing. So now, Google is crying out for content in all shapes and sizes for its users. That makes our big tip for 2018 really easy. Feed the Google magpie what it wants, and do it regularly.
A Brief History Google
And trust me, I mean brief! Since its inception, Google has undergone a lot of changes. The old school of SEO said that backlinks and keywords were crucial to building a good search ranking, and so millions of businesses stuffed their text full of key words and linked to every website they could think of. But Google cottoned on to that pretty quickly. Soon, they started looking at what their users wanted, and telling businesses that if they wanted that elusive page 1 ranking, they needed to meet those needs. But it’s a bit of a moving goalpost to meet them fully. Google has rolled out over 152 major algorithm updates since 2000 (full list here), and they are making smaller changes on average every other day. The ways Google measures what it considers relevant, and how it presents information to users is rarely static, but for many years they have been consistent about one thing. Content.
So Why Content?
If you want the short answer, it’s because users love content, so Google does too. Google make a point of telling you that all the time, and every marketing and SEO professional worth their salt will tell you the same. Sure, there are a lot of other things you can do to improve your rankings and get Google to like you, but content is the primary ingredient in the Google recipe to online success. The more high quality content you feed Google (this is another blog in itself), the more active and relevant it will see you as and the higher it will rank you in searches. Essentially, Google is essentially a giant, fat magpie, sitting in its nest and collecting interesting, relevant things from the world around it. And just like real magpies are attracted to shiny things like tin foil, Google is attracted to new content.
Now, both of those words are equally important. Content is a must, but the uniqueness and newness of it is also important. Google even have a name for it – it’s called the freshness factor. This algorithm basically measures all of your documents for freshness, and then scores each page according to the type of search query it would match. A former fellow from Google by the name of Amit Singhal explained this as ‘different searches having different freshness needs’, and gave some examples of what this could mean. And because I’m nice, I’ve gone and dug up those examples, so you don’t have to:
Singhal explains that there are some types of keyword searches most likely to require fresher content, such as:
- Recent Events or Hot Topics: “Brexit”, “trump protest”, “celebrity death”
- Regularly Recurring Events: “UK budget”, “Bake Off results”, “Tesla profits”
- Frequent Updates: “Best SLR cameras”, “ford focus reviews”
On top of that, Google can also determined exactly which queries require fresh content by monitoring the web, and their own huge vaults of data. So they will look at factors like:
- Search Volume: Are queries for a particular term spiking? (e.g. “earthquake San Francisco”).
- News & Blog Coverage: If a number of news organisations and bloggers start writing about the same subject, it’s likely to be a hot topic.
- Social Media: A spike in mentions of a particular topic may indicate the topic is ‘trending’.
Of course, many queries don’t require fresh content, but are still regularly searched terms. This is where your backlog of informative content comes in. If the search query doesn’t demand fresh, then it will search for the most relevant content instead. So fresh content is often better, but not always. The trick is to find the balance between fresh and informative, and keep it going.
At Eleven Eight, we specialise in creating written content for businesses in all sectors. From HGV’s to HR, marketing to accounting, we can help you meet the ever increasing needs of the Google magpie. Our experts have spent years crafting informative blogs (like this one), compelling case studies and engaging white papers, just so you can relax, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea while we do all the hard work. To find out more about what we can do for you, just drop us a line by phone, email or even carrier Pidgeon, and we’ll get back to you.