Google’s main job is to deliver search results that are relevant to the searcher. If you want your content to be found, it’s up to you to make sure it’s valuable to the reader. Good content is half the battle, but can your ranking be enhanced with search engine optimisation (SEO) methods?

There was a time when any pimply-faced teenager could tell you roughly how Google found and displayed websites. We had an explosion of “SEO experts” who promised to improve your rankings without actually improving the content. For a while, things like additional links and big blocks of keywords in text worked, but these don’t cut it anymore. The best way for Google to love you? Posting high quality, relevant content. Let me explain…

Google is smart, much smarter than most of these so-called SEO experts, and it didn’t take long for it to work out that no one actually wanted to read an article that was rubbish and stacked with artificial ranking boosters. It figured out that a million links sending readers round in circles was not actually helping them. Google wants to deliver content the reader is actually looking for. It got wise to the old SEO tricks and these will now do more harm than good to your search rankings.

How can you “trick” Google into ranking your pages higher today?

There really isn’t a trick anymore, because Google pays attention to not only how many people click on your page, but how long they stay there. So if you get someone to your site and they realise it’s filled with SEO-hacking ploys, they’ll click back straight away and choose a different search result. This limited time on your site tells Google that the reader didn’t find what they were looking for, and that next time someone searches for something similar, your site should not be offered as a good option.

On the other hand, if someone searches for “how to choose a new industrial pump” and Google presents them with your well written article listing five to ten clear things for a customer to consider, you might be in luck. This person will read through your article, spend some time on your page and maybe click through to other articles on your site or get in touch through your website contact card. All of these behaviours tell Google that it was a good resource to present, and increase your chances of ranking highly next time someone searches for something similar.

Is great content really enough?

Good content is half the battle, but there are still a few other ways to make your site more attractive to Google. While not really a “trick”, knowing that Google scans your content for related search terms and writing for this purpose makes sense. In the old days, SEO experts would advise you to include every possible word and term within your text to help Google find you. This desire to include all relevant words often resulted in strange copy that sounded very clunky.

Savvy copywriters today know that Google already has a list of “like terms” in the database, and it is clever enough to know that a person searching for “how to select a pump”, “pump selection procedure” or “pump selection guide” are most likely all after for the same thing. You don’t need to include all of these terms on your page to be found. Here’s where it gets complicated. While Google doesn’t need you to include all of these terms, including a few of them does help Google know that your entire article is about what it thinks it’s about.

Google knows that a thorough article about selecting an industrial pump will likely include terms like capacity, centrifugal, hydraulic or water. It knows that “choosing” may also be assisted by articles that include words like calculation, comparison, chart, difference or advantages. A good article will weave these terms in seamlessly, so the reader doesn’t notice the hints you’ve left for Google.

As a general rule, you want Google to find your signposts, but you don’t want your reader to be distracted by them. Poorly written articles will never retain the attention of your reader, even if Google thought your copy was relevant. Google will continue to evolve at an alarming rate. It will continue to analyse the behaviour of people who visit your page to assess its worth. The best way to increase your rankings is with good content that people actually want to read.

Want a more in-depth understanding of content marketing?

Download our ebook, Content Marketing: The Key To Business Growth, and learn the fundamental concepts of content marketing and the ways it can be used to accelerate your business’s growth.

Content Marketing Ebook