It is not a novelty that Google evaluates the quality of content published online. But what changes, from month to month and from year to year, are the parameters that the Big G takes into account when it comes to deciding what is or what is not relevant.
Jack Simpson, Copywriter of Econsultancy, has just published an article explaining how Google defines quality of a given content. This is the result of a study that shows some correlation between the positioning of a series of contents and some of their characteristics.
Obviously, as usual when it comes to numbers and statistics, one should keep in mind that the correlation is not necessarily the direct cause. However, the results of the study of Econsultancy highlight some interesting aspects, that SEO managers and marketers should take into account.
Google prefers the longform content
From 2014 to the present day, the average length of the first 30 pages analyzed in the study has grown by approximately 25%. This means that the value of the text length has increased over time.
In fact, Google seems to think that the longer a content is, the more this content is capable of focusing on a given topic. Therefore, the more thoroughly discussed a subject is, the more likely it will be that it is relevant to those who are using the search engine.
This means that the old cliché that the network texts should be brief, because no one loses time to read them, becomes less valid today. If a text is well-written, captivating and deepened your users will be happy to dedicate their time to read it. Google will reward you accordingly.
Focus on the user experience
However, writing a good captivating and deepened text is not enough to convince readers to spend their time on your website. In the web, people are distracted by a thousand different incentives, that is why you have to give them a suitable context to involve and attract them to your content.
A well-designed website with easy and intuitive user experience, that helps the reader navigate the text and that accompany them in reading, is an essential requirement for the success of your content marketing strategy. Google knows this very well, which is why the well-structured and easily navigable pages get better results.
Usability from mobile devices is also fundamental. 30% of the best 30 pages analyzed by Econsultancy are responsive pages, namely able to adapt to the screen size of each device in a fluid way. So if you decide to dedicate yourself to the creation of long-form content, pay attention to plan carefully the user experience.
Stop worrying about the keywords
There was time when SEO was nothing more than slavish and senseless insertion of keywords within a text. Fortunately, the days when you could run across an article on how to get the first on search engines in Bolzano are over.
Today they do not write articles on how to get the first on search engines in Bolzano, because the focus has moved from machines to the user. So your first objective, when you write content, should be that of making it readable by people, who are the first and the most important users of what you write.
If your content is really the relevant to the research topic, the keywords will come by themselves. The statistics collected by Econsultancy shows in fact that the first five pages of the study have fewer keywords in the body text, compared to the next five.
Even the backlinks count less!
Backlinks, or inbound links to your site, are another of the pillars of SEO that is beginning, slowly, to lose relevance. Year after year, in fact the correlation between this factor and the search ranking becomes less and less important.
This happens because there are many ways to create backlinks unnaturally, paying or using automation. The sharing, instead, should be natural and the backlinks should be gained only by the good quality of content.
Last but not least: the social signals
They have been discussing it for a long time, but have not come yet to a certain conclusion. Yet, it seems that Google starts taking into account the social signals, as a positioning factor. The web pages in the top positions on search engines show in fact about twice as many social signals than the subsequent ones.
This means that likes, shares, hearts, retweets and starlets are beginning to have a role within the field of SEO.
In short, the data presented by Econsultancy deduce something fundamental: quality pays. Google, and generally every search engine, wants to offer its users the best possible results for their research, by privileging the quality of the content.
This means that in the future websites with trivial, superficial content without any appeal, will tend to lose positions on search engines. Therefore, if you do not want to take risks, it is better to start as early as to outline a content strategy for your website.