April 18, 2019 - by Robert Carter
When the internet took off in the mid-90s, finding content wasn’t for the faint of heart. There were no directories or search engines and if you didn’t know where you wanted to go, you weren’t going very far. In the wild west of URLs, it became abundantly clear that we needed a better way to search.
Yahoo brought us our first directory but in a list of websites, everyone’s content looked equal. That’s when Google stepped up to the plate. Right from the early days of search algorithms, they understood that people valued expert content and we needed a way to rank the credibility and integrity of a webpage. Drawing on his academic background, Larry Page introduced the concept that links could act like citations in a research paper. The original idea operated like a voting system; the more links, the higher the rank. While Google still places tremendous value on expertise, their algorithm for search engine optimization (SEO) has become significantly more complex. We know that it’s combination of on-page and off-page factors but at the end of the day, it boils down to delivering the quality content people are searching for.
Give the People What They Want
Today’s audiences want to build more meaningful connections with the institutions and businesses they engage, and that requires information. It’s not enough to put out an unimaginative website or tri-fold brochure. While these tactics may have worked a short time ago, traditional marketing often fails to deliver the level of detail audiences need to make purchasing decisions. From transparency to accountability, they have high expectations for organizations and the content they provide. They want to know how a product or service will uniquely work for them and how your organization aligns with their vision and values. Most of all, they need expert perspectives and proof you can deliver results. If you want to remain competitive, it’s essential to keep up with these rising demands for easy-to-find, high-quality content and secure you a key spot on Google’s SERP.
Climbing the Ranks with Expertise
Organizations, particularly those in knowledge-based industries (academia, consulting, professional services, medicine etc.), need to pay special attention to how Google is tuning its search algorithm to index information that is attributed to experts. Factors like quality, keyword research and freshness are all on-page tactics that help webpages improve their rank. With this in mind, here are just a few ways your experts and their content are contributing to your rank on Google:
- Meta-Tagging: Meta tags are snippets of text or rich media that help audiences understand what’s on your webpage from the Google SERP. To ensure they deliver the most relevant search results, both Google and YouTube have been updating their meta tagging and schema options to allow expert content to be indexed more descriptively. This includes everything from author attribution to expert answers the prestigious Rank Zero which highlights the best possible result to users at the very top of the page.
- Freshness: The freshness of content is correlated with content relevance, and it’s something Google highly values when ranking search. Not only will outdated employee biographies and profiles on your site negatively impact your ranking on search engines, but failing to deliver timely, relevant content on trending topics will also hold you back. By regularly updating your website with expert content, you’re showing that you’re an active contributor to that topic – building trust your audiences and increasing your rank on Google.
- Keywords: Google collects and indexes searches from users every day, so the richness of your keywords is critical to your search ranking. In many cases, you’ll find that expert content has a holistic way of providing information about high-searched topics in your industry. When an expert creates content, they not only include the targeted keywords, but they naturally incorporate latent semantic indexing as well which accounts for related terms. This all feeds into Google’s desire to surface the most relevant content and who better to do that than your experts.
All of these factors are important considerations for improving your organic search rank. As a key driver in inbound traffic, improving your organic rank will not only increase brand awareness, but it also delivers higher-quality leads. And by sharing expert content on your digital channels, you’re showing your audiences and Google exactly what makes you an industry authority and why they should engage your business.
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