Imagine you are online searching for information about a product, a service or even a brand. What’s one of the first things you do to find the answers to your questions?
You perform a quick keyword search using your preferred search engine, most commonly Google.
The search engine algorithm reviews your keywords, filters through millions of webpages, and presents those pages to you in a sequential order of results. Once the results are ordered you can review your options and click on one of the links, which typically occurs on the first page of search engine results. Research indicates that over 70% of organic searchers will click a link that appears on Page 1 of SERPs.
Image courtesy of Philip Petrescu/Moz
How do search engines judge the value of content on websites and how does that content influence SERPs? We’ve compiled a list of factors that can influence SERP rankings, which marketers should use to optimize content marketing strategies.
High Quality vs. Low-Quality Content
Search engines organize results based on a number of factors such as the crawlability of a particular website (is information easy to find for both search engines and users on that particular site?), the number of error codes indexed by the search engine (does that site contain broken links or 404s?), and the value of the content on the webpage as it relates to the terms or phrases you entered into the search engine.
The quality of webpage content influences where those pages rank on SERPs. Pages with content that is perceived as high quality and credible by search engines and analytic tools is assigned a high page authority. A high page authority indicates the content on that particular page is reliable and relevant to users who search for related queries, adding more “ranking juice” to that webpage.
On the other hand sites that employ what are described as “black hat” SEO tactics receive lower page authorities. These tactics include keyword stuffing (repeatedly inserting target keywords into a piece of content) as well as duplicate or thin content (only using content published on a separate webpage and passing it off as fresh). Sites that rely on these tactics lower their own page authority, and consequently rank for fewer related search terms.
Focus On Long-Tail Keywords
Acquiring high page authority through content helps you rank for related search terms and increases the amount of inbound organic traffic to your website. You will need to conduct your own keyword research and analysis to create a content marketing plan that will increase rankings and inbound traffic.
When conducting keyword research break the results up into two separate categories. Label the first category as primary keywords, which are the ideal terms that have high search volume and best represent your industry.
For example; if you are in the content marketing industry, a primary keyword is the term “content marketing.” This is a term that receives a high number of queries and is the most generic term within that industry. If you rank near the top for that term, you can expect a high volume of organic search traffic.
The second category contains your long-tail keywords. These are longer phrases used by searchers who are seeking very explicit information about a product, service or brand. Returning to the content marketing example, a long-tail keyword could be “tips to succeed at content marketing.”
Long-tail keywords generally have less search volume than primary keywords but ranking for those longer search terms is easier than primary terms. Additionally as your brand ranks for a greater quantity of long-tail keywords, you organically begin to rise in the rankings for primary search terms.
Let’s return to the two examples. If you create a very in-depth and informative post about tips to succeed at content marketing, you can expect high rankings for that specific, long-tail term. As the page authority and “ranking juice” for that piece of content expands for that specific search term, you can expect that page to register for generic terms like content marketing.
It’s All About Organic Growth
Search engines recognize when websites create quality content as opposed to thin or spammy material. Educate your marketing team about search engines, how content is ranked in SERPs, and the co-dependent relationship between content marketing and SEO. Marketers who focus on pleasing search engines and providing positive user experiences will reap the benefits of better rankings and higher amounts of organic search traffic.
People conduct their research by using search engines. Some people directly input queries into the search engine; others see status updates related to a product, service or brand on social media, and conduct further research using sources like Google to learn more information. If your site is at or near the top of SERPs for those highly-sought search terms, you can acquire a larger share of organic search traffic.
Improve your rankings for long-tail and primary keywords to carve out a niche in the digital market. Conquer your industry and you will trigger a snowball effect of organically-fueled growth through an increased amount of rankings and higher quantities of organic search traffic.
This article was written by Gary Parkinson from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.