Write well and often. A frequently updated site encourages people to return – as long as your content remains relevant and engaging. A useful post once a week is better than low-quality content published daily.
There are some things you could do that are specifically meant to help search engines better discover and understand your content. SEO can be a helpful activity when it is applied to people-first content, rather than search engine-first content.
Here are some questions that can help you gauge if the content you’re making is helpful and reliable. Beyond asking yourself these questions, consider having others you trust but who are unaffiliated with your site provide an honest assessment.
Quality content “best practices” questions:
- Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
- Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?
- If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
- Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
- Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
- Is the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
- Does the content have an excessive amount of ads, or interstitial pop-ups, that distract from or interfere with the main content?
- Does content display well for mobile devices when viewed on them?
Focus on People-first Content
People-first content means content that’s created primarily for people, and not to manipulate search engine rankings. How can you evaluate if you’re creating people-first content? Answering yes to the questions below means you’re probably on the right track with a people-first approach:
- Do you have an existing or intended audience for your business or site that would find the content useful if they came directly to you?
- Does your content clearly demonstrate first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge?
- Does your site have a primary purpose or focus?
- After reading your content, will someone leave feeling they’ve learned enough about a topic to help achieve their goal?
- Will someone reading your content leave feeling like they’ve had a satisfying experience?
Avoid Creating Search Engine-first Content
Google recommends that you focus on creating people-first content to be successful with Google Search, rather than search engine-first content made primarily to gain search engine rankings. Answering yes to some or all of the questions below is a warning sign that you should reevaluate how you’re creating content:
- Is the content primarily made to attract visits from search engines?
- Are you producing lots of content on many different topics in hopes that some of it might perform well in search results?
- Are you using extensive automation to produce content on many topics?
- Are you mainly summarizing what others have to say without adding much value?
- Does your content leave readers feeling like they need to search again to get better information from other sources?
- Are you writing to a particular word count because you’ve heard or read that Google has a preferred word count? (They don’t).
- Did you decide to enter some niche topic area without any real expertise, but instead mainly because you thought you’d get search traffic?
Google uses automated ranking systems that look at many factors and signals about hundreds of billions of web pages and other content the Search index to present the most relevant, useful results, all in a fraction of a second.
People also prefer sites that offer a great page experience! This includes how quickly pages load, mobile-friendliness, if pages lack intrusive interstitials, and if pages are served in a secure fashion.
Too busy to update your website with fresh content? Contact us today to discuss a website maintenance and optimization plan unique to your business activities.