Google confirmed that there are three factors coming up continously with the ranking of the websites that are relevant for any given search query - namely, the content, the links pointing back to it, and the famous robot so-called RankBrain. We already talked in a different articlle about how AdWords works which is what houses the top 4 search results for most search queries. This article is meant to provide a detailed, yet actionable and understable, walthrough on these 3 factors, both with information that Google has disclosed, and with information that albeit unconfirmed, it is very likely to be true. Shall we start?
This factor is arguably the most straight-forward. There is no complex algorithm determining what good content is. There is no secret formula grading from 0 to 100 every single piece of content you come up with. There is just a lot of common sense involved.
Top-quality content is defined by 3 common-sense rules that we will explain in detail:
Length: Over 2,000 words per article
Images: Real images or screenshots
In order for the article to be informative, you will need to add an introduction, a body, a conclusion. There is no absolutely no proof that a 1,000-word article will rank higher than a 500-word article just because of its length. In other words, length alone will not determine how likely is a page to rank higher. But the longer an article is, the easier it becomes for it to become informative, and to include related keywords for which it can rank in the search results. In Kolau, we strive to create lengthy articles, usually well over 2,000 words, that contain useful and actionable information related to one particular topic. The lengthier the article, the easier it is also to structure it with headlines, and bullet points, and images and so on. Or in other words, the lengthier, the more likely it is to have the second and third points -informative and images- optimized as well.
Akin to length, informative alone won't rank a webpage higher up in the search results. But the user intent and user engagement is a known signal that Google uses in the page's favor. User intent is a concept rather vague, but it can defined as: whatever it is that the user was looking for. The more informative your page is, the more likely it is for the user to spend few minutes reading through it, and even searching within your website for content that is related. The less informative your page, article... is, the less likely it is for the user to spend more than couple seconds before going back to the search results and visiting your dear competitor. While informative alone is not a decissive factor, it does indeed help retaining your visitors.
Images are good, very good. Not only do they enhance the web page, making it easier to understand, easier to act on, they help the web page rank in the images search results.
Avoid stock pictures:
Although there is no proof that using stock pictures vs non-stock pictures makes a difference when it comes to web ranking, it makes sense that it does. Google has now powerful image recognition algorithms that can perform reasonably well reverse image searches. Well, that means Google can easily detect whether the image is a stock picture of whether it is something custom-made or relevant to the content that is also informative - namely, a graph, screenshot with arrows, and so on. Below, a textbook example of how an image should look like whenever possible.
The more links, the better. This has been so far the strategy many webmasters have followed in order to mistakenly rank as high as possible in Google. Well, the famous Pinguin and Panda updates in Google's search ranking algorithm penalized backlinks that felt or were outright spammy or otherwise bought. Links, however continue to be one of the three confirmed ranking factors.
RankBrain remains a mistery - even for Google which has acknowledged in several occasions that it does not fully understand how it functions. There seems to be one logic that it follow, however, albeit somewhat vague: the more relevant a webpage is to a search query, the more likely it is to rank high. We can assume, then, that by securing the first factors above - namely, proper content, the second factor will follow - namely, the links back to it, and RankBrain (the third factor) will take note and rank the page accordingly.
We cannot control the exact ramking of a given page in the search results, but we can control how this page is perceived by our users and by Google. Let us focus, then, on creating better-than-average content that impresses our readers.