Much of what you have heard about optimising a web page’s content for Google is a little out of date. All Google is asking is for your website’s content to demonstrate expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness.
“It is all about playing the Google game and then stepping up.”
- At VCM the process of optimising a website is often ongoing. The vast majority of new client’s websites are not optimised. So if this is your experience do not worry, it is eminently fixable.
- Sometimes some of the old blog posts may have had an element of SEO applied but the higher-level pages, normally the service or product pages are often left as they were originally created.
- The first process is to divide the content into pages and blogs. The next step is to divide the content into manageable sections. Page optimisation cannot be achieved in isolation, pages are parts of sections and sections make up a website. All pages lead to Rome, ie the hub page within a section.
Internal interlinking is organised and structures to help Google understand our content and the keywords we are trying to rank for. We are presenting a better, more expert and authoritative website to Google. Funnily enough, our rankings improve.
The internet is full of spam and SEOed content of little worth. Google’s algorithm has become more complex to challenge the very SEO rules it put in place but are now too easy to abuse, H1s, metadata etc.
Many of the elements that commonly make up optimisation knowledge are extremely easy to manipulate. Who can’t creator a URL out of a keyword or write a ‘meta description’ that is basically the keyword and a few variants repeated?
Google has introduced a raft of new signals that have a far greater weight in order to combat the spammers.
“This means that on-page optimisation signals are doubly important to get right, every page and every blog.”
Anything that can be easily manipulated has a low score.
The way Google ranks pages is by using its algorithm, a list of rules to give each and every website and webpage score of between zero and infinity.
All of the metrics we’ve mentioned so far headings bolds, italics, unordered lists and meta tags are unlikely to count for more than one point. So whilst possibly worth doing they are not the real focus of optimisation.
“At VCM we see language and site architecture as true optimisation.”
Now we are getting to the optimisation work that separates the men from the boys.
Google is very fortunate that it has copies of every single website and every single version as those websites were built and evolved. Have a read here if you like.
Google is an expert at knowing that if this is a solicitor website these are the words that define that. Google has vast fast data on what words are used for example in a personal blog versus a business or e-commerce website.
Google has then looked at these vocabularies and found words that are typical of businesses or websites that Google regards as successful, informative and trustworthy.
How does Google know which websites are trustworthy and successful? You would think they had clever coding software. They don’t. The software or the algorithmic rules need to be written based on data, it does not know which is the right data without being programmed.
One practice Google uses is asking 500 students (external Search Quality Raters!) to come onto Google’s campus and spend days grading websites on trustability! This is one of the reasons why formal content is less Google-friendly than more conversational content.
Did you know Google sends over 210,000,000 emails to webmasters a year?
If you are interested in how we use language as the most powerful optimisation tool in our armour click here.
On-page optimisation takes time. All of the work VCM is in contracted hours per month. For the majority of clients on page, optimisation accounts for 33% of their hours.
When done correctly the rewards are fast and furious, pages that languished on page 4 of Google go straight onto the first pages of Google.
Web traffic to the whole site improves as the site benefits from longer tail keywords. Sales and leads improve as the site is more structured and ordered with content and pages linking to the correct information giving the user all the information they need to make a buying decision.
“New content can hang off newly optimised pages increasing the impact this has on traffic, rankings and sales.”
- Anyone wanting to know more about search quality evaluator guidelines would enjoy this pdf
- Google’s SEO starter guide by Google
- A flavour of Google as a company/2004 Founders’ IPO Letter
- To get advice from Google employees and external experts direct go here
- Off-page optimisation
- A wonderful list of over 200 ranking factors, the myths and the truth