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Creating Quality Content: Relevance and Authority

Creating Quality Content: Relevance and Authority

Reading Time: 3 minutes

When Google was first founded, back in the Dark Ages of SEO, the most important factor in SEO and page rankings were keywords. The more keywords you could stuff into your webpage, the higher you might rank. This resulted in a lot of pages that were really good at gaming the system ranking first and websites that were actually more relevant to a user’s query losing out because of it.

Google has been steadily updating its algorithm to fix this ever since. Some sites have had to change their approach in order to meet the new SEO strategies, while those who have been creating high-quality content the entire time have already got the right kind of content for ranking highly with Google’s latest updates.

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How Does Google Measure Content Quality?

In the past, Google measured content quality by looking at UX signals. This included a variety of factors such as bounce rates and conversion rates. Sites that had a lot of visitors who stayed on the site for a long time (dwell time) clearly had the type of content that the visitors were looking for.

Focusing on high-quality content is important, but as Google gets even better at interpreting user queries and directing them to the best possible results, it’s not the only thing. Relevance is now the key feature and it’s established through authority.

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Relevance Is Key

The key to ranking high on Google’s SERP is relevance. High-quality content doesn’t matter if it’s not relevant to the user performing the search query. A web page about tennis rackets is not going to rank for the keyword “coffee.” Even a web page about Google’s Panda update won’t rank for searches about the giant pandas in China because Google can, thanks to BERT and other updates, interpret what the user really means when they search, providing the most relevant results.

Google doesn’t just want to provide the most relevant information, however. The company wants to provide the most authoritative of those relevant webpages.

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What Is Authority?

Authority is how trustworthy the information on the webpage is. Google uses authority to differentiate the quality of multiple websites that are about the same content. One will need to rank higher than the others, even if the pages are equally relevant to the user’s query.

Authoritativeness includes a variety of factors that make your webpage a trusted source for a given topic. This can include ensuring that your information is factual. and answers questions that users may have. It also means that users trust your site and that you are an authority on that subject.

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How Is Authority Established?

But how can you establish that your website is an authority on your subject? Backlinks. This includes both links to your website on other sites and the links you chose to include on your own site. You need to ensure that you link to quality references within your own content. In addition, if others view your site as authoritative and trustworthy, they will link back to you.

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Write for the Users, Not for Google

Google has aimed from the beginning to push sites that optimize for search engines instead of users down in rankings. All of its algorithm tweaks haven’t been arbitrary; they’ve been to improve user experience online. It’s more important to produce content that users will see as high-quality and relevant, not what search engines will think is good.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.

How BERT Has Affected SEO

How BERT Has Affected SEO

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Google updated its algorithm yet again in 2018 with BERT. At first, it wasn’t well known how BERT would affect SEO and Google’s search rankings. However, now that BERT has been in place, the update and its effects on SEO are better understood. So, now that we have a better idea of what BERT does and how it affects search results, how does it affect SEO strategies?

What Does BERT Do?

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What BERT did was allow Google to understand the text better. Instead of looking at specific keywords, BERT helps Google to understand the entire meaning behind the sentence. Prior to BERT, Google might have had trouble with words like “to” and “for”, which don’t necessarily have much meaning on their own. By understanding what overall searches mean instead of just individual words, Google can better understand what users really mean when they make a search query.

Can You Optimize for BERT?

The short answer is no. You can’t optimize for BERT. The best way to create content for BERT is to just make high-quality content. BERT may have affected some SERP rankings, but the intent behind BERT wasn’t to punish anyone for not properly optimizing for the latest update. The idea was to better match users with the content that matches their search query.

If your site ranked highly for a particular search but it wasn’t exactly what the user was looking for, then they would click off your site more quickly, increasing your bounce rate and then lowering your ranking for that particular search. If BERT lowered your ranking for a particular search, it’s the same end result.

It also means that the users directed towards your site will be higher quality visitors who are more likely to become customers.

The Importance of Relevance

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Paying attention to relevance is more important than ever before. Many of the websites that were hurt by BERT were those who were focusing on keywords at the expense of relevance. Keywords are important, but they’re not nearly as important anymore as your content. Producing high-quality content is the best way to establish relevance in your subject.

The focus should be first on the content quality, not on the keywords. Your content should drive your keywords and what you are relevant for, rather than focusing on the keywords first. The keywords will need to match the content. Thanks to BERT that now helps Google understand better what the content is overall, you can’t rank for keywords that aren’t relevant to your content, even if they are included on the web page.

What this means is that Google will provide only the most relevant search results to users. If your content doesn’t match that, keywords or not, it won’t be at the top of the SERP. This does actually end up benefiting businesses. If users are only seeing the most relevant, high-quality content, then on the flip side of that, websites will only receive the highest-quality, most relevant visitors.

Your site would still rank for the searches that were most relevant to its content, which would, in turn, only drive relevant traffic to your website. This means a lower bounce rate and a higher conversion rate.

Need some help growing your web presence and strengthening your brand? You’ve come to the right place.