Happy Monday everyone,
Google just recently published their first SEO Mythbusting episode.
The Google Web Trends Analyst, Martin Splitt, answered some questions on what the TOP 3 SEO Factors you should focus on are.
How Google Selects The Most Relevant Pages
This was the first question asked:
“How do you know which results are more relevant to a user?”
“We have over 200 signals to do so. So we look at things like the title, the meta description, the actual content that you’ve got on your page, images, links… All sorts of things.
It’s a very complicated question to answer what ranks you best, but yeah… we look at a bunch of signals.”
The First SEO Factor – Content
This is the big question. What are the top 3 SEO Factors that are considered?
“Now if you could give me the top 3 things that I should consider, what would that be?”
“So… us being developers, originally, you probably want me to say, oh use this framework or use that framework… that’s not how it works.
You have to have really good content. And that means you have to have content… that serves a purpose for the user.
It’s something that users need and/or want. Optimally they need it and want it, like ice cream.
So, if your content says where you are, what you do, how you help me with what I’m trying to accomplish, that’s fantastic.”
This is excellent. Content that has substance, and that actually matters is typically going to be the highest ranking content.
Simply put, Google is aware that users are going to be most satisfied when seeing pages that are exact matches for what they are searching.
For example, if someone is looking for a Real Estate Website provider, Google will rank pages that are exact matches for Real Estate Website Providers.
In turn, it could be said that a point of a page is to provide information about the specific item a user is looking for.
When things are not as specific, is where it gets a little more difficult and Google has to rank things a little bit differently. It’s not easy separating yourself from keywords, to clearly see the page’s purpose. It can be difficult to unwrap your mind away from keywords to clearly see in terms of the purpose of the page.
“So, if your content says where you are, what you do, how you help me with what I’m trying to accomplish, that’s fantastic.”
Make Your Content Relevant
Martin discussed understanding what phrases users typically use when searching, and using those in content.
“So you want to make sure to serve the purpose of the people who you want to attract and get who you want to interact with your content and you want to make sure that you’re using words that I would be using.
If you use a very specific term for your ice cream… let’s say like Smooth Cream 5000… I’m not going to search for that because I don’t know about it. I’m just going to like, I need ice cream.
It’s good to mention it somewhere so that I know if I look for that trademark I find it as well.
But I’m exploring ice cream around me, I don’t know what particular ice cream there is. If there’s like a specific brand, fantastic, but that’s not what I’m looking for. So speak the language that I’m using.”
Simply put, you have to cater your content to the appropriate audience. Phrasing that only other realtors would understand is not going to be relevant for your audience.
The Second SEO Factor – Meta Data
“So content is the number one priority. Could you mention another two things that are important for this?”
“You’re going to love them because they are technical.
So the second biggest things is make sure that you have meta tags that describe your content, so have a meta description because that gives you the possibility to have a little snippet in the search results that let people find out which of the many results might be the ones that help them the best.
And have page titles that are specific to the page that you are serving. So don’t have a title for everything. The same title is bad.
If you have titles that change with the content that you are showing, that is fantastic. And frameworks have ways of doing that. So consult the documentation but there’s definitely something that helps with the content.”
There’s a certain amount of understanding that goes into constructing an effective title and meta description. If you’re using a template, automation can look very bland. As long as the content in the titles and meta description are unique then automation works great!
It’s been well understood that a meta description in itself is not a ranking factor.
It’s definitely out of the ordinary for Google to say that a meta description is a top seo factor to consider. Especially since it’s ranked above links? It’s typically understood that a meta description is not a ranking factor. Google may have made some changes.
The Third SEO Factor – Performance
Martin described performance as another important factor to consider with SEO.
Performance has long been a top factor. As a ranking factor, it was most recently described as a ranking factor that does not override other factors.
Google’s own John Mueller said this:
“…the good part is that we have lots of ranking factors. So you don’t have to do everything perfect.
But that also means that you run across situations like this where you say, Google says speed is important but the top sites here are not so fast therefore it must not be important.
So for us it is definitely important. But that doesn’t mean it kind of overrides everything else.”
This means that Google will overlook poor performance and still rank a site. They don’t want to ruin the user experience by not showing the site.
The user may be expecting to see a poor performing site, so that’s what Google will show.
“And the last bit is performance. Performance is fantastic, we’re talking about it constantly but we’re probably missing out on the fact that this is also good for being discovered online.”
“So performance isn’t just making my website faster but it’s also making my website more visible to others?”
“Correct. Because we want to make sure that the people clicking on your search result, clicking on your page, getting this content quickly. So that’s one thing that we want to make sure as well so… it’s one of the many signals that we are looking at.
But also it just helps your users, right? They get happier if I want ice cream really badly then I get the page quicker, that’s fantastic.”
Google Myth Busters Answers a Shocking Question
“Why is it so important for companies to rank like in the top results?”
To some, that question can seem extraordinarily basic. But it underlines a basic difference in understanding between those who work in SEO and those who do not. That someone involved in the web industry as a developer would ask such a question tells us that sometimes the knowledge gap between those of us in the SEO industry and those outside of it may be wider than we understand.
“It” is referring to a website
“So in order to make sure that people can use it they have to know about it… You want to be the first or first couple of because I’m not going to go to page 99 and go like oh yeah this might be the perfect thing.
Because Google and other search engines are trying to figure out what is the best for this purpose and then show me those up front.”
We encourage you to watch the entire Google Myth Busters Episode below!
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