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Every business owner or blogger wants their site to rank high in Google search results. Today, if you want to be noticed you need to be visible when your target audience uses the search engine to find information on something which you already have on your site.

Your position in the search results depends on a multitude of factors; keywords held the most weightage. But after the 2011 Panda updates, that is no longer the case.

Now, it’s quality that determines rank.

Posts that are “high quality” is rewarded with a boost in ranking and consequently a boost in traffic. “Thin sites” with poor, replicated content bursting with strings of keywords, ads and embedded internal links are no longer preferred. Panda is updated frequently catching sites which may have escaped the previous update.

To climb up the Google rankings ladder, you need to employ “best practices” outlined by the search engine giant in the content of your site. We’ll explore three dimensions of an effective content marketing strategy: keywords, user experience and content.

Keywords

The algorithm behind Google understands what your website is about by catching keywords embedded within the site. To attract your target audience, your keywords should be relevant. Ask yourself what the website provides, and what kind of people it caters to. Whether it is targeted to locals or international visitors is also important in determining the right keywords.

Keywords can be highly competitive. For this there are is wide variety of software tools online to help you choose keywords with lower competition and higher ranking. A great tool is Moz’s Keyword Difficulty tool. According to it’s product description, it lets you “find out how difficult it is to rank for a specific term or phrase and who you’ll be competing against.” By mixing up different words, you’ll eventually find a more suitable keyword with low competition and high traffic.

User experience

Google aims to deliver search results which provide the best user experience. You website should be easy to navigate and be able to be “crawled” by Google. With the ever-growing internet user base on smartphones and tablets, a mobile-friendly site has become very important.

A while ago, Google recommended that sites use a responsive web design which optimizes the site for both desktop and mobile. Now, however, it is no longer a choice as it is now required by Google to be included in search results. An algorithm update known as Mobilegeddon eliminates sites without a reposinve design from search results.

A great tool to view your website across different device browsers is Browsershots. It lets you spot any problems your site might be having on a certain platform, so that you can adjust it.

Content

Good and informational content creates loyalty and drives traffic to your site. Poor quality content stuffed to the brim with keywords is not going to leave visitors wanting to come back. Google shuns websites with “thin content” and through its periodic panda updates is committed to clearing out such sites from search results.

A good content marketing strategy focuses on delivering high quality content with useful information. If you are overwhelmed or just unclear what exactly defines good content according to Google’s standards, then invest in a good software program to help you. A good one is HubSpot SEO which analyzes your content and gives suggestions in line with Google’s policies for ranking.

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