Several times a year, Google makes significant and broad changes to their search algorithms and systems. These ‘core updates’ are designed to ensure Google is delivering on their mission to present relevant and useful content to searches. Whilst the latest instalment has gone under the radar, the updates are a pretty big deal, with many websites having lost rankings, engagement and revenue as a result. So, what are the latest changes and how will they affect how we produce content?
At YS, we’ve pulled together a checklist of questions to ask yourself in the new year, focused on Google’s key factors needed to create killer content in 2021.
The quality check
- Is your content original? Whether it be the main body, research, or analysis, the question is; is your content providing unique information of value that can’t be found elsewhere?
- Is your description of the topic comprehensive? Responsible for creating specialist content, we naturally acquire expertise in our field, but your readers won’t always have the context and background that you do. They’ve searched the topic in an attempt to find out more – by ensuring you have a clear and complete description, you’ll keep them engaged and on the site for longer.
- Does your content draw on other sources, without copying? Many businesses are guilty of replicating content that already exists. While incorporating secondary sources and backlinks can strengthen your content, simply rehashing existing sources will take away the value and originality of the piece.
- Does the title provide a helpful summary? Ensure your title relates to the content as accurately as possible. If it doesn’t, this may indicate to Google that the main body has gone off track, or frankly, is too ‘waffly’.
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark or recommend to a friend? This is a great question to ask yourself. If you wouldn’t read it, why should anyone else?
The expertise check
- Is the content written by someone who clearly knows the topic well? If you’re a small to medium sized business, your team will be full of people with fantastic insight which you can leverage into content. Think about asking them to write a blog every so often – the authority of your site will be elevated significantly.
- Is it free of factual errors? Checking your facts is key. Information that can be easily disproved will significantly impact the credibility of your content.
- Would you trust the content? It’s also important to ensure your content is presented in a way that appears trustworthy with clear sources and background information about the site, such as backlinks to the about page.
- Is your site a well-trusted authority on its topic? Be sure to create content that reflects your strengths as a business. A great way to do this is to ensure your content can be linked directly to a product page or service you offer.
The presentation check
- Is the content free from spelling mistakes? Take the time to typo your content, or ask others in the team to give it a final once over. This is a vital step and too often overlooked.
- Was the content produced well, or does it appear rushed? While deadlines often mean we have to work quickly, content marketing isn’t just about putting something subpar out there for the sake of driving traffic or getting more clicks. Taking the time to write unique content that truly serves the interests of your reader will make all the difference.
- Is the content mass-produced or spread across a large network of sites? If this is the case, it can appear spammy.
- Is the main content interrupted with ads? Ads will interfere with the flow of the content and distract readers so it’s a good idea to minimise this as much as possible.
- Does the content display well on mobile? Visitors from mobile devices are increasing year on year. To ensure your content stays relevant, it’s a must that your site displays well on desktop and mobile.
The comparison check
- Is your content better than what else is out there? This is arguably the most important question. If you know there is better content out there being produced by your competitors, think about why it’s better, and how you could top this. Often, it is a case of communicating what really makes your business unique and getting to the heart of your brand message.
For those of us generating content everyday, it can be easy to forget that it’s purpose is to serve the genuine interests of visitors to the site, rather than attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines. Carefully formed content provides value to your audience by solving their problems and in doing so, it positions you as the Go-To for your particular area of expertise.
By asking yourself the questions above and by asking others who you trust, to give an honest assessment of each piece that you produce, the quality of your content will be improved remarkably. If you’ve noticed some of your pages drop in search ranking, consider looking closely at these questions to understand why and how you can improve.
At YS, our goal is to maximise the value of your content to engage and re-engage your audience, bring new customers to your business and help get your message out there.
Whether you’re looking to build and maintain a blog for your brand, drive traffic through ranking across core terms or get the message out through press, social and distributed marketing YOURS . SINCERELY can help.
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