Search engine optimization (SEO) is a strategy focused on growing your visibility in non-paid or organic search engine results.
The goal is to employ various SEO strategies to position yourself better in search engines and thus increase traffic to your website.
When it comes to SEO value, it is not just about keywords and other tricks; the quality of your content is pivotal.
Have you ever wanted to know how effective your SEO skills are?
Or how to measure the SEO value of the content you post?
Keep scrolling to find your answers.
All image sources: https://pixabay.com
How does Google define quality content?
To evaluate the SEO value of posts you publish, you have to understand how Google defines the quality of content.
While Google changes algorithms all the time, they are straightforward about their definition of high-quality content.
Webmaster Guidelines dictate that content should be made for users, not search engines. Also, quality content doesn’t deceive users.
And it avoids tricks intended to improve search engine rankings.
Ideally, content should be informative, engaging, unique, and valuable. If you want to enhance the quality of your content, then Google advises to avoid the following tactics/practices:
- Automatically generated content
- Hidden text or links
- Irrelevant keywords
- Participating in link schemes
- Publishing little to no original content
- Scraped content
What most people don’t know is that Google hires humans to manually analyze sites for quality using quality-rating guidelines.
Contrary to popular belief, Google doesn’t utilize some software that automatically rates content. Rather, Google employs a small army of raters who identify quality and report their findings to Google.
In fact, the search engine uses these findings to adjust their algorithms. This means they stress more importance on the quality of content; the solid foundation for optimal SEO value.
Multiple factors play a role in SEO value. Scroll down to see how to evaluate them.
Size matters, at least in the content you publish online. While quality is crucial, the length of your posts has a major impact on SEO value as well.
Back in time, the optimal value content length was 250 words. Then, the number jumped to 500. Trends change all the time, and so do optimal word counts.
Content plays a big role in social media marketing, but there is no one size fits all rule here. While optimal length does exist, the size of your article depends on content goals.
According to the research by SnapAgency, the optimal content length in 2017 is 1000 words. For high competition and heavy hitters, blog posts containing 2500 words give the best results.
In fact, they recommend publishing 1000-words-long posts regularly and throwing in a 2500-words long post occasionally.
To most people, short posts seem more convenient because they assume visitors don’t like to read long articles. Bear in mind that quality is crucial.
If you publish a high-quality article that is informative, educational, and engaging, then you’ll catch the reader’s interest, and he/she will keep reading.
Google considers short posts – those with 300 words or fewer- as thin content and they don’t provide enough SEO value.
When publishing an article, always ask yourself whether it has a purpose or if it brings value to your audience.
SEO value and readability
One of many factors that influence the SEO value of your content is its readability. It is not enough to write an informative article only. It has to be easy to read and understand.
A visitor to your blog/website shouldn’t search different terms in Google just to understand what you just wrote.
Besides easy understanding, it is important to ensure that content doesn’t contain spelling and grammatical errors.
This isn’t shocking! Spelling mistakes and poor grammar have a major impact on the credibility of content.
To avoid these mistakes, you can use different tools and platforms that identify and help you correct mistakes or allow you to improve readability.
Earning and building links
After the release of the Penguin update, Google harshly penalized all those who engaged in practices of using spammy tactics to create backlinks and thus manipulate search results.
That being said, navigational and inbound links matter when you are trying to assess the SEO value of your content. In this case, bear in mind that quality always beats quantity.
To get the maximum SEO value from your content marketing strategy, you should link to external pages that are reputable and trustworthy.
A person who clicks on the link doesn’t want to deal with porn websites, annoying pop-ups, scams, or websites that add no value to the information they read.
The external links you use should be helpful, informative and relevant, just like your article. This only adds credibility to you and the content you post.
Furthermore, linking to the pages within your website enhances content indexing and directs search engines and readers toward the most relevant information or content on your website.
Go to your website and check the links you’ve used. Modify them to match these criteria and you will enhance the SEO value of those articles instantly.
Keywords are a vital component of SEO. This is why it is not uncommon for people to keep entering irrelevant expressions or phrases, thinking they can still boost their rankings in this way.
Just like with every other aspect of good SEO, quality matters. Ideally, you should keep keywords in mind during the writing process to ensure a natural flow.
If you write your article and then try to add keywords, it may disturb the flow and affect the quality of the text.
You don’t want those keywords to seem way too obvious; they should fit naturally in the article.
When choosing keywords, make sure they really reflect your ranking ability.
What does this mean?
Let’s say your website is relatively new and you’re just trying to get more people to notice it. SEO is vital here, and so are the keywords. But it is the wrong approach to choose keywords with a high level of competition.
Although it seems unfair, those older, more successful websites and businesses have an SEO advantage at this point. And you have to work your way up to that level.
Choose keywords whose search volume is at a high level, but less competitive.
Before you enter the keyword, take a few moments to think about the intent behind the term. The purpose of the keyword is to attract more traffic, but you don’t want just any traffic.
Your goal is to attract target demographics – an audience that will keep coming back.
When evaluating the SEO value of your content, you should go through keywords you’ve used and analyze whether they add value to the content or not.
The headline is the first thing that people see when they come across your content. The choice of a title can make or break your chances for search engine ranking or website traffic.
While the title should never be misleading (nobody likes “click bait”), it should still seem interesting enough to make someone click on the link and read the text.
Also, headlines help tell Google what your website is all about and play a role in good or bad search engine ranking.
Titles need keywords too, but they shouldn’t be random. Ideally, the keyword should be placed within the first 65 characters of the title.
The reason is simple; first 65 characters are the place where Google cuts the headline off on a results page.
What if the title is long? In that case, place the keyword at the beginning to ensure it’s not excluded from the search engine results.
Go to your website’s or blog’s dashboard and check the titles of your previous posts. Are keywords in the right place?
Correct the mistakes and strive to include them within the first 65 characters in your upcoming posts too.
Google and other search engines take a look at your content’s URL to get a better understanding of what your article is about.
That’s why it’s always a great idea to enter a keyword in the URL as well. When doing so, you should remove dates, categories, and other unimportant details that make the keyword less noticeable.
Make sure the URL is easily noticeable and the keyword understandable so that Google can quickly determine whether your post would match an average person’s search.
Now when you are evaluating the SEO value of your posts and learning how to enhance it in future articles, don’t forget to analyze the URLs, too.
Other things to evaluate/improve
- Optimize images by using keywords in file names, titles, alt text, and captions
- Reduce image size to make sure the page loads faster – another factor that influences SEO value
- Share a video that complements the topic
- See how much organic traffic your content drives
- On-site engagement
Digital marketing revolves around high-quality content and your SEO strategy.
To make sure you’re going in the right direction, evaluate the SEO value of the content you post. Analyzing SEO skills is incredibly easy and it comes with high rewards – better search engine results.
I sincerely hope that you will use the tips and tricks from this post to enhance the SEO value of your articles and other pieces of content.
And when you do, let us all know how you got on by dropping a comment below. 🙂
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Stevan Mcgrath is a digital marketing professional who possesses expertise in brand design and development. Stevan is passionate about utilizing his diverse skill sets for new and innovative online marketing strategies. He has worked as a freelancer and a contributor to ProvenSEO. Despite having a wide influential reach, he seeks client satisfaction as his topmost priority. He also writes blog posts on recent digital marketing trends. To know his work and more details you can follow him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.