Google's secret algorithm strikes a balance between keyword relevance and content quality. What's the best approach for success?
As we've seen in previous posts, being seen in Google search results involves a lot more than just keywords. Google's ranking formula incorporates over 200 diverse factors, including popularity measures and content quality assessments. Not only that, but, order to provide the best experience for Google searchers, the algorithm changes almost daily! How can a small business like yours get a better handle on how search works, in order to decide where to focus your limited time and resources?
The first step is becoming more comfortable with the difference between keyword relevance (how closely your content matches up with customer searches) and content quality (how highly Google values your content based on its ranking factors). If you focus solely on one aspect of Google's complex algorithm, you could miss significant opportunities for optimization.
Although Google provides hundreds of pages of information and recommendations regarding how to use keywords and how to optimize content quality, it maintains secrecy over the exact relationship between the two areas of SEO in its algorithm. In my opinion, this is perfectly natural, since Google is a business and there's no reason for it to release all of its in-house, proprietary knowledge. Other search engines have their own secret recipes, and it makes sense for Google to keep its constantly evolving approach under wraps.
Nevertheless, recent statements from Google indicate that the algorithm uses both keyword relevance and quality as prime considerations, and both are strongly involved in determining where a page ends up in search results.
A lot of SEO discussions focus on keywords only, and those discussions have become widespread enough that even small businesses have begun to incorporate keyword research into their daily routine. But what about the quality side? It's important to focus just as strongly on areas that include (but aren't limited to):
Clearly, this is an ongoing conversation, with lots more to talk about. Stay tuned for upcoming posts that will focus on specific ways to strengthen the quality of your site, outside activities that will help your ranking, and insider details about how search works. In the meantime, feel free to browse the blog for more tips on SEO, copywriting, social media and marketing.
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Barbara Clavan provides copywriting, coaching and consulting services to high-growth businesses, high-profile individuals and creative entrepreneurs.
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