Content optimization: not a string

The four pillars of SEO

If you have watched any of my videos or webinars, you will hear me talking about the four pillars of SEO, which should be part of any website’s SEO strategy: Bot accessibility, relevance, authority and quality. For this article, I want to delve into the second pillar of relevance. Is the content on your page considered relevant to both the search engine and the searcher’s search query?

All searches performed by users begin with a query or “string” (that is, the word you type in the search bar). Once these words are entered into the search field, Google will evaluate all the pages in its index to determine whether they are relevant to the query entered by the searcher. Then, Google will show you the result page on the SERP (Search Engine Results Page).

But how do Google and other search engines accurately determine what is relevant and irrelevant? It all starts with the content on your web page (mostly a copy).

Screenshot 2020-12-14, 2.46.23 PMIf you start from this perspective, you will begin to better understand what Googlers usually say “just create great content.” This has nothing to do with trying to write a search engine. It is written for users, but keep the search engine in mind. Everything is to make your content have a higher topic depth and breadth-no matter who reads it.

Relevance-What does “plant” mean?

I will illustrate this with an example. If I say the word “plant”, what does it mean? This word has many different meanings. Am I talking about gardening? I have houseplants, trees, bushes or weeds in my garden-maybe this is a verb, I mean the act of planting one of these plants? Maybe I am referring to a factory. Maybe, I’m talking about spies in an organization. Without the proper context, you simply don’t know.

Now, using the same example as an example, I said “factory”, then “Detroit Michigan” and “Ford Motor Company”. You immediately understand that I am referring to a factory. Specifically, you know that I am referring to a car manufacturer. why? simple. I used other related words. These words provide greater context for the first word (or our search string).

In the “old age of search engine optimization,” you just need to place as many target keywords on the page as possible. Whoever can fill the most keywords on the page without triggering automatic or manual penalties will win – that is, rank at the top of page 1 on Google.

example: Lawyer, lawyer, lawyer

Over the years, things have become more complicated. You can’t simply reuse the same keywords-Google used this technique wisely. You must include keyword variations: singular, plural, and phrases containing the keyword. If you really want to be smart, you can add one or two synonyms.

example: Attorney New York City Attorney Attorney

Screenshot 2020-12-14, 2.50.17 PM

More content usually equals better organic ranking

Many of us have already seen ranking correlation charts. These studies show that certain factors are more or less related to higher rankings. SEMRush has a good correlation study and they are in production almost every year. In addition, in the annual research, it has always been shown that more content is closely related to higher rankings.

This has led to the creation of “giant pages”. Think that if they just put more content on the page, it will magically rank better. The company has spent countless amounts of money to simply “put more content on the page.” I suggest that Google becomes much more complicated than simply counting the words on the page. If we browse these content-heavy pages, I suspect that the reason these pages rank is because they usually contain (intentionally or unintentionally) important context on the page-greater topic depth and breadth.

The good news I’m telling you here is that you usually don’t need a page full of a thousand words. If most of your existing pages only have the depth and breadth of the topic that Google expects, then they can rank well.

Screenshot 2020-12-14, 2.51.56 PMHelp Google understand your environment

When optimizing the content, I categorize the supporting words I need into one of three buckets:

Matching words – As the group name implies, these words are synonyms or abbreviations of the target word. They essentially have the same meaning (ie match) with the main keyword and can be used interchangeably. Finding what Google thinks matches is easy. When searching for the target keywords, you will see that Google displays these words in bold on the search engine results page (SERP). In our example, we will see Google highlighting “car factory”, “car manufacturing” and “car factory” among others.

Related vocabulary- Although the first bucket contained interchangeable words, the group began to give greater meaning to the intent. These phrases sometimes contain synonyms, but not always. You can find them in Google’s “Related Searches”, “AutoComplete” and “Ask also” sections. The team tells you what to write. What the searcher is trying to learn or discover. In our example, you will find “assembly line”, “car factory near me”, or even “closed car factory”.

Common words – Finally, these words (if used alone) will not be more useful than individual keywords, but these words are words that Google believes should naturally appear in conversations about this topic. These can be found using tools such as LSI calculators. Personally, I like to use Google’s own NLP (Natural Language Processing) tools. In our example, you will get words such as “Ford Motor Company” and “Detroit, Michigan.” These two phrases alone can tell you exactly what I’m referring to, and I don’t even have to use any synonyms or related terms-this is how powerful these words are for Google.

I find that this is the key to building highly relevant content. This is more than just stuffing the page with keywords. You need to include synonyms, related phrases, and even words that now need to appear at the same time. However, always remember: this has nothing to do with trying to write a search engine. It is written for users, but keep the search engine in mind. Everything is to make your content have a higher topic depth and breadth-no matter who reads it.

Take action

At the end of this article, we have arrived. You may have learned something, but more importantly, will you use what you have learned? Now you understand what Google might mean when it says “strings instead of things” and “write great content.” Master this knowledge and put it into practice. You can use this new content optimization strategy in many places: blog posts, product pages, service landing pages, category pages, and even news releases. I recommend using the following overview to organize the process:

  1. Group your content by priority.
  2. Create a list of page lists for each group.
  3. Determine the target keywords for each page.
  4. As we discussed, study the “other words” of each word.
  5. Adjust the copy of the page and optimize it as needed.
  6. Repeat until complete.

Of course, this is not a quick and easy project, but there are few things worth doing that are quick and easy. The goal is not to have a perfectly optimized site. To be honest, since Google’s algorithm changes regularly, I’m not sure if it’s possible to have a perfectly optimized website. The goal is to be able to quantify the “big content” appearance of search engines. This is how you meet the “relevance” pillar of your SEO website strategy.

As always, if you need help with the setup or execution of this process, please feel free to contact me for help: Charles Harry Taylor ([email protected])

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