SEO: Content and Links is King to better Search Result Ranking.

If you’re a business owner, and are not showing up well in search results, you ask “how do I get better ranking”. Google has become the goto source for all things internet, and they control and update the factors that are keeping you from ranking well. In the old days to rank well, all it took was adding some keywords to your website, and making sure you had a good website. Those factors have changed!

What Google recently said:

Here's what Google Dublin's Andrey Lippatsev said on March 23, 2016. Ammon Johns asked Andrey what the two most important ranking factors are:

Andrey Lippatsev: Yes. Absolutely. I can tell you what they are. It is content and links going into your site.

There we go! Straight from Google, it's Links and Content that are the two biggest factors for ranking better on search results pages!

Now, should we think of the internet world as consisting only of these two factors? It's quite simple, and possibly too much so. Let's try to simplify this a little more. How many organizations would dramatically improve their SEO if they focused on creating great content and promoting it effectively? I can tell you that from our experience these are two things that many organizations simply DO NOT DO!

What is Great Content Exactly?

There are 3 major pieces that really matter in creating great content: 

  1. Relevancy 
  2. Quality 
  3. The overall content experience

If the content is not relevant to a query, it shouldn't rank for that query, ever! The notion of quality is “Does it provide the information that people are looking for? Is that information relatively unique to your site?” It makes sense for the quality of the content to matter a lot. You need to create something new and compelling that also offers a lot of value. That may not be easy, but being the best at something never is.

If you're in a competitive market, like contractors and real estate, it's reasonable to assume that your top competitors are making great relevant content on topics that matter to their target audience. For the most important queries, it's probable that the top 5 pieces of content in that space are really, really good (i.e. more comprehensive than other articles on the topic, or brings in new information that others don't have).

Content experience is a little more tricky on making great content. It is composed of: 

  • Is your content well-organized and easy to read? 
  • Does it effectively communicate its key points? How do people engage with it? If they land on a page on your site that has the answer to their question, can they quickly and easily find that information?

You’ll find that the major competitors that rank in the top of the SERPs all handle this pretty well too.

Now, we cannot forget about basic website format. You still need title tags, heading tags, use of synonyms, page layout and design. Those are all either part of creating higher-quality content, or making that content easier to consume.

Why do links get separate treatment?

Links are important for two reasons: 

  • They’re still the best measurement of authority. 
  • The power of links should cause different actions on your part.

What is that action? It's called marketing. Within that discipline is the concept of content marketing. Done the right way, these are things you should do to raise the reputation and visibility of your brand. No doubt, part of attracting great links is to produce great content, but there are other overt actions involved to tell the world about that great content, such as social media.

What does all of this mean?

Make your content, and the experience of consuming that content, unbelievably good. That's step one. Don't cop out on the effort to make your content stand out. You have no choice if you want to get positive results from SEO that sustain and stick.

Don't forget the overall site and page usability. This is a big part of what makes your content consumable and a critical part of making great content. Also stay engaged by looking and analyzing user engagement. This provides a critical feedback loop into what you're doing, and whether or not it's working for your target audience.

Then your focus should turn to marketing that will help drive your reputation and visibility, and help attract links to your content. Here it is in a nutshell:

If your content isn't competitive in relevance and quality, links won't help. If it is, links will make the difference.

Your content has to be elite to have a chance to score highly on any given competitive search result. After that, your superior marketing efforts will help you climb to the top of the heap.