In the ever-evolving industry that is digital marketing, this era has ushered in a stricter set of guidelines at the hands of Google, which forces webmasters and digital marketers to stay on their nimble toes. As best practices are updated, Google's aim is to create a level playing field for all parties involved. In this post, we're going to shed some light on the criteria that allows on-page content to be classified as "quality content," as well as some common mistakes that come along with a sometimes imperceptive attempt to optimize your web pages.
Composition & StructureIt's important to note the spectrum of quality guidelines that Google takes into consideration when evaluating the relevancy, layout, and device compatibility of content on a webpage. Since the advent of Google's Panda algorithmic update, and most notably the latest update that rolled out in January of this year, there is an even greater emphasis to reward and/or penalize the content quality on a web page.
RelevancyContent that is constituted as "relevant" means that the information provided satisfies a searchers' intent. Achieving this means that digital marketers have to ensure that they keep a few key factors on their radar when composing the content of a web page. The information that you provide to visitors should deem you a credible source and should quickly answer the following question: "What information do I want to find here?" On a static web page, the information should be evergreen, meaning that the content shouldn't hold an expiration date. The page copy should reflect meaningful content that is written for the user and not the search engine. Adhering to this practice will engage the curiosity and interest of the visitor, which will subsequently garner more traffic. Content should also be unique. Substantiating your brand with information that a visitor can't find elsewhere will position you as a credible thought leader in your industry. Unfortunately, it's fairly common that we find duplicated content, which is defined as information that is mirrored on more than one URL, either within the same domain or across multiple domains. The practice of this tactic may have negative implications as search bots will crawl and index these pages and not understand which page is most relevant to present on the search engine results pages (SERPs). As a result, Google will be forced to choose. However, if Google believes that your aim is to be manipulative to their ranking algorithm, then your page rankings may be adversely impacted, or your site may be removed from Google's indices entirely.
LayoutHow content is presented on a page is also indicative of the type of user experience a visitor will have once they reach your page. Exploring various layout considerations will help webmasters and marketers gauge the placement of their most valuable information. Too often, when evaluating the structure of a web page, we find that the 'above-the-fold' segment is wasted real estate providing little to no value to users. The area is either populated with distracting ads or just blank space. Placing pertinent information (ie: value propositions) above-the-fold is critical in terms of functionality and user-engagement. A user should not have to scroll down to understand the scope of the page. Incorporating bullet points to quickly outline pieces of content will aide in the readability of a content piece. Users who have to read through a sea of long paragraphs are more likely to lose their attention, and ultimately click away from the page.
Device CompatibilityAs more and more users are engaging with webpages via smartphones or tablets, it's critical to ensure that your website is responsive. Content should be equally optimized and render properly within every screen size, whether it be desktop, tablet or mobile devices. Avoidance of this practice will result in a poor user experience and eventual site abandonment.
DiversificationAs a means to keep content fresh and enticing, it's important to craft a variety of content types that will tell your story as opposed to an over-saturation of text. In an age where digital content is ubiquitous and information is accessible with just a mere click, content should be as visually appealing and shareable as possible. Below are a few examples of content variation that, if implemented, will keep your web pages, and thus brand, top-of-mind for qualified viewers.
InfographicsInfographics are a great method to providing useful and vibrant information that is packaged neatly and represented in a visually pleasing manner. For loads of content and data that could otherwise be lost in translation, infographics will organize and communicate a topic in one easily digestible visual that might include a variety of charts, graphs and/or maps.
VideosDepending on your marketing strategy, leveraging video content can be a rewarding alternative that can build a greater sense of trust and credibility in the eyes of your viewers. For that instant gratification experience, videos can be developed to offer a behind-the-scenes look into the operation of a business, tutorials, case studies, demonstrations, testimonials, etc.
WhitepapersThis form of downloadable content serves an effective purpose when it comes to providing detailed pieces of information that help your prospects understand your core offerings that they actually might not find on a static page. A whitepaper can serve as a 'guide' that will uncover the scope of your business with an in-depth approach through proven data and analyses that will resonate with your readers as they make their purchasing decisions.
Keyword IntegrationDeveloping the right collection of keywords is a crucial component to any marketing campaign. In fact, the fundamental task of keyword research is the building block of a marketing campaign and serves to inform many SEO tactics that will subsequently unfold. Targeting the right keywords is essential to building your online presence and exposing your web pages to the right audience. The following types of keywords are those that are commonly used among marketers:
- Branded - Semantic variations of a keyword that always include the brand name.
- Geo-Targeted - Keywords that include a specific location denoted by a city, region, neighborhood etc. and are imperative to local rankings.
- Market Defining - Phrases that are influenced by your target audience to reflect your business or industry and are usually broad in composition.
- User-Centric - Specific keywords informed by the language and inquiries that your audiences uses.
- Product/Service - Plain and simple these are the keywords that describe the product and/or services that you sell, brand name included, if applicable.