Google’s newest guidelines stress quality content

Steven Clayton, CEO and founder of NetBlaze Search engine optimization (SEO), as businesses have come

Steven Clayton, CEO and founder of NetBlaze

Search engine optimization (SEO), as businesses have come to know it, is dead. It essentially dies and is reinvented several times a year, along with Google’s significant algorithm changes.

The May 2020 Core Update, which gives more weight to Google’s Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T) principles, was the latest disruptor to SEO.

According to Google, core updates are defined as “significant and broad changes to search algorithms and systems.” The company introduced E-A-T as guidelines for its human search quality raters. Subsequently, it published these guidelines to “help webmasters understand what Google looks for in a web page.”

With Google’s May 2020 Core Update making E-A-T a more significant ranking factor, businesses will need to focus their websites on adapting to these new algorithmic requirements. Business websites that are E-A-Ting right focus on the following.

Quality content

Google’s latest core update makes content king. As such, developing high-quality, user-friendly content is critical for establishing the expertise, authority and trust that can boost a website in the search rankings. Businesses need to build web content assets that feature experts, demonstrate knowledge, are relevant to their audience and convey clear, updated and useful information.

Google provides a list of questions that can help organizations assess the quality of their content, including:

  • Does the content provide original information, reporting, research or analysis?
  • Does the content offer a substantial, complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
  • Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
  • Does the headline and/or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  • Does the headline and/or page title avoid being exaggerating or shocking in nature?
  • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?

Google notes that assessing content in terms of E-A-T criteria “may help align it conceptually with the different signals that its automated systems use to rank content.”

It is also a good idea to evaluate all web content assets and eliminate thin content with low word counts and low-quality or shallow pages that offer little or no added value to user experience.

Active social presence helps with SEO

Social media can help a brand amplify content, which is king under the new Google algorithms. Quality content that engages the audience to like, share, click and comment on can result in more backlinks, which helps with SEO. Social media profiles can also help brands display trustworthiness, one of the three pillars of E-A-T.

Businesses can focus on maximizing their company’s presence on social media platforms by frequently asking customers to be followers of company pages and developing a regular cadence of posting so that their company remains visible.

SEO and reputation management

Google’s algorithms factor in reviews in SEO rankings, assessing the trustworthiness that is another crucial component of E-A-T. The imperative here for businesses is to become laser-focused on increasing and improving reviews. As part of this focus, businesses should keep an eye on company ratings on sites such as Google Places, Facebook, Yelp and Tripadvisor and aim to have between 5-10 reviews with an average score of 4.5 stars or higher. It is also important to note that, in reputation management, it is not only critical for a business to have reviews posted; it is just as vital to respond to these reviews.

Citations

Google’s algorithm uses citations to verify the existence, legitimacy and trustworthiness of a business. Citations referencing a business’s name, address, and phone number (NAP) online across many relevant and trusted websites signal to Google’s algorithm that the business exists and is a key ranking factor for local SEO.

There are many business directories and other sites where citations can appear. Some of the major directories include:

  • Facebook
  • Apple Maps
  • Yelp
  • YellowPage

Choosing the right directories and ensuring that business information is updated and accurate is important to local search rankings.

Google will continue to roll out new algorithms to fulfill its mission of organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible and useful. Businesses must lay to rest outdated SEO strategies and reinvent them repeatedly to adapt these strategies to the next major algorithm update.

NetBlaze is an online platform for small businesses.

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