A large part of what our clients want to better understand is, “How does quality content translate into better SEO?” Intuitively it makes sense, and if you have done any research into search engine optimization recently, you hear hear the call over and over about quality over quantity. But the question of how that leap gets made, how does quality content rises in the rankings over unremarkable content, is an interesting one. The answer is one of the cornerstones of why we invest our time into video blogging, and why you should too.
What Motivates Google?
The pace to start the discussion is to think about what motivates Google. What is their goal when returning results for a search engine query? Their goal, like your goal for your own site, is positive user experience. Why does Google control 68% of search engine traffic? Because when you search for something on Google, you are almost always pleased with what you find. Google has so developed and perfected it’s ranking algorithm that you know that when submit a search query, you will find what you are looking for – even to the point of search intent.
That goal of positive user experience drives Google to figure out what the most useful webpage on the internet most closely answers your question. And they do this by a complex series of calculations, the details of which are a closely guarded secret. But, what we do know for sure is that the sites that other people find useful Google finds valuable.
What does that mean? It means that if many people view your content and find it valuable and share it with others Google will tend to rank it higher in search results. Google has all kinds of ways to decide how engaging your content is, through Chrome usage data, through Android mobile phones, from Google to site back to Google bounce rates. But the one major area that makes a difference is how many people are willing to link from their website to your content.
Links – Not Lynx, The Medium-Sized Wild Cat
Incoming links, especially from reputable sources, help drive your keyword rankings up. The larger and more influential the source, the more impact it has on your rankings. So, if you create high quality, interesting, useful, delightful content, people are going to view it and say, “I think my viewers would also find this useful, so I am going to share it on my website.” (Fact: They might not say this verbatim, but they’re thinking it.)
So, if give you 30 seconds to think about this, your mind will quickly get to the next logical conclusion. If I can pay for Google Ads, wouldn’t I be better off to pay some shady folks to link to my content? If links are so valuable, why don’t I just buy them? Google thought of this too. (Way before you did.) And they hate it. It’s an easy way to get your site penalized, sometimes up to the point of being blown into the world of Google obscurity, never to be heard from again. Is it possible? Yes, it is. Is it advisable? No, in fact, it’s the opposite of that.
What’s The Lesson? Would You Care?
What’s the takeaway from Google’s desire to share content that other websites have vouched for and linked to? You must create content that is worth sharing. You must create content that adds value. You must ask yourself before publishing new content, “Would I share this on Facebook if I had hadn’t produced it?” And then ask yourself, “No, really, would I?” If the answer is yes, send it out into the world with your blessing. If the answer is no, reconsider. Think about ways you can make it more high quality, interesting, delightful.
Is it that simple?
So that all made sense, right? Want to complicate things? Take a watch of this TED talk by author Andreas Ekström. In it he discusses how Google search results are filtered through the personal opinions of those who write the code. Definitely worth watching. Here’s the link: The Moral Bias Behind Your Search Results
(See that? That’s a perfect example of content that provides value. And, as a result, it earned our link.)
Here is a transcript of the video:
What you need to know about Google is that it’s constantly changing, and the algorithm is updated all the time. It used to be much simpler. It used to be that you would just put on the page, the keywords that you want to rank for , and that’s all that really mattered as long as you kind of fill the holes in the right way, and had your title tag, and your heading tags, and image all tags, all correct.
These days it’s really competitive and Google has changed what it takes to rank well. The major part of what it takes to rank well is authority, website authority. So we can loosely refer to as website authority is a snapshot of how valuable the course of internet users judges your content.
So you publish a video, and you share on your social media channel, and other people see your video and say, “Hey, this is really interesting. I think the people that read my blog will also find it interesting. So when I write my next blog post I’m going to refer to this video and link to it from my blog.”
“Or this video is really funny or provocative or inspiration I’m going to share it on Facebook so that my friends will think I’m funny or inspiring or provocative.” That kind of sharing leaves a trail that the Google robots will find. When they find it, they will interpret it as valuable.
If you make a blog post about kittens wearing jackets, it’s a popular topic these days, everyone is putting jackets on their kittens. If you do that, and other people see it, and they say, “Oh, so that’s the kind jackets my kittens should be wearing.” and they share it with a friend, Google will see that and say, oh so other people think this is important, so we’re going to think it’s important.
So when people search for cats and winter jackets they’re going find you blog post because other people have found it useful and share it with their friends. So Google is going to say, this must be on topic. The goal at the end of the day for Google is to always return stuff that are useful to its viewers. The most useful things that it can share are things that really answer your questions.
So if you’re saying my cat is cold in the winter, how can I bundle them up? It’s going to find your video. So the video that we produce have to be high quality, they have to sound great, they have to look great, they have to be edited well, they have to be summarized well. They have to be posted consistently. All of these things are, well they might seem like they’re minor details, are actually really important to making the whole brand experience of your website, and the whole brand experience of your content marketing, come across as really authoritative, and important.
We don’t just want to produce videos and just pump them out and make them not great, but we want produce content that’s actually valuable to the people that watch it. So they’re more willing to watch it, and share it, and engage with it, and enjoy it, and that’s really important to the success, the long term success of your marketing efforts. It’s important to know that this content marketing campaign, I like to use the word campaign because campaign sounds like it has a beginning and an end. It’s really more of a content marketing lifestyle if you will, it’s cheesy, but it’s true because you have to do it consistently, and the more you do it, and the longer you do it, the more broad base you will build, and the more the brand you will build.