Whether or not you agree with the phrase ‚Content is king‘ in every context, in terms of SEO it has always been right. What is it that people are looking for when they type „how to get rid of fruit flies?“ or „who was king arthur?“ They look for some form of information to answer that question in the best, most informative way.
Only content (whether it is in form of text, video, or audio) can do that. No matter how perfect your site structure, how big your advertising budget or well known your brand is, if you don’t have excellent content, you will not rank high in the SERPs. Period. But a lot has changed since 1998 when Google took on to be the world’s leading search engine.
The old days of SEO
Back then Google’s way of creating the best list of websites to suit our needs was extremely simple. It took the search term and compared it one to one with the words on a web page.
If the search term came up multiple times in the text of a page the algorithm flagged the page as authoritative and gave it a good ranking. If there was another webpage that had the search term even more times included on it, Google’s algorithm would think that page was even more authoritative and ranked it higher.
After SEO marketers found that out and stuffed as many keywords onto a page as possible. Google needed to find a new way of determining the authority of a website. That was when backlinks came into play.
Now the game was not just about keywords, but also about having as many links referring to your site from other websites as possible. Because just like in the real world, you would trust a car mechanic more to repair your car if your friend recommended him, right?
But that game was about to get rigged really quickly as well. Links were bought and private blog networks were created by the millions just to fake backlinks. And it worked!
Google yet had to find another way to determine a website’s real authority by coming up with even more ranking factors, and SEO increased in complexity more and more. Some new ranking factors where dwell time, bounce rate, exit rate and many many more.
Why we’re entering a new era of SEO in 2019
But it was a cat-and-mouse game. Google had to increase algorithm updates from once a few in the year to literally weekly ones. It got so absurd that Google invented metrics like link velocity to observe linking trends and penalize websites that would grow backlinks too fast for their reputation.
Additionally voice search was invented, and the search terms changed from simple „president usa“ to „who is the president of the united states right now„. A major game changer because both ways to enter your question could have the exact same intention by the user.
But how do you know the real users intent? To do that Google shifted from just measuring metrics to far more sophisticated techniques.
Google started hiring people just to look at webpages and estimate their relevance. Additionally RankBrain was invented to let AI (Artificial Intelligence) and deep learning do parts of the ranking work.
What RankBrain does is predicting how well a given piece of content would suite the users needs by running it through a highly sophisticated algorithm that is based on a myriad of historical data and rank it accordingly.
Past user experiences and behaviour is playing a big role in those estimations, and not just pure static signals like before. That means that SEO isn’t a simple math’s game anymore. As a content creator you need to consider human factors for your optimization tactics.
Optimize for humans, not for search engines
In the most recent update Google really cracked down on the spammy backlinks and a ton of websites had yet another heavy hit to take. So the times for faking your way up in the rankings is as good as over. What you really need nowadays is high quality content that really gets the users intent and offers the most value.
Since a lot of the competition is not willing or not able to create great content – whether because they just don’t care, or because they have no idea what they are talking about – this is somewhat of the golden era of great content and white-hat SEO.
It’s the time for well written, niche specific and highly relevant content that serves the users needs, not just the search engines rules. Content has become superior over the king, it has become god.
Your content reflects your E A and T
So what can we do if we cannot ‚game‘ the system anymore? We can be good in what we claim we are good at! If you have started a blog about Wine, don’t just write about Wine. Become the leading expert in Wine!
Go to Wine-Meetups and connect with people, get certificates, give talks on Wine and be known for your expertise. This will lead to a great deal of authority in your field, and Google will register that.
Write an excellent About-Page, embed youtube videos of yourself, bandy your credentials around (but don’t fake stuff!), and build high levels of trust with people.
Then, after you have become the thought leader in your niche, you’ll be able to write extremely in-depth articles with it’s very own spin, lot’s of value and many valuable information for people.
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