Jan 19

Google says: What makes a good blog post?

When you type a word or phrase into a search bar, you are actually kicking off a complicated algorithm. This calculation takes into account your location, what’s going on in the news, your spelling and countless other clues to serve up exactly what you’re thinking when you type in a search term.  It is fairly easy, for example, for search engines to determine if you’re looking for a restaurant, not a recipe, when you type in “burgers” at 12:31 p.m. on a weekday from your office computer.

How then, does the dive around the corner make sure it’s included in your results, right above that swanky new brewpub down the street?

Search engines have become immune to keyword stuffing, invisible text and referral link schemes that drove users to low-value pages, to the point that those tactics are detrimental to page rankings. Such obvious “black hat” content optimization tactics have been outdated for years at this point.

So what works?

Web content marketers have rallied around words like expert, authoritative and trustworthy to describe best practices for creating search-engine optimized content. Adjectives like those, however, can be hard to explain when it’s time for a senior partner to sit down and write a blog post.

One good gauge is Google, which recently released the factors it considers when evaluating the quality of web content. While there are other search engines out there, Google maintains 67 percent of market share. It isn’t necessarily short sighted at this point to count following Google’s guidelines among best practices for content creation.

The guidelines, which can be found in their entirety here: https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//insidesearch/howsearchworks/assets/searchqualityevaluatorguidelines.pdf, detail what the search engine looks for to determine if a page is expert, authoritative and trustworthy. I won’t drown you with an explanation of every attribute, but there are a couple of quick tricks that may help boost blog posts in search engine rankings.

To assert expertise and authority, include a short bio at the end of the post that details the years of experience, the professional history and perhaps the poster’s alma mater. A link back the the school may also be an easy way to sneak in a relevant backlink.

To assert trustworthiness, keep up the blogging. Regular posting will indicate to Google you’re invested in maintaining your web presence. Including a link to your LinkedIn profile can also demonstrate trustworthiness by “proving” you’re a real person.

It isn’t difficult to help point search engines in the direction of your website, but making a regular effort could have a significant impact in driving traffic. These simple tips can help raise not only the position of the blog post itself in search engine results, but your company’s webpage as a whole.

Erin received her bachelor’s degree in communication from Grand Valley State University and her master’s degree in organizational communication from Western Michigan University. Her decade of professional experience spans traditional and web marketing, internal communications and organizational culture. Find Erin on LinkedIn or reach her by email.

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