Recently Google’s Content Search algorithm changed as it relates to in-depth articles. In the August 6th Webmaster Tools blog post, they cited that 10% of searchers aren’t looking for quick answers. Instead, they are seeking more involved “learning about a broad topic.” In this post I’ll explain some of the technical SEO implications as a result of the Content Search modifications:
Google’s Content Search Evolution
Google has a mission. It wants to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible.” A lofty goal indeed. Content isn’t necessarily neatly packaged into 300-word optimized blog posts or webpages. Content can be messy. Content can hide in pdf documents. As a result, Google’s content search algorithmically looks for several signals to ferret out high-quality, in-depth pages to index. They recommend the following SEO techniques:
Schema.org Article Markup
First, let’s define what schema.org is. Previously I explained it as:
…its the data about your content that search engines can use to better categorize and display your web pages or blog posts. Schema is a fancy word for “set of types.” They are associated with a set of properties and these types are arranged in a hierarchy. Said another way, it’s a way to standardize bits of data regardless of content management system or browser platform.
This is a very advanced SEO technique. I highly recommend hiring a qualified professional to add this to your website.
As predicted, authorship is a really big deal. Social search continues to catch on. Authors who create quality content will rise in rankings. To add authorship markup to your content, you’ll need:
- A Google+ profile preferably with a high resolution headshot
- A byline containing your name on each page of your content
- To match your byline name to the name on your Google+ profile
- To verify your email address to the same domain as your content. If your email is different than your domain name, you can still match things up, but you’ll need to jump through additional hoops.
Rel=Next & Rel=Prev for Paginated Articles
This looks scarier than it really is. It’s a reference to how you break up or paginate your content. Basically there are three ways to paginate content:
- Divide a long article into shorter pages (often used by news and publishing sites)
- Break up a long list of items by product category into multiple pages (used on retail or eCommerce sites)
- Separate conversation threads in sequential URLs (used on discussion forums) Discussion
In Google’s own words, this is why you would use rel=”next” and rel=”prev” links:
to indicate the relationship between component URLs. This markup provides a strong hint to Google that you would like us to treat these pages as a logical sequence, thus consolidating their linking properties and usually sending searchers to the first page.
Compelling Content with Logo
Google search is “deaf, dumb, and blind.” It can’t really read your text or view pictures. However the bots are looking to match up like items by identifying keywords. Keyword stuffing your content will negatively affect your SEO rankings. Focus on quality content that helps your target audience. Use keywords strategically; focus on one keyword per page. Write naturally and other keywords will most likely slip in the content. We counsel our clients to always, always write for the human audience.
If you follow these best practices along with Google quality guidelines, the search engine will better understand your content. As a result, it will improve your chance of appearing in this new set of search results.
So, is your website ready for these content search algorithm changes?
How can we help?
Need help connecting Google Authorship with your WordPress website? Want to update your SEO strategy to take advantage of schema.org?
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