The Missing Link?
As you may have heard, back in 2015 Google announced RankBrain, important news related to SEO. RankBrain, put simply is the machine learning algorithm that makes their search engine tick. Google’s version of Skynet uses artificial intelligence to connect your search terms with content that it thinks best matches what your intentions are.
When Google launched RankBrain there was much speculation as to what it all meant to organic search results. We believed the algorithm update changed how it learned “search intent” from actual searches; meaning the machine was learning what searchers were asking and delivering relevant results. For years now, we’ve inferred there are two major factors in organic search (SEO): links and content. Even with the RankBrain launch, Google wouldn’t confirm or deny any specifics. Now… last week they actually made a statement… sort of.
Two Google Ranking Factors Explained
Okay, so perhaps it isn’t the biggest surprise in the world, but Google still places a large amount of value on the number, and quality, of links coming into your site. If you skip to about 30 minutes into the video linked above you’ll hear Andrey Lipattsev, a Senior Search Quality Strategist reiterate the importance of building good links to your site.
If you want more detailed information about what good link building is, have a look at our description of healthy link building practice. But in a nutshell, links are exactly what you think: links to your website from another domain. For links to help your SEO, they should be from a relevant, credible website, one that is related to your industry and/or related to the content on your website.
While this might not be groundbreaking news, having it confirmed by Google as one of the top three things they consider, will help put many SEOs’ and Marketing Executives’ minds at rest.
Is (Being) Content Enough?
Following on, quickly behind links in their level of importance, is the content of your website itself. Again, not exactly mind-blowing news. But having it officially confirmed helps refocus your efforts on something that is entirely in your own hands to influence. While creating a productive link building program can take time, and often requires dedicated resources, improving the content on your site is in everyone’s wheelhouse.
Content marketing, has emerged as its own marketing strategy, but it’s importance to SEO sometimes needs to be reinforced. While making high quality, engaging content for your prospective customers or clients is brilliant, it is integral you don’t also view what you are creating through your SEO filter. Writing a flowing and engaging blog post on a topic is useful in itself, but if you forget to use a search phrase (e.g., keyword), or don’t bother filling out the meta description, you’re missing out on valuable SEO juice!
The Holy Trinity
So, the big news is; Not much has changed when we’re talking about Google ranking factors, really. Focus on building high-quality links to your site and build great content. These two things work together and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Great content gets shared, and shared content gets links. At least now you can sleep at night without worrying if you’re missing something!
If you’re interested in reading more about, check out our blog post on Common Link Building Mistakes, or if you’d like some tips on building engaging content, then have a look at our Content Ideation Guide.
How can we help?
What do your links and content say about your site’s SEO? What does your data say in Search Console?
We are Spectrum Group Online, and we offer strategic and tactical consulting so you can monetize your online presence. Call us for a complimentary 30-minute consultation to discuss your website’s user experience and translate that into sales.