How to be among the lucky 10% who create searchable content, and what is a good article according to Google? As a marketer, a content writer, and a solopreneur, I’ll share some bullet-prove hints in this article.
Creators like you and me work day and night to produce content hoping readers will discover and like it.
However, recent studies revealed shocking stats — over 90% of all web pages get no organic traffic from Google.
Can you imagine that most websites are not blessed by Google’s mercy and never discovered by users online?
Finally, Admit That It’s Not About You
Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and helpful.
In other words, Google wants to serve users with the most up-to-date and relevant content at any time. Have you noticed anything written about content creators in their mission statement? No! It’s not a coincidence.
Google cares about its users, while website owners should work their asses off to reach the top Google search results.
In 2015, Google introduced a new algorithm called RankBrain. It helps Google better understand why behind users’ search intent.
Let’s imagine we have three pages ranking high for the “Apple” keyword. With the help of RankBrain, Google will measure how users interact with each of them.
If users like the displayed results and no longer conduct the exact searches again, Google might boost page ranking to make it easier to find. If not, RankBrain will sort search results again.
As a content creator, you no longer can produce content you like and hope someone will find it in one way or another.
The competition is too tight nowadays. If you want to create searchable content that is discovered repeatedly, it’s good to know Google’s best practices.
A Good Article, According to Google
What’s your goal when you search for anything on Google?
Perhaps, you want to find the answers to your questions as soon as possible. Preferably on the first search results page, without the need to open and read other pages.
You don’t want to waste your time reading long pages that webmasters eagerly put online nowadays.
You want clear, helpful, and short answers as soon as possible. Google knows about it. In fact, Google knows so many things about you and your online behavior that you can’t even imagine.
Did you know that Google works with external search quality raters to assess the quality of search results on an ongoing basis? These people help Google manually evaluate how well a web page achieves its purpose in different languages and locales.
Last year, Google conducted 383,605 search quality tests to assess websites’ quality and how well they give users what they look for.
Search quality raters worldwide follow the same Google content quality guidelines. Their work helps Google define the quality standards and goals for search algorithms.
Knowing what search quality raters take into account will help you create high-quality content. Likely, the guidelines are available online for everyone.
According to Google, the following factors are taken into account when assessing page quality.
1. The Purpose
Every web page is created for some purpose.
In most cases, people launch websites to make money online. However, there are other reasons, like these:
To educate and share helpful information with users;
To foster social discussions on forums and Q&A websites;
To inform about recent events.
According to Google, the quality of content heavily depends on its purpose.
Breaking news content quickly becomes outdated and might be irrelevant in a few days. Therefore, Google won’t display it on search. On the other hand, educational content is evergreen in many cases and can be recommended by Google over again.
What’s the purpose of your content? It matters for users and, therefore, for Google too.
2. Expertise, Authoritativeness, Trustworthiness
According to Google, high E-A-T pages should be produced by individuals or companies with expertise. Besides, they should represent a well-established scientific consensus. It is valid for expert blogs and websites that claim expertise in a particular topic.
For example, I share an expert opinion and case studies about SEO writing because I’ve worked as a marketer for years. Therefore, my experience gives me the credibility to talk about SEO.
However, what if a content creator publishes a blog post on a random topic that’s not his area of expertise? Instead, the content is solely based on his tips and life experience. Will Google consider this article “credible?”
Here is what Google writes in its content quality guidelines:
If it seems as if the person creating the content has the type and amount of life experience to make him or her an “expert” on the topic, we will value this “everyday expertise” and not penalize the person/webpage/website for not having “formal” education or training in the field.
3. The Main Content Quality and Amount
Google distinguishes the main web page content, supplementary content, and ads.
The main content directly helps the web page achieve its purpose. It is what users look for and why they come to your web page — to read your article.
Supplementary content is everything around in sidebars, menu, and footer. Users don’t necessarily need this information, but it’s still part of their online experience. It can either help them achieve their goals faster or distract them from reading your article.
Many creators cannot support their projects without monetizing their content. Therefore, various CTAs (call-to-actions), donation, and sign-up requests are often part of the main content.
If you frequently use ads and monetization methods but are afraid to be penalized for it, here is what Google says about it:
The presence or absence of Ads is not by itself a reason for a High or Low quality rating.
In other words, you can keep using ads as long as your main content delivers on the promise in the title.
4. Who Is Responsible for the Main Content
Google’s content quality assessment goes deeper than you might think.
Google takes into account the author when analyzing content. It is smart enough to find other authors’ content online and mentions.
Someone with active social media accounts and established websites will look more trustworthy for Google. Therefore, their content might automatically get a higher credit.
On the other hand, content from new creators barely reaches top search results, even if it’s better than what’s already there.
5. Website Reputation
Like the author’s authority, Google pays attention to where you publish your content.
Google trusts established and reputable websites that have been live for years. It knows who’s behind their scenes, what content they publish, and how frequently. If you post your article on a reputable website, chances are Google will consider it as of high quality.
I did an experiment last year.
I published my article on my brand new website, which has little authority and trust from Google just yet. Later, I republished the same article on this website, which is among the most reputable online platforms, according to Ahrefs domain rate.
Can you guess what happened next?
Google crawled my blog post on this blogging platform much faster than on my website.
All in all, it matters where you publish your content. A reputable website can help you boost your content performance in search.
So, what are the attributes of a good article, according to Google?
A good article should contain a high level of Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness (E-A-T), a satisfying amount of high-quality main content, including a descriptive and helpful title, and be published on a reputable site.
Even though it’s challenging to stay on top of everything, the first three points can be easily achieved when publishing a new article.
What you publish is much more important than how fast you post it.
No one will remember how long it took you to produce your piece. However, people will be talking about your content if it’s a good one.
As Steve Jobs once well-said:
“Quality is more important than quantity. One home run is much better than two doubles.”
Interested in creating content people want to read? Grab my free guide “How to Discover Popular Topics For Any country In a Few Minutes.”