How Healthy is Your Content?
Nothing could be more disappointing than discovering that your content isn’t cutting it – but know that you can recover, and it is never too late to turn things around for the better. Today’s post will be about checking the health of your content, analyzing what you have right now, and planning ahead so that all your future content will be spot on.
Who is the real king?
It’s easy to say that “content is king” and it’s also easy to understand why this phrase can be problematic in certain respects. The bigger question behind this phrase should be – what kind of content is king is a question posed by seoexplode.com?
Because obviously, not all forms of content can be judged as being superior, or worthy of higher rankings when it comes to search engine results. But the things about content is that many websites still abide by the belief that the more content you churn out, the better.
This isn’t true anymore, at least from what we have observed. Quality content is catching up fast, and websites that may have more content may not necessarily be ranking high for any of their target keywords.
The key difference here is always quality, so we can rectify the old phrase: quality is king, now. By quality, we refer to content that is in-depth, of sufficient length, and provides real answers to people’s queries.
How do you measure engagement?
While Google can’t tell what people ‘do’ while they are looking at a piece of content on the web, what can be measured is the dwell time and bounce rate.
Dwell time is how long a person stays on a page before he leaves. Bounce rate technically refers to the percentage of website visitors that immediately leave after viewing just one page from a website. In the beginning, it might be nerve-wracking to see your bounce rate rising meteorically, but that’s normal: no one gets content delivery 100% right the first time.
High bounce rates coupled with ultra low dwell time is a bad combination because it shows that your content is not engaging enough to hold people’s attention for more than a few seconds. What typically happens when people just bounce when they see a page?
According to previous studies on this, the root cause of high bounce rates and low dwell times is incongruence between the content itself and the search intent. There are three types of search intent: informational, transactional, and navigational.
Information queries are from people who want to find a specific type of information to answer their question/s. Transactional searches are done when a person wants to buy something, and is more or less ready to spend some cash, whether online or offline.
Then you have navigational searches – these searches have but one purpose, and that is to navigate to a specific page. People who type “Honda official” on Google are performing navigational queries.
If someone types “buy Mitsubishi air-conditioning split type,” then that person is probably looking to purchase that model of an air conditioner. And finally, queries like “how to clean teeth effectively” are probably just looking for pure information, and are not really set or intent on buying something when they perform the search.
What about keyword research?
We all know that keyword research is essential, but how much has keyword research changed in the past twenty years of electronic search? Very much, if we would take the current algorithms being used by Google to make search results more relevant to users. Some ten years ago, people stuffed their content with long tail keywords and actually landed on the top search results.
When Google noticed that websites were gaming the system instead of providing quality content that would help them generate revenue, all these websites with low quality content were penalized heavily. They disappeared from the radar, so to speak.
According to Matt Cutts, by taking away these websites form search results, Google takes away their opportunity to make money, and this is usually sufficient motivation for website owners to change their ways – or continue suffering the consequences of not providing quality content to their users.
When you perform keyword research today, it is imperative that you keep user intent in mind. It’s not enough anymore to target keywords that have high search volume.
The long tail keywords have to correspond with what you are offering, what your intentions are in presenting the content, and what the users are actually looking for. There is also a need for disambiguation if the keywords might mean one thing in one niche, and mean differently in another.
It won’t hurt to check out which keywords are ranking high before you start drafting your content plant. By really focusing on your market and by making sure that your content plan corresponds to specific and relevant searches, you will be able to reduce bounce rates and increase the dwell time on your website. Why? Because now you are making an effort to give people what they will consider useful – and you will be rewarded naturally with higher rankings.
The main challenge here is that previously ranked content is standing in the way of your content – and this content happens to answer actual queries. If you noticed, Google has added to the carousel, and there are now plenty of questions with corresponding answers. This menu on Google can be expanded to include different variations of the same question. If you can get your content surfaced as it answers a particular question, you will be ranked above the number one ranked content, right?
How regular do you publish new content?
It’s undeniable that Google pays close attention to the date of publication of blogs and articles. And for good reason, too – people want the freshest information, and old information sometimes just won’t do. There is a charm associated with newly pressed blogs, and with this in mind, it’s imperative that you make sure that your content is published regularly, so it appears under Google’s “Latest” tab.