‘Love is Just a Four-Letter Word”, wrote Bob Dylan in a song for Joan Baez.
Well, yes it is, technically…
But Google don’t see it that way.
Words used to matter to Google.
If you wanted to get them to notice your site and rank you highly you needed to use the right kind of words in the right order.
In the bad old days unscrupulous marketers would exploit ‘keywords’ and stuff their articles full of them to trick Google into loving their website and ranking it highly.
It seemed so simple: get the right sort of keywords in the right volume and combinations and it was like saying “Open sesame”.
New leads would pour in from Google and everyone would get rich!
But this caused a massive problem…
The internet became flooded with mindless drivel that looked useful at a glance, but had no real value.
From Google’s point of view, it spelled disaster.
Look at it this way…
When people use Google to search for help they want the most valuable information delivered to them as quickly as possible.
Let’s say you’re standing in a department store, wondering whether to buy a home cinema system.
In this situation what you want is quality reviews, not hack sites that repeat the same stuff over and over, or keyword-rich sites that offer no value.
This is why Google has upped its game.
They hired the smartest people on the planet and paid them very high wages to ensure that Internet Marketers can’t find loopholes or cheat Google into loving them.
They’re notoriously tight-lipped about what they look for in a website, looking at over 200 factors when they rank websites, most of which are a mystery.
This is why anyone who claims they can beat Google is deluded or lying.
Besides, even if they really have cracked the code, it doesn’t last long.
Every year or so the famous ‘Google slap’ will happen…
This is where Google suddenly tweak their criteria with the result that many websites lose their traffic overnight.
Google can now spot spam sites, keyword-stuffed sites, clichéd marketing sites, jargon-heavy sites, duplicate sites and plagiarised sites.
They will rank you highly only if you’re an authentic business that genuinely offers help… and NOT because you’ve been on hundreds of SEO courses and cracked the code.
So yes, words used to matter.
But they’re just not enough anymore…
Google now love websites that use all kinds of words in all kinds of complex orders and combinations.
The more varied and interesting, the more Google will see you as a useful website and not some bland, identikit, plagiarised robot-written spam chowder.
More importantly, if you help people solve real problems and reach real goals, your website visitors will trust you.
And trust is the first building block of a relationship that will eventually end in a sale.
So here are 5 tips for making sure Google love your blog posts.
1. Forget keywords – offer real help
Google only cares that you’re providing genuine help to people searching online.
So think about your ideal customers.
What’s motivating them? What deep problems do they want to solve? And how can your blog posts offer genuine help? Use keywords to identify what it is that your readers are looking for in the first place. SEMrush‘s free keyword tool is a great place to start.
2. Be personal
Google is making hard for spammers, scammers and fly-by-night marketers to jam the system… and easier for unique, original, interesting blog posts to shine through.
So be yourself and you will win out over robotic, machine-like, corporate content. Better hooks, better flow and a more conversational style throughout will keep readers reading right to the end and longer page visits = higher Google rankings.
3. Go mobile
Make sure your website is mobile friendly. If your blog posts are slow to load and difficult to read or watch on a mobile, this will not only affect your prospects’ experience of your content and drive them away, but it will also make you less appealing to Google.
4. Make it shareable
The more your blog posts get shared, the better. It won’t necessarily shoot you up Google’s rankings right away, but you’ll get traffic from people sharing your links on networks like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
So make sure it’s easy to share your blog posts on social networks. WordPress allows you to easily add ‘share’ buttons to your posts.
5. Make it actionable
To be useful, your content should to be actionable. So try and get your blog post reader to:
• Click onto another blog post
• Sign up for email alerts
• Follow you on social media
• Share your post on their networks
• Comment on the post
• Email you directly
• Take action (follow your tips, advice, recipe, instructions)
• Download a report, eBook, blueprint or sample
The more time the user spends navigating your site, clicking on links to internal pages and sharing your content, the more Google takes note. These are all markers that your site is an authority site providing valuable content that people enjoy and Google will reward you for it.
This is something we’re going to cover more and more on Digital Upstart, so make sure you keep checking back for updates.