Google’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” according to Google. It’s a giant task, but Google doesn’t do it alone.
Google organizes that information using an algorithm. The information comes from content created by online publishers and businesses. Search engine optimization professionals (SEO’s) and web-savvy businesses help make that information accessible and useful for Google, which in turn makes it accessible for everyone who searches on Google.
What does Google get?
Google gets loyal users like you that depend on Google to provide you with all the information and content you could ever possibly search for. Oh, and ad dollars. It’s hard to rank highly on Google, especially for commercial and competitive keywords. The companies that aren’t ranking – or want even more potential customers – will advertise using Google Adwords. That’s how Google makes money and why it’s in Google’s best interest to improve the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). In turn, everyone’s experience on the web improves.
How SEO impacts everyone
“A rising tide lifts all boats.”– An expression often attributed to John F. Kennedy
In other words, when SEO’s optimize their sites based on Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and the Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines they impact everyone’s experience on the web. Even Google talks about how our Quality Raters make Search results better.
Why is SEO an important digital marketing tactic?
Organic search generates the most web traffic.
Organic Search remains the dominant source of trackable web traffic and– BrightEdge Research
in the dominant position as a channel. Paid Search continues to grow.
Organic Social Media is flat since 2014 at 5%, and though ubiquitous,
contributes on average 1/3 as much traffic as Paid Search and just 1/11
as much as Organic Search.
Now that you see the benefits of SEO from an online marketing standpoint, here are a few common SEO tactics that also help improve everyone’s experience on the web.
1.) Create useful content
“Create a useful, information-rich site, and write pages that clearly and accurately describe your content.”– Google Webmaster Guildelines
Why content matters for SEO and users
Content is still king. Good content that helps people understand the topic they’re searching for is useful for users and SEO. Content that helps satisfy the “intent” of the search query makes Google look good (so users keep coming back). If you offer a good product or service, write about it, and rank for the related keyword, you’ve gotten yourself in front of a potential customer for free. If you satisfy that searcher’s intent, then that searcher may turn into a new customer.
2.) Show expertise, authoritativeness and trustworthiness
E-A-T stands for “expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.” There’s a lot that goes into how Google determines E-A-T, but it essentially comes down to whether or not your website – and the authors that write for it – have the expertise, authority, and trustworthiness a user wants and needs to make an informed decision on the topic they searched for.
“The signals that Google use to determine E-A-T can likely be applied to brands, to websites, to businesses, and also to authors. The QRG tell us that if the creator of the main content (MC), or in other words, the author, is lacking expertise for the topic, the page should be rated as low quality.– Marie Haynes
Your Money or Your Life (YMYL)
It’s essential for every website to demonstrate some form of E-A-T. However, it’s especially important if your company provides products or services that would be considered Your Money or Your Life (YMYL). For example:
- Financial planners
- Health coaches
How E-A-T improves SEO and user-experience
You probably don’t want to take health, financial, or legal advice from a person that doesn’t have a degree or certification in that field. I don’t. Google doesn’t want to show results from websites that include content written by people that don’t have any expertise or authority on those subjects either.
Here’s my rule of thumb related to E-A-T: If the people you know and love would not consider you an expert on the topic you’re writing about, Google probably won’t either. On the flip side, if you have a master’s degree or certifications in a topic you’re writing about, you probably can demonstrate E-A-T.
For example, a keyword I rank for on EarthyB.com is “environmental problems and solutions.” The title is “10 environmental problems and solutions” and I am an ISSP Sustainability Associate certified through the Green Business Certification Inc. A lot of ranking factors went into why that article ranks, but I do believe I demonstrate a good example of E-A-T which makes me qualified to rank for that article. Of course, I can’t prove that. SEO’s never really can prove their theories. But it’s my educated guess.
3.) Link to high quality websites
“Make sure that any sites that should know about your pages are aware your site is online.”– Google Webmaster Guidelines
Think of links as recommendations. You want to recommend good companies to your friends, otherwise, they won’t keep asking for your advice. It’s the same thing when you link to websites. High-quality links make you a more trustworthy source. Collaborate with businesses similar to yours or be a source for journalists to help generate links.
4.) Make your site as accessible as possible
Web accessibility means that websites, tools, and technologies are designed and developed so that people with disabilities can use them.– W3.org
There are several disabilities that contribute to accessibility problems on the web. A few examples from W3.org include:
Why accessibility matters for SEO and user experience
Web accessibility and search engine optimization (SEO) are both about getting relevant content to users. Accessible content and search engine optimized content are both machine readable. Search engines and assistive technologies (such as screen readers) are quite similar. In many ways, search engines are deaf, blind, use only a keyboard, and have limited technical abilities. Both rely on content structure, semantics, and functionality to either present content to users or determine the relevance of content.– WebAIM.org
Related: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines: What They Are and Why SEOs Should Care
5.) Make your website secure
Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is a security protocol that provides privacy, authentication, and integrity to Internet communications. SSL eventually evolved into Transport Layer Security (TLS).”– Cloudflare
Why does SSL matter for SEO and user experience?
HTTPS protects users’ credit card numbers and browsing history by encrypting all communication. This prevents malicious actors on the web from mining for data. Google has confirmed that SSL is a ranking factor. It’s not a huge ranking factor like great content or in-bound links from trustworthy websites, but nonetheless, I don’t see any reason why a site should not have an SSL certificate.
6.) Improve page speed
Page speed is the amount of time it takes for a web page to load.– Ahrefs.com
Why page speed matters for SEO and user experience
Nobody wants to wait for a page to load online. Test your website using the PageSpeed Insights tool to see how fast your pages load.
Related: Core Web Vitals: A Complete Guide
7.) Don’t be a spammer
The online world has always attracted some shady characters. There’s something about having an “online” storefront as opposed to a physical storefront that makes people think it’s OK to do things online that they wouldn’t do downtown. There will always be people and marketers that try to take shortcuts. Just don’t be one of them, and don’t hire people that try to sell you on “secrets” or “shortcuts.”
There is no secret sauce or magic formula. Follow the rules laid out in Google’s Webmaster guidelines, create quality content, and keep your customers happy. If you’ve done all that and you’re still struggling with SEO, schedule a free 15-minute call and we can talk about ways to improve.