Love it or hate it, Google is the dominant force when it comes to ranking your company's website. That ranking is registered when a prospect types in a keyword to find something they're looking for like "dentist in East Lansing" or "T-shirts in Fort Lauderdale." Google wants to reward it's users by presenting the most relevant websites at the top of their ranking page.
There aren't any "Google elves" sitting there answering keyword searches. Instead, an algorithm is activated for every search. Throughout the years, Google has tweaked the algorithm to make it better at finding great websites for the respective search results. They keep the algorithm a secret as many companies try to game it in order to be ranked higher. However, there are general rules that Google has outlined what a relevant website should follow in order to be ranked high.
According to Matt Cutts, Head of Google’s WebSpam team, fresh, relevant content is the foundation for high rankings. So, how does Google tell if a web page has high quality content? Consider these factors:
Google performs an instantaneous scan and recognizes just as fast whether or not a web site has overlapping and/or redundant content on your site. They look to see if you’ve copied content from other sites by checking the age of the content and percentage of similar content when comparing sites. Here is where your inclusion of keywords could actually come back to haunt you, especially if they are being overused. Does this mean you should abandon those keywords? Absolutely not. However, you might also want to freshen up your existing content if your keyword phrases all appear to be using the same phrasing.
Google is looking for quality. When it can deliver that to its users then those users will come back for more. Is your content well written? Are there grammar or spelling errors? Does it read like a robot wrote the piece? There are many quality content writers out there who can deliver engaging content. If you don't have the skills, hire someone who does. One way Google measures quality content is through tracking how long an user stays on the page. If they arrive on the page and leave immediately, Google knows that the page wasn’t relevant to the search query, or that the website content wasn’t good.
Here is where you need to search out the competition. Pretend you're a customer and Google the same keywords you hope someone would use to look for your site. What businesses come up on the first ranking page? More importantly, why did those sites come up first? Take the time to study those pages to see what they are doing right in terms of content, titles and headers. This is what you should be striving for.
The best type of content is something that will be shared. Whether that is an infographic, top ten list or really cool photo, if you can get viewers to bookmark or share that piece then you're spreading your message further across the web. Information and humor are two solid items that can make a piece of content go viral. If you can add a short, funny video all the better!
When you get right down to it, it's not rocket science. It's all about quality.