Gone are the days when the success of a website’s search engine optimization (SEO) strategy could be determined by the number of backlinks it had or how often a specific keyword was used. While these factors used to play a significant role in boosting a website’s ranking, they have become less important as Google’s algorithm has evolved to prioritize high-quality content and user engagement over traditional ranking signals.
Google’s ultimate goal is to serve users the most relevant and helpful information on the web as quickly as possible, and the algorithm has been updated to better accomplish this task. This means that the tactics that once worked for SEO, such as buying backlinks or stuffing content with keywords, are no longer effective. In fact, these tactics can even harm a website’s ranking, as Google’s algorithm is designed to penalize websites that engage in spammy or manipulative tactics.
SEO in 2023 and beyond
So, what does it take to succeed with SEO in 2023 and beyond? The key is to focus on providing a premium content experience that meets the needs of the user and ends their search journey. Google says Focus on people first content. This can be achieved through a combination of technical SEO, topical authority, and user engagement.
Technical SEO involves ensuring that Google’s web crawler, known as Googlebot, can easily access, understand, and serve your content. This includes having a fast-loading, error-free website with a logical structure, as well as optimizing the technical aspects of your website, such as the HTML and XML sitemaps and the use of header tags. By starting with a strong foundation of technical health, you can make it easier for Googlebot to crawl your site and give your important pages greater visibility in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Topical authority refers to a website’s associations with topics related to its business objectives. Google associates websites with certain topics, and the strength of these associations is known as topical authority. Websites with stronger topical authority are more likely to rank higher in the SERPs. To build topical authority in your niche, it is important to demonstrate that you are a credible subject matter expert. This can be achieved through the creation of valuable and informative content, as well as through the acquisition of high-quality backlinks from authoritative websites in your industry.
User engagement is also an important factor in ranking, as it helps Google determine whether a webpage is helpful to users. This can be determined by metrics such as the amount of time a user spends on a webpage, whether they return to a website after their initial visit, and whether they have to return to Google to perform a subsequent search. If a user finds a webpage helpful and engaging, they are less likely to return to Google to perform another search, indicating that the webpage fulfilled their search intent and should be given higher visibility in the SERPs.
On the other hand, if a user quickly returns to Google to perform another search, it may indicate that the initial result was not relevant or helpful, and Google may decide to rank a different webpage in its place.
Google has recently updated the concept of E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) by adding an additional ‘E’ for Experience. The new acronym, E-E-A-T, stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. Google has updated its search quality rater guidelines to reflect this change and provide guidance on how to evaluate the expertise of a content creator.
According to Google, trust is the most important aspect of E-E-A-T, as untrustworthy pages will have low E-E-A-T regardless of how experienced, expert, or authoritative they may appear.
YMYL stands for “Your Money or Your Life.” It is a term used by Google to refer to websites that may have an impact on a person’s financial well-being, health, or safety. These types of websites are held to higher standards in terms of the quality and trustworthiness of their content.
Examples of YMYL websites include financial institutions, online shopping websites, medical websites, and websites that provide legal or personal advice. Google places a higher level of importance on the credibility and trustworthiness of these websites, as the information provided on them can have significant consequences for the user.
To ensure the accuracy and trustworthiness of their content, YMYL websites should have a strong E-A-T (Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness) and should follow Google’s guidelines for content quality.
Google’s Helpful Content Update
Google’s helpful content update (August 2022) is designed to better connect people with useful and informative content in search results. The update aims to reward content that provides a satisfying experience for visitors, while content that does not meet visitors’ expectations will not perform as well. To create successful content with this update, it is important to focus on creating content for people, not for search engines. This means creating content that is useful and informative for a specific audience, demonstrating first-hand expertise and a depth of knowledge on a topic, and providing a satisfying experience for the reader.
It is also important to consider SEO best practices and to follow Google’s guidelines for core updates and product reviews.
In summary, the key to success in SEO is to focus on providing a premium content experience that meets the needs of the user and ends their search journey. This can be achieved through technical SEO, topical authority, and user engagement. By prioritizing these factors, you can increase the visibility and success of your website in the SERPs.