You spend a lot of time writing some awesome blog posts you’re incredibly proud of. You spend a lot of time and energy writing something expert, authoritative, and trustworthy. Just like Google told you, too. But that was six months ago, and virtually no traffic has come to that page. This can be really frustrating. If you read Google’s comments about how to get your articles on Page 1, where you commonly see is just write great content and it will get ranked, but you wrote great content and it’s still not getting ranked and no traffic as a result.
Well, that’s because there are some things that Google is not telling you. There’s a way to write content and link to it, that it will get it ranked in search, and that’s what we’re going to talk about in this video. I’ll talk to you about how search engines like Google rank (or don’t rank) your article and the single most important thing to keep in mind when writing it. Now as a favor, if you like this video, please help us with the YouTube algorithm gods by hitting the like button. This really helps us keep making content for you and to help the channel grow.
Hey guys, my name is Kelis Landrum. I’m a co-founder True North Social and our mission is to help you market your products and services online. We’ve got loads of content on our youtube channel to help you do just that, so feel free to check it out. And if you want to see fresh tips as they come out, be sure and subscribe to our channel.
Get your own Traffic
Let’s start by talking about the fact that Google wants you to think that Google is the only way to get traffic to your blog posts. And that’s not true. You can increase blog traffic to your post by building an e-mail list and sending new posts to your subscribers every once in a while. If you can get someone to subscribe to your e-mail list, they have fundamentally showed interest at some point. And now you’re reconnecting with them. You also can, and honestly should, also create links to your posts on social channels like Facebook and Twitter, especially LinkedIn, if you sell business to business.
E-mail marketing is a channel that you control, you are not at the whims of Google. With this one now, driving traffic through a channel you control is a win in and of itself. But it can also lead to your website getting ranked.
Your Traffic Affects Rankings
Traffic driven by you can help improve your rankings. Google tells us they rank content based on Expertise, Authority, and Trust. Let’s start with trust first!
Getting Google’s Trust
Now you hear all the time that links to your website act as a vote of trust. But you don’t hear nearly as often is that anytime someone comes to your page and spends time reading it, this also counts as a measure of trust. Google metric for this is called time on page. Anytime someone comes to your page and doesn’t immediately leave or bounce, this is a signal to Google that your content is good. Keep in mind that anytime someone comes from your e-mail list or your social channels, they’re pretty likely to be interested in what you’re talking about. And the likelihood that they bounce is pretty low.
So if you can push relevant search traffic to your content, that increases your time on page and you can bend Google Metrics in favor of trusting your content, it’s also worth noting that when Google sees you linked to your own blog posts from your social channels or e-mail blasts or anything that you own, it indicates to Google that you believe your content is good enough to promote, because honestly, if you’re cranking out garbage, you’re probably not really eager to show it off to anyone.
If you think about how trust works. When you see someone recommending something, it makes you feel better about recommending it too. It’s generally more risky to be the first one to recommend something, so when Google sees traffic coming from places other than Google, it knows it’s not the first to validate your content. If you can get other people to link to your post, even better. The more third party validation you can get, the more likely Google is to hop on the bandwagon and send organic traffic your way. But that bandwagon can start with you and your audience.
So if trafficking links can validate that Google should trust your site, how does it evaluate content for expertise and authority?
Expertise and Authority
Now we’re going to get into the part that Google really doesn’t like to talk about. I think it’s pretty safe to say that how Google evaluates content is a pretty big trade secret for them. They purposefully don’t want us to know how they evaluate content, and we will probably never fully know because they make small changes to it all the time. But there are some telltale clues we can use to understand what kind of content Google will rank and those clues are in the search results themselves.
Now, rather than jumping straight into evaluating search results, I want to talk about where many people go wrong when writing content. And I can say that I went wrong with this when I first started. I learned how to write papers in college. I learned how to write using five paragraph essay format and I learned that I need to state my thesis. I need to back it up and get my points across as quickly as possible, and this made it difficult to write content that Google would rank.
Google is a robot
Now here is the single most important thing you can understand about writing content, if you want it to rank. Google does not read things like you and me. Google is not a human. Google is a robot. It reads content like a robot. It is artificial intelligence and AI bots don’t read things the same way that humans do. Now I know you’re hearing me. But if you’re not frustrated yet, you do not understand me and this was a difficult concept for me to accept.
Google is an algorithm that is programmed with a checklist to evaluate content. It grades content based on things it can score, like how many words are on this page, or things that can mark off a checklist. Like does this page have a title (Google cares a lot about blog post titles)? Google can understand things like synonyms and relationships between words that it sees a lot. It can pick up patterns between related words like pool or pools, toys, swimsuits, summer lifeguard, vacation, things like that. But it can’t evaluate emotional intent like a human.
If you write an article about the best pools in Las Vegas, It can evaluate how long your article is and therefore how comprehensive it is, but it can’t evaluate whether or not your recommendations are good. You could recommend the pool at the Motel 6, but Google has never been to a pool in Las Vegas, so how would it know? Now here’s the frustrating part for most of us. What I think is good content and what Google thinks is good content are often not the same thing. But if I want Google to rank my content and increase blog traffic, here’s the thing I have to accept.
My opinion does not matter. Google is the only judge of Google search results. Right now, it sucks. Google doesn’t care what I think. I have a lot of opinions about what Google ranks. Google doesn’t care. So once you’ve had the chance to accept that Google doesn’t care about your opinion either, let’s take a deep breath and see what we can do about it. But they show us insert results. If you Google any keyword, you’ll see ten listings on the first page, and this shows us what Google likes for this particular term. So how do we look at search results and use them to figure out why they like one page better than another?
Now I don’t know about you, but I like to use tools to help you with this now. I’ve used a bunch over the years, there’s so many I’ve used so far. I’ve used Yoast SEO content analysis tool, I’ve used Semrush SEO writing assistant and currently the one I like the best is Surfer SEO content editor.
You might like another one better and honestly if it serves you better- WONDERFUL. Because what these tools do is similar in the sense that they look at the top ten search results for a page and they create a checklist. So essentially they’re using what Google likes to attempt to reverse engineer Google’s checklist. And I can say from my own experience that this works pretty well, at least remarkably better than trying to write something I think is good because again what I think is good doesn’t matter. I am not the judge. The only thing that matters is what Google thinks is good.
Now Full disclosure we are not sponsored by Surfer SEO but we do have a link below in the description for a free trial version they have. Using our link is great way to support the channel, but honestly all of these tools have links and I could recommend any of them. We like Surfer SEO. This is what we currently use, so that’s what I’m looking to down below.
All of the tools I previously mentioned will give you some basic checklist of ideas, like approximately how many words should be on your page, should it be 1000 to 1500 or 3035 hundred, whatever. They will all suggest some idea of how long your page should be. They will also suggest what words you should use. Now, one of the things that I really like about Surfer SEO is not only will it tell you what words you should use, it will give you an idea of approximately how many times to use them and not all tools will do that.
Surfer SEO will also give you a content score, so it’s not just saying your content is good or your content it’s bad. It’s sort of rating on a scale of 1 to 100, exactly how good it is, how compliant your being with whatever it is Google wants to see. And most other tools don’t do that. They’ll give you sort of a pass fail situation or red light green light sort of scenario. But what I really like about their setup is surfer search engine optimization actually gives you the ability to exclude pages from analysis.
So when it looks at the search results you can turn off some of them if you don’t like them, which I find is super useful. I find sometimes if I’m writing a. Blog posts some of the listings in search results from my keyword are not blog posts. They might be directories or some other type of page that has a different format than the blog post I’m writing, and it will skew the results of my checklist towards something I can’t do in a blog post.
Search engines like Google will be a lazy and recommend lists. And if my blog post is not a list, I exclude it from that analysis. One of the things I also really like about their content editor is it allows you to add image placeholders and then it add alt text to those. This is super helpful because sometimes I’ll write an article and it scores pretty good, but I’ve included all of the content I want. And then if I want to add a few extra keywords, I can put them in the alt text of images and a lot of times I can bump up my content score another 5-10, maybe 15 points.
So there’s one last bonus tip I have to help you get search traffic to your blog posts, and that is make sure you write your blog post to rank for a specific search term and make sure that search term has traffic greater than zero. In other words, if you write a blog post for something no one searches for, you might rank page one, but since no one is searching for what you wrote about, no one is going to click through to read.
If you want to get an idea of search volume for your subject, right, a few variations of it, you can then check their search volume with Chrome extensions from SurferSEO or keywords everywhere, or try paid tools with free trials like Semrush, ahrefs, MOZ, or Ubersuggest. So I hope this gets you guys on the right track. Learning how to write content for me was a painful process because I spent time writing stuff. I’d get emotionally invested in it and when it didn’t rank, I’d be really disappointed and I hope this will get you guys going in a better direction.
But please, if there’s something I missed, if you guys have any questions or you just want to let me know you like this video, please drop a comment below and let me know. Once again, this is Kelis Landrum from true North social. Thank you so much for watching. Then I’ll see it in the next video.