Theories abound on what makes websites rank — from linking and social media, to search submissions and writing valuable and meaningful posts on other sites.
While all of these are part of the cornucopia for successful placement, the ultimate ranking factor is website content relevancy.
It’s Not What You Say, But How You Say It
Relevant content can’t help but rank well when it is written in a way that reflects the website’s core message. Yes, even a brand new domain, without being stuffed with any keywords at all, can rank well if its content is relevant for the desired keyword terms, phrases and their alternates. It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Focusing on the use of terms and phrases that accurately describe the products and services offered goes a lot further than you may think. It’s what helps a website rank. Any old content can be thrown together and quickly slapped online but, if a search query doesn’t trigger it, the content is deemed not relevant for that query. To rank for desired keyword terms and phrases, relevancy is key.
An example: A repair shop specializes in unique building tools, such as hammers. The content on the main page of the shop’s website should be about just that and nothing more. Don’t talk about screwdrivers too. That belongs on another page with its own set of meta data to satisfy the visitor and the search spider. As this peculiar work goes much deeper and is more involved than this very simplistic example, it is at the core of optimization for first-page ranking.
Sites that are missing from Page 1 of the search results are simply not optimized to be there. Content built around the keywords, as well as being specific about and focused on the message to be conveyed is what makes all the dots connect. In addition, the written text must be coherent and make sense to the reader. Otherwise the message and the potential client will be lost.
What About Meta Tags?
Again, there are many theories and disagreements about meta tags but, in my experience, making full use of them increases the chances of great placement on search results pages. Not using them leaves out information the search bots can use to properly index the site. Not only must content be relevant to rank, the source page should be spider-friendly as well. That’s where having properly written meta data comes in.
Meta data gives the spiders (bots) information on how to index a website. Bots should be able to flow easily through the page’s source code unimpeded, finding everything relevant and in order. Even brand new domains can be quickly indexed and ranked when the content and meta data are relevant to each other.
What About SEO Software?
Another tool is the use of optimization software. However, the software doesn’t write content, a real person does. If the writing is not relevant, SEO software will not fix it. Optimizing badly written copy only results in bad copy optimized for the back page of search results.
I’ve seen this with my own two eyes — a potential client insists on using software to optimize, but can’t figure out why the company website is invisible and not showing up on the search results.
Further research revealed the culprit. The site had no relevant content and the trusty SEO software was listed in the source code to lend an air of credibility.
When one knows the ropes of pure organic white hat, there’s no need for SEO software. In some circles, it is considered the same thing as cheating. Such software is never used in my work for clients. It just isn’t needed.
In conclusion, I submit that website content relevancy is a greater factor for high ranking and placement on the search results. Without it, Page 1 could remain as elusive as hidden treasure, relegating a site to the annals of the search engine’s back pages.
About the author: Barb Hicks is a website design and SEO consultant offering and sites built exclusively on the Genesis Framework for WordPress.