Business owners often wonder where most SEO activities take place. Is it on the website or off the website? Whilst much of the SEO work undertaken to improve a website’s Google rankings happen away from the website, such as external link building, internal linking and social citations, a lot is done on the actual website itself. Whilst off-page optimisation is extremely important and very influential if done correctly, the on-page SEO activity is also vital to a website’s ranking – especially in competitive industries.
If you were wondering what the most important on-page factor is, then who better to ask than Google itself? They are quite clear that the content on a website is the number one element when it comes to rankings. This makes sense when you understand why Google exists and, more importantly, how they continue to thrive.
Google live or die depending on whether the people using their search engine are satisfied or not by the results that Google display for any given search term. If the list of websites that appear for any given search term are sites that the user can then visit and find both relevant and interesting content, that user is happy with Google’s service and likely to use them again.
Alternatively, if Google were to show websites where the content is only vaguely relevant and, more importantly, of poor quality and of little value, the user would become dissatisfied and stops using Google to search.
This might seem very basic and obvious, but it is in effect the basis upon which one of the world’s biggest and most successful online companies exists. This means that all the testing, programming, data analysis, and update releases from Google are all simply to try and make the results it produces the best they possibly can be for its users.
Google’s users may use their search engine for many different reasons, but they’re mainly searching for content of one type or another.
Here is but a tiny fraction of what that content could be…
- Research for a school or college project
- Planning a vacation
- Information on caring for their pets
- Comparing different versions of an online software
- Looking for reviews of a specific product
- Marketing research for a business
- Finding a resource for freelance workers
- Searching for a recipe for chocolate cake
- Seeking news stories relating to a historical event
That is probably only 0.0000001% of the potential reasons someone might search on Google, but whatever the reason is, Google wants the results it shows to be the best possible and most relevant. This relevancy is one of the primary elements upon which Google determines the rank of any site
The level of usefulness and relevancy will be assessed by the user, based on the content they find, having clicked through one of the links in the search results. If the content on that site relates very closely to the search term and provides usable information, the visitor is likely to remain on the site, click through several pages, and spend a fair amount of time doing so. All of this can be measured by Google and if these indicate that the user experience was a good one, the ranking of that site is generally improved.
In addition to satisfying visitors, content on a website can have other positive effects too. Given the huge usage of social media, having content which can be easily shared is hugely beneficial. Just think if you had a piece of brilliantly written content that readers loved and wanted to share with their friends, colleagues or business associates, and did so using social media. The potential for this to go viral is significant, and if it does, guess who notices?
Give yourself a gold star if you said ‘Google’.