Google search rankings can be the difference between having thousands of visitors rushing to read your work or being completely ignored even though your writings would attract an audience if they had more visibility. By 2021, we know that simply throwing in some overused search keywords won’t do enough when it comes to Google search rankings.
However, we are still in the dark about the intricacies of the search engine's algorithm, it is one hard-kept secret, much like the recipe for KFC chicken and Cola. But we can venture some guesses. Luckily, SEO experts and top-rated content writers have figured out, through trial and error, what works and what doesn’t.
So you want your content to rank higher in the search results? This you can do by showing Google how your work genuinely adds value to the readers’ experiences. In this article, I will discuss with you some strategies you can use to show Google that you are an expert in your niche.
Google Is Changing & So Must You
Keyword stuffing and other unethical SEO practices that we define as “black hat” did work at a time and helped sites jump to the very first spot, but this was soon to change. Google began evolving its preferences and developed a system where content quality and relevance became more important than the number of keywords used.
This is not to say that the use of search phrases has become obsolete, but simply that it is no longer the only ranking factor. You need to show Google true relevance with respect to what the users are searching for, if your content matches their search requirements, it will be given a higher spot in the search engine rankings.
This means that in addition to keyword use, you need to ensure superior content quality, relevance (no misleading headlines), originality, and audience experience. Sites teeming with annoying ads are thus finding themselves on the wrong end of search rankings, but there are several areas in content quality as well where only a small fraction of websites and blogs are perfect.
The most important aspect in this regard is the writer's expertise – does the writer have any experience or expertise in the area they’re discussing? But how does Google figure that out? Let’s explore this area further, and I will share proven tips and tricks to help you create such an image for yourself.
Signaling Google That You’re A Content Expert In 5 Easy Steps
If your site is worth it and you've put in the effort trying to create amazing content, you shouldn't find it hard to push through just a little bit more to show Google that you mean business. Here are my takes, based on personal experience and solid research, on how you can do just that:
1. Write About Your Niche
Well, this one is a no-brainer, but this is where most blogs go wrong, even amazing ones. I have come across several websites and blogs that try to be about everything at the same time, this leaves them unable to perform well in any of the areas they deal with, even though the content quality is impeccable and the writings are filled with valuable information.
Instead, the best approach is to find out what you’re best at, the topic you like to discuss the most, but at the same time, you need to find something that appeals to the audience and is open-ended. The point is that you need to create tons of content for your blog without being repetitive, so if your niche is very limited, that might become a problem.
But again, nothing too broad.
If you're a medical expert, for instance, you probably specialize in an area within and thus you should focus on that. The same goes for other professions and niches. Remember, for practical fields, Google will prefer information coming from professionals who have the relevant experience. Thus if your tone is professional and you are qualified to present your ideas, Google will rank you higher.
Even hobby sites demand expertise from the writer’s end.
Thus if you’ve been writing on other authority sites, which are known for their credibility, and your work there links back to your site, which must have some degree of authority of its own, you’ll fare much better in the Google search rankings. Of course, none of this eliminates the need for keyword usage and whatnot but having relevant expertise and writing within your specific niche is important.
However, it doesn’t take one to hold a Ph.D. for everything (relax, I'm exaggerating!) Movie review sites, for example, demand only passion and knowledge about the subject. The same goes for book or food critics, and so on.
The content must be well written that’s all.
Your goal is to write quality content on your site that attracts backlinks from other blogs, and on other authoritative sites where you link back to your site by yourself. In both cases, you show Google that you have expertise in what you write and thus improve your search engine ranking.
Just remember to reach out only to high-quality blogs for your guest posts, this you can ensure by looking at site reviews, traffic, and social media shares.
Also, avoid irrelevant backlinks, even if the site offering it has a good rating.
3. Quality Over Quantity
No content checklist is complete without attention to quality, but what does that even mean?
There are specific criteria that Google uses to determine the qualitative measure of content. First, your content needs to provide valuable details, briefly, but without slashing down the important segments. You need to cut down the fluff and useless sentences that add nothing to the value of the content and instead deliver the needed information.
This does not mean that you shouldn’t have a personal tone or style, just don’t overdo it.
Of course, the information must be of value, something the readers would find helpful, and Google will know this if they do – the number of shares likes, and positive reviews say a lot about the value of your content. At the same time, the readability and flow of your words should encourage readers to go through the whole thing; flawless grammar is also important.
If you want to cut down on the time you spend scrutinizing grammatical issues, use tools like Grammarly to help you. Don’t worry, even experts need a little tech support for digital content, the world is moving to a faster lane, so whatever saves your time and effort will be worth it.
Also, avoid typos and misspells, and see if the fancy words you used are suitable in the context (these mistakes are more common than you think). The content does not have to be perfect, there is always room for error when it comes to human creation, but you should take care of errors as much as possible, and if you spot something out of order in the future, edit it.
Lastly, don't bombard the visitors with annoying and uncomfortable ads, respect their time – you can put up ads, just don't overdo it, and avoid pop-ups – people hate them. Also, try not to spread the content over several pages; some low-quality sites tend to do rundown articles like top tens and top twenties, and the content is spread across ten or twenty pages – it becomes super annoying.
Just aim to deliver a refined reader experience in general and that will reflect well on content quality.
4. Content Curation Can Help
If you look for them, you’ll find tons of content curation platforms suited to your needs. You need to share your work in the online space so that you get more exposure. Medium, for instance, is a perfect space for sharing your content with an exclusive audience hosted by the platform. Plus their editing features are pretty simple and thus you won’t have trouble finalizing things.
SlideShare is another excellent option. This one is meant primarily for slides but you can upload documents as well. Experts share their work here and it boosts their credibility in the field, so if you plan on showing Google that you are an expert, you need to curate your content more and more.
Contently, Amazon, and Goodreads are all out there as well.
The thing with all of these platforms is that they can help create a stronger image for yourself and when this links back to your site, Google will consider you an expert at what you write about. Also, people will take your words seriously too if they know that you’re an authority in the niche.
5. Never Underestimate the Importance of Social Media
Social media platforms are teeming with activity but it is also where things get shared and may turn out to be viral. But apart from this, Google is sure to trace your content being shared on such platforms. Your Facebook page, for instance, is the perfect place for hosting links to your content, and perhaps that of other experts as well to add value to your social media following’s time.
But when it comes to authoritative content, there is no social media platform better suited for sharing with genuinely interested people than LinkedIn. Some may argue that the number of users on this one is far smaller, but the audience is more or less composed of professionals and if they applaud your work, it means something.
Plus, you can also work on the constructive criticism you get from other experts and refine your work even further. While Google has not officially announced that it looks for your posts and shares on social media platforms, this does not eliminate the possibility, and even if it doesn’t, this is sure to happen in the future.
However, Google does use information from your LinkedIn endorsements and profile details to evaluate how much of an expert you are in what you do.
In short, it’s best to stay sharp on social media as well to help elevate the success rates for your stories and your blog as a whole, and it will help your Google ratings as well.
Showing yourself as an expert to the world is no easy thing to do – it takes work and dedication.
People won’t care even if you hold two Masters, all they want is high-quality, engaging, and informative content. You can benefit from being perceived as an expert because Google uses that to rank your content.
If you’re not there yet, just make sure that you’re on the right track and just keep pushing forward.
Just make it about your readers, Google is evolving to prioritize reader experience, and you should too!