We talk a lot about SEO. When discussing search engine optimization, it’s easy to get too focused on the nitty-gritty specifics of ranking and forget the overall goal. When bloggers lose sight of the purpose behind optimization, it’s easy to get lost in attempts to rank higher. This could mean you don’t end up making much of an impact at all.
So, what are the foundations of SEO? The three key ranking principles are trust, authority, and relevance. Every Google web crawler is using your optimized blog posts to determine how well you score in each one of these categories. By focusing on these core elements of SEO, you can be more intentional about your optimization and attain a higher SERP ranking.
Today, we’ve dedicated this post to the three key SEO principles. We’ll explore why search engines think these values are important. Then, we’ll discuss how you can better your reputation in each category. Remember, as you achieve better optimization, your website will generate more traffic, and you’ll be closer to your blogging dreams.
Let’s get into the three key SEO ranking principles, and how you can use them:
Three Key Ranking Principles
The first ranking principle is trust. When users travel to your content, they want to immediately see that your information is both valuable and credible. If a reader identifies that your posts are informative or influential, they’ll continue to come back for more content.
Google sees this from their analytics angle as well. They’ll see how often others read and refer to your content! The search engine web crawlers can also determine the level of work put into each post based on the writing, linking, and graphics. These factors combined will determine whether you rank high in the trust category. Here are a few ways to boost your optimization using the trust principle:
Quality Information Backed by Facts
Google wants to create a great user experience. In order for users to have a great experience, they need to get the information they want from their search. To put it simply, Google and prospective readers want the same thing! They want quality information that’s easy to find.
Quality information is well thought-out and well-researched. It’s backed by facts and statistics that you as the blogger link to throughout your post. Both search engines and your readers can identify your information as accurate and helpful when you do this. So, providing high quality content both builds trust in users and boosts your search engine optimization.
There is a lot of content on the web that is already trusted by readers. These might be medical articles on WebMD or workplace studies from John Maxwell. Whatever it is, the material is already authoritative and verified in the eyes of the user. And believe it or not, you can benefit from the great SEO ranking of those high-traffic websites.
You do this through internal linking. If you’re writing an article and need to add facts and statistics to back your claim (which you should), internal linking to a credible source will boost your own integrity and page SEO. Google and readers alike will classify your sources as trustworthy, and they’ll know you provide accurate and quality information.
When doing an organic search for content, there is only one thing more annoying than opening a post and not finding your answer. And, that’s finding spammy or click-baity thin content instead of the quality information you were looking for. No one likes when this happens. It makes you feel cheated and like someone just wasted your time.
So, bloggers, as long as you’re producing authentic content that comes from your voice and heart, you’ll win the trust of your readers! Avoid posts that are too focused on selling or generating ad revenue. Readers and web crawlers will see right through this and mark your content as deceptive and disingenuous. Keep the trust with authentic content readers want to read!
Another one of the key ranking factors is authority. Google and readers may see that you are trustworthy and honorable with your content delivery, but how do they know you’re an expert in your given niche? Knowing whether or not your influence equals authority will better your ranking. You can gain the trust of your readers and others in your niche faster when you have established authority.
Below, we have a few ways to develop your blog as not only trustworthy, but as a hub of expertise in your niche:
Just like internal linking, external linking is an important SEO strategy. This is when other blogs in your niche link back to your web pages. Since your information is credible or valuable, these blogs source your content to back the claims in their own posts.
The more times your content is linked to across the web, the easier it is for Google and its users to see you as a trusted brand. Since so many people view you as an authority on your topic, Google determines you’re trustworthy and sends you higher up the SERPs.
Social Media Interaction
External linking shows how highly regarded you are amongst other bloggers, but social media numbers show how relevant and trusted you are by your target audience. Having a great content marketing strategy that keeps your interactions and follower count growing is another way search engines determine you’re an authority figure in your space.
If you have more social media followers and engagement than other blogs in your niche, you’ll likely rank higher! The readers have used their social channels to inform Google you’re an expert in a particular niche. Since users want your content, Google will give it to them at the top of the results pages.
Much like any other professional field, the amount of time you have spent doing ‘your thing’ determines your authority. If you’ve been blogging for a long time, Google will see your consistent history of posting and gaining followers and see you have power in your niche. Your blog’s longevity is an important ranking factor for SEO.
“Relevance” as a key principle of SEO doesn’t refer to how “hip” you are. (Thank goodness, right?) Instead, relevance refers to how related you are to other content in your category. If you have similar style, content, and content to your competitors, search engines are more likely to rank your blog posts closer to the top of those SERPs.
This is because the audience has already informed Google they’re interested in this type of content. Readers will likely come back for more posts like it, so search engines will make sure relevant content is visible to an organic searcher. Here’s how you can stay relevant for SEO:
Established Niche and Consistency
In previous posts, we’ve discussed niching down as an important SEO tactic. But why? Wouldn’t casting a wider net be better for gaining followers and therefore good for optimization? The answer is no. This is because your readers and search engine web crawlers can’t easily determine your authority in multiple categories.
Maybe you’re a trusted fitness blogger. If you suddenly decide to make a post about gardening, your readers simply won’t know what to do with that information. And, neither will Google. It won’t be able to properly rank your content as you mix niches and will drop the post down on the SERPs.
Additionally, it’s easy to lose followers and lose your relevance if you’re posting unpredictable content. They’ll grow confused and eventually disengage when what they thought was a food blog turns into a fashion blog. Keep your niche-focused, so every post works together towards a better ranking score!
Keywords help organic searchers reach your content. The keywords link your content to their question, which makes keywords the ULTIMATE relevancy tool. Using similar language to your audience will ensure your posts are serving readers what they’re looking to consume. The closer your content is to their keywords, the higher you rank!
To figure one what short tail and long tail phrases to use, do some keyword research through Google Keyword Planner. Then, use those keywords throughout your post! Be careful not to stuff a bunch of keywords in unnaturally just for the sake of ranking higher. It won’t work. This is considered “keyword stuffing,” and Google will see this as a sketchy tactic and your trust and authority will diminish. Be intentional about keywords, and you’ll see the results you’re looking for!
Intentional Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is a great way to expand your audience. You find another blog in your niche, and you offer to write a blog post for them (and you can ask them to write one for your page too.) Your carefully crafted guest blog will grab the attention of readers already interested in your topic, and drive them to your site as well! This is a great SEO tactic. But, you’ve got to keep it relevant.
In order to benefit from guest blogging make sure that the blog is in your niche! If the blog is way beyond your scope, you won’t be pulling any readers over from the new site. Plus, Google will be confused about your lack of consistency.
Additionally, make sure you guest blog on sites similarly sized to you, so you can share equity from each other’s trust and authority in the space. Picking a spammy or low-quality site will not sit well with followers or web crawlers. So, keep it relevant. Your readers will let you know who they’re reading. Then, you can find trusted sources in your field and get to guest blogging!
While optimizing your blog, keep the three principles of SEO in mind to see the biggest change in your page ranking.
SEO is more than just adding alt tags and title tags, finding the right words for your anchor text, and keeping your content length around a couple of thousand words. And, optimization isn’t just about beating the system and tricking bots either. It’s about establishing trust, authority, and relevance in your space. Readers and web crawlers alike want to see quality content from a quality source. YOU are that credible and high-quality source! You just need to help the world (and Google) see it.
If all this is really intimidating and you’re not sure how to develop these principles, we’re here to help. InfluencerSEO has search engine optimization packages that will take care of everything related to ranking! This way, you can focus on the content you love while we work on making it as visible as possible.
Check it out! Or, take the steps to optimize your brand with these three principles and other optimization strategies which you can find right here on our blog. The world is ready to see what you’ve made! Just help them find your content by optimizing your site for search engines. Ready to get to it? Let’s go!