A 7-year-girl stands staring at a 27-car pile-up in which her dearest pet, a golden retriever, was thrown from the car onto hard pavement. The pup is in the road unmoving and ignored. A TV reporter — desperate for a Pulitzer — asks the child, “How do you feel now that your dog has died?”
The thoughtless question to the little girl is irrelevant to the story about the 27-car pile-up.
The reporter herself is irrelevant to the little girl. . . .
Unless the little girl caused pile up and killed puppy, her feelings (besides being obvious) just aren’t relevant.
Maybe that works on TV, but not the Internet. That reporter would have Google Page Rank Zero. Who’d do a Google search for a story on how that little girl felt?
Each link we hold or give shows a vote for relevant content. My link to you says My content is relevant to what you said or I consider your content relevant. We connect because we care about the same important things.
The more we offer quality, timely, information that adds value to the content on the Internet, the more search engines such as Google value it and reward us with page rank and traffic . . . that’s because the people who buy search engine ads use search engines to research papers, look for answers, learn more, read more, buy products, get services, ask and answer questions — in other words to find things relevant to their needs.
6+1 Traits of Search Engine Relevant Content
Content without “relevant” is useless content. Who searches for irrelevant? Here are six plus one traits of relevant content in the eyes of a search engine.
1. Relevant content is usually text.
Search Engines spiders love quality content, just as readers do. Search engines and readers, however, see pages differently. Readers “read” photos and graphics; spiders and bots crawl right past them. Include a caption for that photo explaining what’s in it, if you want a search engine’s attention.
2. Relevant content is updated consistently and frequently.
Search engine spiders are hungry creatures, and they are creatures of habit. They want lots of original, relevant content, but they also get used to when you post. Choose a posting schedule that’s as frequent as you and your readers can keep up with.
3. Relevant content is structured.
When your document follows a structured format, spiders can follow how the parts relate. Relationships in the text show how keywords are connected and relevant. Search engines know you didn’t just sprinkle keywords in for high page listings.
- title with keywords
- h1–subhead that relates (with keywords)
- paragraph(s) — with keywords
- h2–subhead that relates (with keywords)
- paragraph(s) — with keywords
4. Relevant content is linked — Links in, links out, and links within your blog are relevant.
Links draw spiders and bots to crawl connected pages. They crawl from blog to blog and within your blog. Each link shows relevance and gets Google juice from it’s relationships. Links are an integral part of page rank.
5. Relevant content is accessible links with strong anchor text. Using anchor text and accessible, descriptive title tags with links show search engines and people how your links relate to the post or blog you’re linking to. Those few words underscore your relevancy.
6. Relevant content is error free and easy.
Open HTML tags, bloated code, gross errors in spelling, and unnecessary active plugins, gizmos, and blinky things trip spiders and distract people. That makes them both miss important things.
PLUS ONE: Write for people, then check for spiders.
Even search engines want us to write for readers. They know that readers who come and click away aren’t really finding relevant text. Write for readers. Then check the crawly spaces for spiders. The spiders won’t mind. I promise.
Relevant is something that’s proved and earned, but search engines notice quickly when a blog delivers. So do people. Both reward it with their attention. Relevant content is the single best promotion for any brand.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
If you’d like Liz to help you with your writing, check out the Work with Liz!! page.