By Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk
Page rank matters for firms that generate web content, so employing the right strategies to boost that rank is always a hot topic. Like most important issues hidden in cloud of mystery, there’s a lot of misinformation surrounding it as well. One of the most common misperceptions about SEO is that you can improve your page rank by having a whole lot of text on a particular page. If one popsicle attracts ants, let’s put out a case of them and get the whole darn colony!
Yeah, it doesn’t work that way. Not even a little bit. In SEO, size doesn’t matter. What do matter are content quality and the extent to which other sites link to your content, indicating they value it.
Google is on record as saying that the most important ranking signals are content and backlinks. Just yesterday, Google Search Quality Senior Strategist Andrey Lepattsev reiterated this fact during a Google hangout with SEO experts. When Ammon Johns asked whether it would be valuable to know what the leading ranking signals, Lepattsev answered,
“I can tell you what they are. It is content and links pointing to your site.” “In that order or the other order?” inquired Ammon. Lepattsev’s response: “There is no order.”
Getting a bunch of irrelevant links is a big SEO no-no, but social media sharing and links from relevant websites will help you get the page rank you desire. Publish your content on as many of the social media platforms as you have access to, as well as putting it on your blog and other appropriate web pages, and those of other businesses that make sense (and are willing). This kind of exposure boosts page rank as well as increasing readership.
And for the content itself? The best thing you can do in terms of SEO is to maintain an intense focus on quality. This includes multiple factors that should help you shape what you share and how you share it. Among them are:
- Low spam value (a sense that the content is crafted to sell specific products or services)
- High information value
- Direct answers to search queries
What’s missing here? Word count! You do NOT need to have a high word count to create quality content, nor will rambling on longer improve your SEO.
Most readers are put off by seeing a huge wall of text, and will click away before even scanning to see if the information they want is buried in the haystack of words. Keep in mind that the more time we spend surfing the web, the less willing we are to tackle big chunks of text (or “read” as we used to call it). Lured by the easy gratification of tweets, subheads, bulleted lists and mini-paragraphs, today’s audiences are all about the effortless assimilation of content.
That doesn’t mean you must give up in-depth discussion where merited (in books, journal articles and deep inside your website, screened by layers of intro pages) but it does mean that delving into protracted discourse is likely to discourage most people who find your content.
For most basic web pages and blog articles, it’s best to keep your content short and simple. You’ll end up improving it by forcing yourself to focus on what’s really important and communicating those key facts more clearly. You’ll also be creating space you can use for images, and keeping your pages pleasantly uncluttered.
When you package useful information in a smaller, more visually appealing bundle readers will stay longer, come back more often, link more and interact more with your other pages. The general effect is greater engagement with your content than you would achieve by jam-packing the pages with text.
Give your audiences streamlined, simple content that makes life easy. Your readers will thank you and Google will reward you with positive SEO results.