5 Google Ranking Signals Content Marketers Need to Know


Google Ranking Signals

When it comes to search engine optimization, content is the key to success. The point is, while technical SEO exists (and even close a small element ), Google has emphasized it over and over again: All you really need Google to like your site is to publish high-quality, useful content. But what exactly is considered a sign of high-quality content?

Here are five content-related ranking signals that Google is using to determine if a particular article is worthy of appearing on the top of Google.

1. Highly Linked Content

The backlink profile is Google's oldest ranking signal. Since the launch of Google, backlinks have been at the core of its ranking algorithm. And while Google has consistently added dozens – and even hundreds – of other signals, backlinks are still the most powerful.

It used to be very simple: the more, the better.

As site owners found out, Google search results pages were heavily manipulated, so Google had to play its part. It's all so complicated now, that I doubt anyone who works for Google fully understands how it works.

There are good links and bad links, there are natural links and unnatural links, and there are high authority and low authority links. One group may be balancing the other. Some links can pull you down and some can push you up, and you can't always distinguish one from the other.

Now, it all boils down to one thing: you need as many organic and editorial links as possible. In other words, we need to create can link content.

This is where content creators can play an important role: it is really in our ability to create content that attracts links.

What is linkable content?

There is no single definition for linkable content, as there is no single type of link. Educational content attracts links from teachers, exotic content promotes links from popular media and discussion boards, and creative content can get links from academics. appropriate notice.

There are no set rules here, so it will depend on how well you do your research and largely on your luck.

When working on an article, see Buzzsumo to see which content attracts the most links about your topic. Buzzsumo allows you to filter results to see recently published content and assess current linkable trends:


Buzzsumo allows you to filter results to see recently published content and evaluate current, trending content that is linkable:

2. Relevance

In fact, this should of course be #1. I only put after the links because it's a more recent signal — one that Google is still figuring out.

Years ago, adding a particular keyword multiple times in an article or on a page was enough for Google to consider that content relevant to the right search query.

Obviously, this is a very easy signal to manipulate, so Google has been working hard to improve its relevancy signals.

Well, there are no signals here, so, like with backlinks, we are talking about a group of signals. But as copywriters, we have more control here, since we actually create the content.

One of the biggest improvements to Google's related algorithms has been made possible thanks to the introduction of semantic mapping which helps Google understand each query in context rather than matching the exact word string to the document indexed word.

Semantic research can help publishers create better researched, more relevant content, similar to how it helps Google algorithmically calculate relevance.

Text Optimizer is a great tool to help you create more relevant context to better match Google and user Expectations:

Text Optimizer

Text Optimizer is a great tool that helps you create more relevant context to better match Google's users and its' expectations.

The Text Optimizer will also score the relevance of your content and point you to all areas for improvement.

Other improvements to Google's coverage algorithms that aren't easy to adopt, but still need to be aware of, include:

3. Content Length

This is one of those search signals that continues to cause a lot of debate and debate in the SEO field. In fact, we will never know the exact answer, despite a lot of research (including this ) seems to suggest that Google favors long-form content.

rankings signals study

The average length of content ranking on the first page of Google is 1,447 words.

It's rightly argued that long-form content can generate more backlinks and therefore it tends to rank higher.

Either way, Whether it's a direct ranking signal or simply a way to create more linkable content, long-form content seems to be the way to go.

Always use your own editorial judgment, but as a rule of thumb:

  • If you have the choice between writing one 1000 – article or three 200 – word articles, choose the longer option.

  • However, if you feel like your writing is turning into a 5000-word book, it's time to consider splitting it up into a series by breaking it down into more specific angles and sub-topics.

  • Finally, if you feel you've accomplished your question goal in 500 - hundreds of papers (this is often the case when you're dealing with very specific/narrow queries), don't force it. A helpful article that clearly answers a question is better than a lengthy piece of content written solely for word count.

4. Exact Keyword Match

While Google has moved beyond exact match keywords and can now understand relevance beyond strings of words, including your target keyword is still important.

The same study mentioned above found that “the vast majority of title tags in Google match exactly or partially with the keywords they rank for.” Note that most titles do not have exact match keywords but some variation of those keywords.

keyword matching stats

Most title tags on the first page of Google contain all or part of the keywords they rank for.

This tells us that Google is still looking at the keywords, so keyword research and optimization is still important. Here is a useful list about the best keyword research tools out there, updated for 2020.

5. Interact with Content

To the best of my knowledge, Google has never confirmed that they use on-page engagement (what people do when they land on your page) as a direct ranking factor.

I can understand why it can be a difficult decision for them. If the user leaves immediately, does that mean the content is useless? Or does it mean it's so great that people find the answer instantly, completely satisfied with what they read?

The question above makes up both “bounce rate” and “time on page” indicators of questionable signals of content quality.

However, for the search giant to completely ignore user satisfaction signals would be a huge oversight, as they also own Google Analytics, which gives them a lot of data. for review.

There are popular theories that Google uses certain user engagement metrics as a single ranking, but those signals are evaluated differently from SERP to SERP and they are never metrics. absolute. Instead, they are being compared against the top-ranking sites, allowing Google to quickly identify possible anomalies.

There's not much content creators can do to impact user engagement, other than create really useful content. But content creators are always a good idea when it comes to looking at website analytics and tracking content performance.

Finteza is a modern web analytics platform with a huge focus on conversions and engagement monitoring. You can use Finteza to better understand which of your articles are fully read, which articles take users down the sales funnel and take them off your site.

Finteza engagement

Use web analytics to figure out how to create more engaging content.


Of course, there are many other search signals that help Google deliver the most relevant search results. There are likely to be hundreds (at least 200) of search signals any time a user clicks the “search” button. Many of these SEO factors can be handled through plugins . But content is still the foundation.

One content creator cannot influence all aspects of search engine optimization. There are still technical factors to work out (including the most important ones like site architecture and internal linking). And there are powerful ranking signals that are beyond the capabilities of the optimizer, such as personalization and localization.

What you, as a content creator and a content marketer, can do is lay an important foundation for – valuable assets.