Usually a trusted source within the PR and advertising industry, Ragan’s PR Daily recently posted an article, “17 types of content that Google loves.” Although we typically enjoy the site and find it interesting, we found the content from this article could be confusing for those just now dipping their toes in the SEO pool.
As a leader in SEO for clients, we thought it would be a good idea to go through the 17 points and clarify them.
For starters, the article’s title is misleading. You should create content not for what Google loves, but for what searchers want, because Google doesn’t love anything. Google tries to show unique and informative content based on the searcher’s “intent.” For example, are you trying to buy something, find something, learn something, etc.?
Then there are the types of content recommended for a successful Google-oriented strategy. Here’s our take:
1. Interviews – Google doesn’t love them. In fact, Google has no way to tell if content is an interview versus a story. It just likes the unique, informative content that comes with interviews.
2. Lists – Google doesn’t love lists, people do. So people tend to link back to them, thus making Google give more weight to lists.
3. Resource Centers – When is the last time you went to a resource center from Google?
4. Social Content – How many Facebook posts or tweets do you see in Google’s search results? In case you can’t remember, we’ll let you in on our insight – rarely any. However, you do see social media accounts on occasion.
5. Polls – Yes I do see them on TV, but I don’t see them in search results. And most people sure aren’t searching for them either. Maybe they are referring to statistics?
6. Revisions/Updates – This is correct, sort of. If the content is news, Google likes fresh news. Otherwise it doesn’t really matter. Good content is good content – as long as it is still relevant to the searcher’s intent.
7. Reviews – Don’t just review the best product in your industry like the article originally suggests. This tactic will give you searchers who are looking to buy the product rather than buying your services. Instead, explain how, when and why to use it. This will give you searchers who think they need it.
8. Comparisons – This is actually a good example from the article. Comparisons can make you a thought leader, and people tend to like that type of content.
9. News – This is a very difficult tactic. Plus, it won’t rank high in the search engines for very long because it becomes old and is no longer fresh news. Also, your best keywords aren’t usually news related; they are generally static searches.
10. Case Studies – These can rank high, but they need to answer a question rather than focus on a partnership.
11-14. Rants, Tell a Story, Predictions, What Ifs – This type of content might rank high for certain searches, but not the right searches. Almost every time someone is looking to buy a product or looking for a service Google will show a rant, story or predication. It can make you a thought leader in your industry, and it MIGHT earn you some valuable links; but it won’t convert a customer.
15. The Stupid and the Funny – Most businesses are not in the line of work of comedy. So, for a company, creating something funny might not be the best way to get links. Additionally, that content is probably not going to bring you qualified visitors via search engines unless your business is BuzzFeed.
16. Contests – They can bring links and visitors, however, Google does not love them; most searchers are not looking for contests, so Google does not display them in the search results.
17. Pricing – Google could care less if you show pricing or not, but that probably changes in your customer’s priorities once they’re on your website.
Google is really just a big Q&A database.
To put things into perspective it’s best to realize that Google is just a big Q&A database. You ask a question. It answers your question by determining who has the correct answer, then what the best answers are.
For example, in a detailed search such as “how to tie a double Windsor tie,” Google determines that I want to learn how to do something. Google decides it will show me different ways like graphics, videos and written instructions. Then it ranks those based on quality and uniqueness. It’s not going to show me reviews or places to buy a tie, because that’s not what I want. Creating quality content that shows prices and reviews does me no good in this case.
In a broad search like “Samsung Televisions,” Google doesn’t know what my intent is. It’s going to show the best places to buy a nice one and a cheap one, reviews, videos, the company website, etc. Then it’s going to show the best content from each category.
How to get your content to rank well:
By now, you’re probably asking yourself, “What’s the best way to get my content to rank well?” Here are three pretty straight forward tips to follow:
- Determine what the answer is to the searchers intent.
- Think of the different ways you can present the answer.
- Display the answer in a user experience-friendly way so people share it. It should be valuable, correct, simple, fast, easy, comprehensive, etc…
In the end, the key is to focus on what people like, not what Google loves. Because remember, Google doesn’t love anything!