Health IS Technology Blog

Improving Your Content For Google Search


Getting found on Google is a lot easier than you think

Helping one another online

When it comes to search engine optimization and having a blog article or page be visible to visitors, many may think that it takes a complicated solution. Believe it or not, the search engine Google tweaks it’s algorithms to look for material that is helpful to people searching. Their ultimate goal is to have the search engine know what you need when you ask for it. Google wants to present you with answers from trusted online sources. This is why they punish spam–or spam-like content–while nudging sites that are heavily utilized to the top.

What sort of content does Google want over everything else?

Helpful content… Google wants helpful content. To search is to ask, so therefore the machine needs answers!

What I mean by “helpful” is that your content (and layout) quickly gets people the answer that they are looking for. If a visitor has to scroll past a lot of ads, photos that are off-topic, or “welcome messages” that tell of a person or service that they aren’t interested in, the page is not helpful. Many people search on their mobile phones, they have limited time, and they are in a hurry. As content providers we must get them their answer fast, or lose them to another site that has what they want.

Let’s take for example the popular behemoth of a website: Wikipedia. If you search for any historical figure, pop culture reference, or popular occurrence, chances are that one of the top three results will be Wikipedia. If I was to wager a guess, the order of results would be:

  1. Homepage for the person, reference, or occurrence.
  2. Amazon.com if there is a product with the name.
  3. Wikipedia page
  4. Helpful blog post by a high authority URL (usf.edu for instance)

The reason why Wikipedia works so well is because people have grown accustomed to using it as a resource for answers. “Let me Wiki it” has become a popular term (right after “let me Google it”), and although the site is fed and maintained by mere mortals—who can easily post incorrect “facts” unto a page—most people see them as an authority on all subjects. So therefore, Wikipedia is deemed “helpful”. It gives you an answer fast—like first paragraph, fast—and to reward that, Google has them as a constant top three.

How can a content developer emulate Wikipedia?

Getting noticed on Google starts with making a page that answers a question quickly, clearly, and with access to additional information if needed. A good way to do this is by following Wikipedia’s example:

Wikipedia entry on Psycotherapy

From the image above we can see a number of “best practices” for a page that benefits it’s readers.

  1. The main term (or point) of the page is large, and bold at the top of the page.
  2. Within the first few lines we are given an answer to our question, which for this entry would be “what is psychotherapy?”
  3. There are links leading to other helpful definitions within the actual text.
  4. The layout is clean, interesting (italics, bolds, color links) and right to the point.

One thing that Wikipedia lacks on most pages that your blogs or sites should have is relative photos and images. Having the additional bonus that is a photo helps to grab visitors that may be doing an image search. Plus, take a look at what happens when I look up a random term like “measuring cup”.

Google results for measuring cups

As you can see, the relative images pop up first. An image is an extra access point to your helpful answer!

So use images where they apply, but make sure they are interesting and relative to the page. Remember you want to give an answer, have it be helpful, and most of all, have it be a benefit to your visitor.

Summary

So, the next time that you’re creating content for your website, and you want it to be picked up by Google, remember these steps:

  • Put your visitors first by answering their questions as quickly and clearly as possible.
  • Lay out your pages in a way that we are accustomed to seeing them. With a nice-sized title (big and bold), paragraph breaks, links that look like links, and highlights on the keywords.
  • Add an image if you can, but make sure that it is both interesting, and relative.
  • Pro-Tip: Tell people where to find your page, link to it from pages that can use it’s information, and encourage others to do the same.