In the latest Google Hangout, John Mueller gave publishers a few tips on how they can improve their SEO performance.
Here’s what he said, and how you can implement it on your site.
Google Tips: Don’t Reuse Generic Content
This one’s plagued marketers for years.
Obviously, we know that straight up plagiarizing another site isn’t going to work.
We also know that duplicate content is a big no for Google, and will result in a drop in rankings if the bots detect it.
But what about content that’s just similar? As in, hundreds of people have written about a certain subject, so there’s bound to be some crossover?
For years, it’s been the trend to cover topics that have been covered (and covered, and covered..) by similar brands in the industry.
For example, how many “Ultimate Guides to Facebook Advertising” have you seen? I’m guessing plenty.
But according to Mueller, brands might want to be a little more careful about that.
He says that reusing topics that have been covered extensively have the tendency to come across as “somewhat low quality.”
“I can imagine that our algorithms over time might to start to pick up on that and say, well, there’s a lot of good stuff here but there’s also a lot of stuff we’re kind of..not that happy about.”
Now, there are some areas that are just going to have similarities. If you’re including facts and stats (which you should), someone else is bound to have those same stats in their articles.
Or if you’re guiding someone through a set-up process, it’s likely the same set-up process that others have covered as well.
But it’s the generic copy you have to worry about. Mueller says he sees hundreds of sites that are good enough, but good enough doesn’t quite cut it.
Instead, you want to strive to ensure the content your producing is the best in your industry.
How to Produce Unique Copy:
All that aside, there are ways to ensure your copy stays as unique as possible.
The first is to stay away from broad, general subjects. They don’t excite people, and they clearly don’t excite Google either.
So instead of the same “Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising,” you could write something on the “Best Innovative Facebook Ideas of 2018.”
Mueller mentions later in the Hangout that one specifically was suffering due to an overload of basic, general information that could be found anywhere.
Because it’s not the kind of content that will engage an audience and keep them coming back, it’s not helping your website overall, and doesn’t give Google much incentive to rank your site higher than any other related site.
The next thing to do is to make sure you’re tackling a topic that you have a unique perspective on or experience in.
After all, you, the writer is supposed to be the expert here. If you can only come up with ideas others have beaten you to, you’re not really doing your job.
And a unique idea or perspective? Makes for a unique article.
Google Tips: Get Objective Feedback From General Users
Mueller’s next tip is to try and gauge your website’s overall user experience.
We know that user experience is a big deal to Google, so it makes sense that to improve your rankings and SEO, you need to up the experience if you can.
And according to Mueller, the best way to do that is to go straight to the source: the users themselves.
He recommends collecting some feedback from site users to see if they’re happy with the website overall and where they think any improvements can be made.
He goes on to say that he believes it’s important to “collect as much objective feedback as possible, even if it’s kind of harsh, even if you don’t agree with it, so that you have the chance to take things to the next level.”
All of this makes perfect sense, of course.
A better user experience can improve your bounce rates, average time spent on site, and not to mention your conversions.
All of those metrics signal the relevance of your site to Google. A site that continuously sees low bounce rates says that it isn’t providing what users are looking for.
And that’s pretty bad news for that site’s search rankings.
So to make sure you’re continuously improving, check in with your users.
How to Collect Feedback:
You’re probably familiar with site surveys. This is the most common way to collect feedback from your users.
You’ll often see short surveys as pop-ups on websites, asking for either a star rating or quick yes or no to gauge overall satisfaction.
You’ll also commonly see longer surveys sent out to entire email lists.
These will give you more detailed information, but to get the best return, be careful about who you send them to.
I recommend using email segmentation to target some of your most engaged customers.
Using email software analytics, you can segment based on users who have engaged the most with your emails. These are the ones most likely to respond.
Then, do everything to make the experience as pleasant as possible. Keep it as short as possible, and only ask questions you really need the answers to.
Google Tips: Spread Out Your Traffic Sources
Mueller’s final tip was to spread out your traffic sources.
More specifically, to use all channels at your disposal, including social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, to make sure you’re not relying on one single source of traffic.
He describes the channels as the “multiple legs that are supporting your site.”
Now, having multiple traffic sources is important for many reasons.
First of all, relying on search traffic alone – unless you’re in one of the coveted top positions – isn’t likely to get you all that far.
Beyond that, any one of Google’s (multiple) algorithm updates could send your site into the murky depths of the SERPs.
So, to be as prepared as possible, make sure you’re spending adequate time strategizing other ways to bring in traffic.
How to Get Multi-Channel Traffic
This one goes back to a well-planned and executed digital marketing strategy.
But Mueller’s talking about social media here, so let’s go over a few ways to get the most from your social following.
The point here is to make sure your social strategy includes plenty of ways to redirect your followers to your website.
To do so, make sure you’re including links in your status updates whenever applicable.
Include plenty of teaser text too. Treat your updates as you would a headline or subject line: make them intriguing, relevant, and interesting enough that your audience wants to know more.
And to know more, they have to click through to your website.
Also, make sure you’re scheduling and sending your posts out through software like MeetEdgar.
By optimizing your posts to be sent at the times when your audience is most active, you’ll increase the likelihood that they’ll see them and click.
And lastly, always watch your analytics.
It will tell you what’s working (and what’s not). If you see one of your post has a particularly high click-through rate, you’ll know that’s the kind of post you need to reproduce and include more of in your social strategy.
Concluding Google’s Tips
These tips are straight from the source, meaning they’re absolute gold in terms of Google SEO.
So don’t ignore them. Instead, work on how you can use them on your site today.
For more on Mueller’s Hangout, watch the full video below.