Site Rank Recovery [Lesson 2]: Educate Yourself and Improve Google Ranking

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  • Post last modified:January 19, 2024

Welcome to the second lesson of our “Site Rank Recovery – bringing your site back to life” series, where we delve deeper into the process of restoring your website’s rank, particularly after experiencing a decline due to Google’s algorithmic updates. As mentioned in the last lesson, this lesson focuses on the crucial aspect of “education”. So, let’s embark on a journey of learning and discover effective strategies on how to improve Google ranking.

Rewind Lesson No. 1 of Site Rank Recovery Tutorial Series…

In our previous lesson, we emphasized the significance of identifying any pages or posts that may have suffered a drop in rank following Google’s algorithmic updates. Have you made progress in this regard? Have you pinpointed the affected content, either through the assistance of Chat GPT Plus or by examining the data in your Google Sheet?

If you haven’t yet, I strongly encourage taking the time to assess your site’s performance using Google Search Console. Even if you believe your site remains unaffected by recent algorithmic changes, examining it through Google’s lens can provide valuable insights. Download the data into a Google Sheet, analyze it, and gain a comprehensive understanding of your site’s overall performance. This practice is beneficial and should ideally be conducted regularly, offering a wealth of keywords that can enhance your site’s SEO over time.

Alright, let’s move forward and focus on educating ourselves in our ongoing quest for site rank recovery.

Site Rank Recovery: Lesson -2 (Education)

Educate Yourself: Learn Effective Strategies on How to Improve Google Ranking

So, today we are going to learn, what Google really expects from us as content publishers. In a broader sense, we aim to unravel the intricacies of algorithmic updates, staying attuned to the latest developments. This knowledge will empower us to identify the areas for enhancement and improvement, and thereby safeguarding our site from rank drops.

Although this might feel like a solitary learning experience, self-education on these matters is exceptionally crucial, in my personal opinion. Later, in this lesson, I’ll discuss three key sources that will prove to be invaluable to you as well.

Lesson 2 of the Site Rank recovery tutorial series is structured into four main sections:

  1. Why education? – An overview
  2. What exactly is helpful content?
  3. How to determine whether your content is helpful or not?
  4. Three Essential Sources for Google Knowledge

Let’s embark on this educational journey to fortify our understanding of Google’s expectations and pave the way for a resilient site rank, learning effective strategies on how to improve Google ranking.

1. Why should you educate yourself?

Understanding these algorithmic updates is super important because you’re essentially trying to future-proof your business by staying on top of Google search results. To be honest, I really like to be humble when it comes to knowledge about all of this stuff, because there is always something more to learn. You can even go to Google and look at their patents and try to determine the secrets of Google. In fact, lots of online entrepreneurs have done it already.

Just like your website is always changing and growing, so is Google. They’re also always adapting, evaluating, and tweaking things. However, the only person or entity who knows how Google works and what they want is Google itself. They don’t spill up every single algorithmic secret, but they do give us tools, training, and info to help us understand what they’re looking for. The latest updates are like a real eye-opener for a lot of people.

So, it’s important to stay humble when you read and accumulate knowledge from this stuff.

There are so many dynamic elements in the whole thing. Something I absorb from these sources and apply to my site or my clients’ sites; these things often work well for me. However, the same thing might not work for you but work for someone else or vice versa. So, you have to refine the process to find a way to work with your site successfully. And you can do it when you get completely educated with these things.

2. What exactly is the helpful content?

I’m highlighting this because the latest algorithmic update is specifically focused on promoting helpful content – it’s essentially the “helpful content update”. If you’ve done your homework and checked the resources from the last lesson, you’ll understand why it’s named as such. The core of this update revolves around Google’s perception of what qualifies as helpful content.

Now, what exactly is helpful content? It’s content that solves a problem. For instance, if I ask you how to knot a tie, a helpful answer would be a step-by-step guide showing me how to do it. The same principle applies here. When you type “How to knot a tie” into the Google search box, you get over 13 million+ search results. Among these, check which page or blog post appears at the top.

Focus on search intent to Improve Google Ranking

At the summit, you may find a few YouTube links, as video demonstrations are popular nowadays and hence rank pretty well. As your interest is in blogposts, Just scroll below, and you may find some blog posts, that effectively answer the query and aligns with the search intent.

For example, if you look at the top result – the #1 blog post – it provides a detailed process on how to tie a knot. People find real-life help from that post, and that’s why it holds the #1 position in Google search results.

So, in essence, helpful content means providing a proper and effective solution to the user’s query.

3. How to determine if your content is helpful?

It’s weird, isn’t your content already helpful?

How can you tell if your content is truly helpful? It might seem odd, as you probably believe your content is already helpful. But here’s a question to ponder: “Does your post address the search intent?” Search intent refers to the purpose behind a user’s search, whether it’s finding out who, what, where, when, why, or how something is done – like a how-to guide, a location search, or a review.

So, does your content fulfill the search intent? Are you offering a solid answer or review? Perhaps summarizing the information?

Let me illustrate with an example.

Suppose you ask Google, “What is the best hardside luggage?” Google churns out a whopping 64 million results, but only 10 of those make it to the coveted first page.

Focus on search intent for Site rank Recovery - 2

Look at the top-ranking answers in those blog posts.

There may be elaborate descriptions inside these articles, but right away the authors provide the answer at the top – a list of recommended hardside luggage based on their experiences. If someone wants a quick answer to their query, they get it right away. Others who want more details can scroll down.

Conventionally, first, you go through the history of the topic, who they are, why they are, why did they get paid, and eventually get to the actual search intent – much like an old-fashioned recipe blog; this is something that modern people and Google tend to dislike.

What you should do instead is address the search intent as soon as possible, and then introduce additional information. In addition, focus on providing a good user experience.

Another important thing: In case of query-solving blogs, it’s advisable not to place the featured image at the top; preferably put it on the sidebar. Often this strategy proves to be effective in improving Google ranking, as visitors can access the answer without the need for scrolling down. You can introduce a related image after answering the search intent.

4. Sources for Google knowledge

Let’s explore the three key sources I consistently rely on for valuable information on Google and its algorithmic updates. I’ve relied on these sources for an extensive period because I think, they hold genuine authority in this field.

1. Google Search Central

This serves as the web documentation of the search console. It features an excellent blog that’s brimming with valuable insights. You can find it here.

Since this documentation comes directly from Google, it’s the most reliable resource that you should regularly follow to consistently improve your website’s ranking.

Below, I’ve highlighted a set of queries extracted from the mentioned page. These queries are directly linked to content quality, as specified by Google.

  1. Does the content provide original information, reporting, research, or analysis?
  2. Does the content provide a substantial, complete, or comprehensive description of the topic?
  3. Does the content provide insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond the obvious?
  4. If the content draws on other sources, does it avoid simply copying or rewriting those sources, and instead provide substantial additional value and originality?
  5. Does the main heading or page title provide a descriptive, helpful summary of the content?
  6. Does the main heading or page title avoid exaggerating or being shocking in nature?
  7. Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
  8. Would you expect to see this content in or referenced by a printed magazine, encyclopedia, or book?
  9. Does the content provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
  10. Does the content have any spelling or stylistic issues?
  11. Is the content produced well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
  12. Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?

Despite always being taught to follow certain practices for high-quality blogging, you are still the victim of SEO, why?

The desire to achieve organic ranking for specific keywords often leads to over-reliance on SEO plugins and tools. You continuously edit and re-edit your posts to meet the criteria or score set by these tools, and eventually be prompted to purchase their pro version for supposedly more improved SEO.

The problem arises as these SEO tools are saturated with relative keywords and technical SEO elements, causing a loss in the quality of the articles. This very issue is the basis of the entire algorithmic update. The intense focus on SEO often results in a loss of the authentic essence of the content.

Instead of being so SEO-centric, if you approach your content with a subjective eye, by following the above checklist, you’ll find a much wider room for improvements.

This Google search central, you can say it the bible for Google; indeed, it’s a crucial resource to follow if you aspire to rank on Google. I strongly recommend bookmarking it and revisiting its contents regularly. This source is particularly reliable because it originates directly from Google itself.

2. Search engine Land

This is a substantial blog, functioning more like a news agency, reporting on current events. The authors here provide valuable insights, in form of guest posts. For a deeper understanding of Google’s recent updates on helpful content, check out this specific article.

Within this article, the author outlines a 7-step process for improving SEO and Google ranking. Notably, the suggestion regarding helpful content is presented in the 4th point.

The article emphasizes that helpful content doesn’t mean more content. To rank on Google, it’s unnecessary to write a thousand words. Including extraneous information beyond the search intent may not be well-received by visitors, leading to a potential drop in your ranking as it may not be perceived as helpful content.

Explore the article for more detailed suggestions; there’s a wealth of information waiting for you.

3. Twitter or “X”

If Twitter = ‘X’, what’s the term for posting something on Twitter? Is it called ‘X-ing’ something? Just joking.

Anyway, Twitter serves as another valuable source for real user cases and opinions related to your learning.

The Helpful Content Update is often referred to as H.C.U. on Twitter. If you enter H.C.U. in the search bar on Twitter (‘X’), you’ll find valuable information on the topic.

If you don’t have a Twitter account or choose not to use it, that’s perfectly fine. I’m just sharing the resources I personally utilize to enhance both my own and my clients’ websites.

Conclusive Remarks

In the previous lesson, you learned to analyze site performance through Google Search Console and Google Sheets or Chat GPT Plus. In this lesson, we are very much focused on education.

This lesson emphasizes the importance of education in understanding and adapting to Google’s algorithmic updates for effective site rank recovery. The concept of “helpful content” is explored, stressing the significance of aligning with search intent to improve Google ranking. You are encouraged to check the content from Google Search Central as a reliable source directly from Google.

Also, the pitfalls of overreliance on SEO tools are highlighted here, with a call to prioritize content authenticity over excessive optimization. So, must keep it in mind. Check the specific sources, such as Google Search Central and the mentioned insightful article on Search Engine Land; these are recommended for deeper insights and practical tips.

Also, Twitter is introduced here as a valuable platform for real user cases and opinions on trending topics, like the Helpful Content Update (HCU). It’s an optional resource for you.

Overall, the threads in this lesson provide a comprehensive education for site owners and content creators to navigate the evolving landscape of SEO, emphasizing continuous learning, authenticity, and adapting strategies for sustained success.

In the next lesson, we shall organize ourselves proper way.

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