Every webmaster and SEO is working hard to land themselves, or their clients, some prime SERP real estate.
Formerly foolproof SEO strategies no longer have the juice they once did, and many of the tricks of the trade have all but had the legs cut from under them.
So, what is a savvy webmaster or SEO to do? The answer is simple.
With these 5 signals, we reapply ourselves and concentrate on that which will always win Google’s heart, giving us some real traction in the search results.
Let’s get started and define everything in greater detail.
SEOs live in a world of acronyms, and the signals to win Google and more traffic can be easily remembered by a single word. QUART.
QUART stands for:
Now, these are all terms that should be familiar to SEOs and webmasters. There’s nothing new here.
Alan Bleiweiss initially wrote about this concept back in 2013 as The 5 SEO Super-Signals.
But, in the wake of Google’s various updates, it is important to reapply ourselves to these 5 SEO signals, and to learn to leverage them to improve online performance.
Q is for Quality
Quality has always been an SEO watchword. We all know that we need to produce quality content, and that our link profiles need to built on high-quality links.
But, it goes beyond those simple rules. Yes, you need to deliver high quality content.
However, that content also has to be rich, relevant and informative.
That means producing more than a few random paragraphs every other week that are only tangentially related to your product or service.
High quality content, which ultimately leads to earned links, must be crafted to reinforce your brand’s authority and trustworthiness.
But, they must do more than that. They must provide a unique, and valuable, user experience.
User experience is fast becoming one of the most important metrics to watch, and you absolutely must deliver a quality experience for visitors.
Beyond the on page content, you need to think about the site’s navigation and layout.
Is it user friendly? What about page speed? Are pages excruciatingly slow to load? And what about those links and widgets? Do they outweigh the content and obscure your message?
Quality is about more than content. It’s about how a visitor interacts with you, your website, and your brand.
U is for Uniqueness
Creating unique content remains an SEO basic.
However, the days of content for content’s sake are long gone. It’s not enough to churn out a lightweight blog post every week and stuff it with a few links.
Content can no longer be used as merely a trick to rank for given search terms or phrases. Quite simply, creating low level content will not benefit anyone…you or your visitors.
Unique content is still a driving force, but it must be tied to quality, authority, relevance, and trust.
Content must offer value to the user, and the contextual links must add value and be trustworthy. Google has always focused on user experience, and your content must deliver on all fronts.
Add unique images to your content as well. Take the time to overlay some simple text using Photoshop to drive your topic even further.
Creating great headlines and persuasive content is something we should all think about more too.
The best way to create unique content? Use tools such as Ahrefs’ Content Explorer to find content that is being shared a lot, and write a better version of it!
Unique content will receive more social shares, make you stand out as an expert, and untimely increase traffic to your website.
A is for Authority
Authority is a tricky signal to manage. There is a lot of noise out there, and you need to find ways to cut through the racket and get noticed.
But, you need to be noticed for the right reasons. While regular blog posts can help to establish authority in your niche, they have to be properly managed.
Do you know your stuff? More importantly, do you have a presence online beyond your weekly posts? Is your name synonymous with authority in your field, or is it just another anonymous byline?
It’s time to look beyond your own blog. Social signals are strongly becoming a major metric for SEO strategies, and they have an impact on how your brand is perceived by the public as well as search engines.
Leverage your social media outlets, with an emphasis on delivering quality content that provides real value to your followers. This will not only help to establish your authority, but will also reinforce your brand’s relevance and trustworthiness.
But, don’t stop at social media with establishing and growing your authority.
Make sure you’re contributing to your top industry blogs regularly via guest posts. In the beginning, this is really the only place you should focus your writing efforts.
When you do write on your own blog, make sure your link out to authority sites to further drive your point.
Authority is extremely important to raise your domain’s trust and to position your website and content out in front.
R is for Relevance
We’re not talking keywords here, well sort of. Since Hummingbird rolled out, Google has focused on topical relevance, primarily.
What does this mean? Obviously, your content will use keywords that tie in with your topic. But, the contextual content matters more. Cover your topic well and stay true to your focus and goals.
When it comes to relevance, you need to think holistically.
Every aspect of your SEO strategy should be reinforced by the concept of relevance, from your content to your links to your social media presence.
Is your message and purpose clear, and clearly represented in all of your on page and off page SEO tactics?
Naturally, writing on guest blogs should follow this same line of thinking.
Take a look at what your competition is doing. Model their behavior and take it one step further.
Having a highly relevant website and consistent voice across the web will pay dividends in increasing chances for more search engine results pages, aka SERPs.
T is for Trust
Finally we come to the trust factor. There is no way to cheat, or rush, trustworthiness.
It’s a slow build, and it is rooted in creating a positive user experience. Trust starts with creating content that is authoritative, and that offers real value to the end user.
Remember, garbage content produces garbage results. Trust builds through accurate and up to date directory profiles, solid content, and it is ultimately fueled by ongoing social media interaction.
Are you using your social media outlets to engage with the public, or to merely promote your products and services?
Are you interacting with your followers, and responding professionally to any complaints or concerns?
Does your online presence, both on site and off, speak to your reliability and determination to offer a quality experience to the public, or are you only making a big noise?
It’s with trust that you continue to shape your brand’s presence with consistent signals that echo your goals across the web.
You should have noticed, that throughout this article, there was a great deal of crossover between our 5 Google winning SEO signals.
As I’ve said before, there is no single silver bullet. SEO, like the world wide web, is a complex environment.
Action begets reaction, and everything is constantly in flux. These 5 basic SEO signals must work in tandem to achieve long lasting results.
Where one is lacking, another must pick up the slack. Consistency is the key, and QUART the watchword.