Written by Hailun (Marco) Feng
In May 2022, Google released a core algorithm update that broke the internet, at least for those who rely on search engines to drive customers for their businesses. Such updates are designed to make search results more relevant and will take one to two weeks to fully roll out.
While big brands saw drops in organic traffic, smaller publishers like Local Adventurer, The Blonde Abroad, and MarcoFeng.com gained improvements to their organic visibility from this update. And below are tips they shared about how they have maintained and optimized their content.
1: Understand the Search Intent
Optimizing for search is all about satisfying users’ intents. And to do so quickly. So before you rewrite your content or optimize it, think, if you were the user, what are you trying to accomplish when searching this query in Google? Is it to find a specific product or tips to complete a task effortlessly? Answer the question in the introduction, and don’t dance around it. If the question is too complicated to answer in one paragraph, give users some knowledge about it and elaborate later.
2: Study the SERP
Then, study the SERP (search engine results page) to identify the preferred structure by Google and topics that top-ranking pages often cover. There is a reason why they are ranking high up there. And look out for unique features like videos, image packs or carousels, rich appearance (a hint of Schema), or feature snippets to see how you can make your content better and more accessible.
3: Focus on Content Comprehensiveness and Structure
Once you understand the preferred page structure and sub-topics, it is time to write. Again, imagine yourself as the user and ensure your content is comprehensive yet not overwhelming, so users don’t have to exit and find part of their answers somewhere else.
4: Optimize for the Keyword, But Don’t Overdo It
Ten years ago, if you added the target keyword 50 times to the content, it would rank on page one, but that is no longer the case now, where user intent triumphs over everything. Yet, it is ok to optimize for keywords, but don’t overdo it. Instead, ensure it is included in important page elements like page H1, meta description, and a few times throughout the content. The more natural, the better; optimize for humans, not bots.
5: Add Unique Visuals and Internal Linking
In addition to optimizing content, adding original assets like visuals and videos gives your content a competitive edge! For instance, this article published on MarcoFeng.com in 2019 saw a 230% increase in organic traffic after an illustration was added to it. Internal links are important, too, and it is one of few metrics that are likely to impact performance and that search marketers also have control over. Aim for at least five internal links for each new content.
6: Remove Low-Quality Content
The saying that “the more, the better” doesn’t apply to the world of SEO, where old content will drag down the site’s quality and fresh score in the eyes of google. In contrast, a site with no or little deadweight and has its content frequently refreshed often performs much better organically.
While this sounds like a lot of work, it does pay off. And that’s how MarcoFeng.com grew to be one of the top travel sites, with more than 1.5 million readers annually, answering over 60,000 questions on travel, food, and crafts.
Hailun (Marco) Feng