Google aims to rank the most relevant results for searchers. So if your content isn’t relevant, it won’t rank.
But relevance isn’t just about including your keyword a bunch of times. In fact, it isn’t about that at all.
In this guide, you’ll learn how to create relevant content that Google wants to rank.
It does this in a variety of ways.
According to Google, the most basic relevance signal is whether your content contains the same keywords as the search query.
Relevance goes beyond simple keyword matching. Google also checks to see if the page contains other relevant keywords.
For example, if a page is about Apple, then the page will also, inevitably, include relevant things like iPhone, iPad, App Store, iOS, MacBook, and so on.
Recommended reading: Google’s Knowledge Graph Explained: How It Influences SEO
On the same page, Google also mentions this:
This is partly why the top-ranking results for “apple” are about the technology company and not the fruit. Google knows from interaction data that most searchers are looking for the maker of the iPhone.
In the same vein, this is one reason why freshness can be important. For queries that are dependent on freshness—for example, football transfers, election results, etc.—searchers want to see the latest news. And Google prioritizes those results over the rest.
According to Google, relevance (in terms of local rankings) refers to how well a local business profile matches what someone is searching for.
Relevance is specific to each query. So before you can create “relevant” content, you need to make sure you have keywords you want to target.
If you have not done this step, do it now. You can follow the process in this video to find keywords you want to rank for.
Recommended reading: Keyword Research: The Beginner’s Guide by Ahrefs
We’ve established earlier that a key aspect of relevance is whether searchers find the search results useful. That means Google is constantly figuring out why searchers are looking for that query, i.e., search intent. Google then serves results it thinks fulfills that intent.
This means if you want to rank high on Google, you need to find out what the search intent for your target keyword is. And since Google works to show the most relevant results, we can actually look at the top-ranking pages to figure out the three Cs of search intent:
For example, let’s say we want to rank for “best frying pans.” Let’s analyze the three Cs for this keyword:
To rank for this keyword, you’ll likely have to create a “best frying pan” list post updated to the current year.
Recommended reading: What Is Search Intent? A Complete Guide for Beginners
To deserve a place on the first page of Google, you’ll need to cover all the things searchers expect and want to know.
How do you do this?
Again, we’ll turn to relevant top-ranking pages to find out what we should be covering.
Subheadings offer quick insights into what searchers are looking for, especially if there are the same or similar ones across the top-ranking pages.
For example, if we look at the top-ranking pages for “guest blogging,” it’s likely we’ll have to talk about subtopics like these:
A quick way to view all the subheadings in a post is to install Ahrefs’ SEO Toolbar and use the free content report (what I did above).
A page can rank for hundreds of different keywords. Most of them will be different ways of searching for the same topic, whereas some will be important subtopics you’ll want to cover.
Here’s how to find these subtopics:
We can see the pages also rank for subtopics like these:
In recent years, Google has introduced the People Also Ask (PAA) box for most queries:
These questions offer insights into other things searchers may want to know. You can use a tool like AlsoAsked to pull all the PAA questions related to the topic you’re targeting:
Finally, there’s no better substitute than simply going through each page manually to see if you’ve missed out on anything.
Once you’re done with your research, get cracking and create your content.
Besides creating content, there are a few more ways to demonstrate to Google that your content is relevant.
You’ve done the hard part—creating a thorough, relevant piece of content that Google and searchers want to see. Now, it’s time to put the “icing” on the cake and make it doubly clear to Google and searchers your page is relevant.
You’ll do this by optimizing the “technical” stuff, i.e., the page’s on-page SEO. Here are the basics you need to do:
Recommended reading: On-Page SEO: The Beginner’s Guide
Content hubs (also known as topic clusters) are interlinked collections of content about a similar topic. They consist of three parts:
Google looks at links and their anchor text to understand a page’s content and, therefore, relevance.
For example, if a site about coffee links to your page about coffee, it “affirms” to Google that your page is about coffee. Makes sense, right?
It works the same way for internal links too.
Most links do provide a bit of additional context through their anchor text. At least they should, right‽
— johnmu of switzerland (personal) (@JohnMu) November 23, 2017
So by connecting your pages using relevant internal links in a content hub, it helps to build semantic relationships between your content.
Furthermore, because of the perceived value of a hub—as people usually prefer to link to the best, most useful resource on a topic—content hubs tend to attract a lot of backlinks. Not only does this improve relevance, but it can also help to boost rankings (links are an important Google ranking factor!).
I recommend following the guide below to learn more about how to create a content hub.
Recommended reading: Content Hubs for SEO: How to Get More Traffic and Links With Topic Clusters
If links help to establish relevance, then the logical next step is to build more of them.
Link building is a whole topic on its own, so I recommend watching this video to get started:
We have tons of resources about link building on our blog too, so you should check them out:
Want more resources on how to create great, relevant content that ranks? Check these out:
Any questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.
Source: ahrefs.com, originally published on 2022-08-03 01:10:16