Relevant and engaging content is becoming more important when determining search engine rankings on Google, according to a new study published by Searchmetrics. The software and analytics enterprise found that overall “content relevance” is one of the biggest movers in terms of SERPs factors.
Searchmetrics analysed the top 20 search results for thousands of keywords on Google in order to identify what exactly high-ranking web pages have in common while also providing further insights and data for SEO experts and marketers to leverage. The main takeaway is that pages that feature on the first page of SERPs are significantly more relevant than others.
Content relevance has taken on a greater role in SEO recently, and this is reflected in the fact that Google appears to recognise when certain content is better suited to a search query. It then gives this content a boost in the rankings. Searchmetrics noted that it is not a clinical method based on the number of keywords but rather on how it serves a user’s intent.
“The most relevant content ultimately ranks by trying to match user intent – whether a searcher is looking to answer a question quickly, shopping or researching,” Searchmetrics founder and CTO Marcus Tober said.
He added: “Someone who types ‘who won Superbowl 50?’ wants a single piece of information, while a query like ‘Halloween costume ideas’ is most likely to best feature a series of images. A query on ‘how to tie a Windsor knot’ might be best served with video content. Our research suggests Google is getting better at interpreting user intent to show the most relevant content.”
Searchmetrics introduced a Content Relevance score for the first time this year, and it rates just how closely search queries and content shown in results are related. To make it more meaningful, the calculation also excludes simple keyword matches. The data shows that URLs in positions three to six in SERPs have the highest content relevance, as the places at the very top are typically reserved for branded web pages.
One other interesting trend is the fact that the number of words on higher-ranked pages is steadily increasing. Searchmetrics claims that this is because leading results often cover more important aspects of the topic queried and are more in-depth.