Google’s new Page Experience Algorithm is rolling out as we speak, along with another recent core algorithm change and another coming next week. These latest changes all work together to help promote pages in the search results that provide useful and correct information as well as a smooth user experience.
We’re proud of the fact that over 55% of the traffic to the SHE Media Partner Network is from organic search. But it didn’t happen overnight, nor did it happen without partners, editorial teams and writers who take their content seriously. They’ve educated themselves on the workings of Google and lean into data to make their content decisions. If you’ve been hustlin’ away on your blog and aren’t seeing any traffic from Google organic, it’s time to ask yourself the hard questions!
1. How much do you know about SEO?
That’s a fair question, right? There’s an entire industry dedicated to understanding and consulting on search engine optimization. Google changes things all the time, and it can be hard to keep up. But as a blogger, you should at least know the basics of optimizing your content for search. Otherwise, how will you know what factors into Google’s algorithm? There are some SEO tools that will certainly make optimization easier, but more important than tools is the general knowledge of how Google and SEO actually work.
Google’s organic rankings are more competitive than ever. Your content is up against literally millions of others targeting the same topic and key phrases. It’s important for you to know both technical SEO best practices and also on-page SEO best practices. If you’re looking to learn more, here are some resources for you:
But it’s not just knowing how to optimize your articles for SEO before it goes live that’s important; there are certain Search fundamentals to understand as well.
1. When you make technical changes to your site, you won’t see the impact over night. On average, it can take up to 6 months for Google to fully recognize the impact of things like taxonomy updates, redesigns, and migrations.
2. Your rankings can decrease and organic traffic can drop without you necessarily doing anything wrong. Over the years we’ve seen plenty of great quality get outranked content due to uncontrollable things, such as domain strength of competitors or an increase in competition targeting the same terms.
2. How often are you posting on your blog?
“How often should I be posting?” is one of the most common questions we get when working with our SHE Media partners. A lack of consistent publishing on content sites sends a big flag to Google that your blog may not be maintained the way that it should. It is, of course, quality over quantity, but also, the more high-quality content you have published, the more authoritative Google will consider you. Not all niches require the same rate of content published, but for the typical blogger, your goal should be to publish at least 3-4 high-quality blog posts a week. Bloggers in the news biz would aim for higher.
Read more on publishing frequency recommendations.
3. Is there thin, low-quality content on your blog?
Thin content is referring to content that is by standards, low-quality and does not thoroughly cover the topic at hand. This can mean old, outdated articles, but age isn’t necessarily an indicator of thin content. Google doesn’t want this type content appearing in the search results and if they uncover enough of it appearing on a site, they may penalize the site altogether.
When we talk to our publishing partners about this concern, their responses are typically about the content they create now, but Google is looking at all content on your site. If you can think back to all the content you’ve created over the years, and feel you may have thin content, we recommend weeding through it and either removing the low quality stuff or updating it. Use Google Analytics to find posts that no longer get traffic. Once you’ve done that, you can decide which path to take next. If it’s a topic you would still write about today, and it’s still relevant to your brand, then make it better. Flesh it out, get new images, rewrite paragraphs: make it not thin. If you find content on your site with angles that you’d never in a million years write about today, dump them!
And as you move forward with your content, keep the evergreen pieces up to date from year to year by refreshing them.
4. Are you over-doing it with affiliate links?
A common myth is that affiliate links are bad for SEO, but that’s not necessarily the case. If your blog post has exceptional content that happens to link to a product via an affiliate link, that’s fine. Products throughout your posts should align with your niche so they don’t feel out of place. If you are using affiliate links throughout your content, make sure your content goes above and beyond on the user value. Thin content plus affiliate links are the kiss of death when it comes to SEO, you won’t stand a chance.
More details on SEO and affiliate marketing working together.
5. Are you (or the blog post author) an expert on the topic you’re writing about?
Several years back, Google came out with some guidelines on E-A-T, which stands for expertise, authoritativeness and trust. You can read more about it here, but Google confirmed that it’s a part of their algorithm. The details of exactly how, remain unknown, but the idea is that for certain content niches (primarily ones where misinformation can result in actual harm to your life and well-being, like medical information, legal advice, or finance), Google has stricter qualifications for the results.
Even if your content doesn’t fall within those YMYL (your money, your life) topics, Google heavily favors qualified experts in the search results. It’s important that you too, know what you’re talking about on your blog. It helps with the quality, the authenticity, and the passion behind your words. Readers can tell.
6. How is the user experience on your blog, particularly on mobile?
Have you checked? When was the last time you spent 30 minutes on your phone, navigating through your website the way a user would? Here are some things to look for.
Speed – Did it take too long to load? This is a serious issue from a user perspective. If the content hasn’t loaded on the site in several seconds max, the odds are the user will head back to the results and pick again. Use tools like PageSpeed Insights, GTMetrix and familiarize yourself with Core Web Vitals and CLS.
Navigation – Can the user move seamlessly throughout your pages? Adding related internal links towards the bottom of your post can assist in getting the user to view one more page on your site. Can the user get back to the homepage easily? It’s also helpful to have a search feature so users can look even deeper into the site for the information they’re looking for.
Security – Users care about this now more than ever. It ties back to the topic of trust. Make sure your blog is on a secure server (https vs http). If you’re not, reach out to your hosting provider today and they can help!
7. What is the ad experience like?
For publishers monetizing with display media, traffic equals revenue. We believe you can have ads on your posts and also have great success with organic search. Make sure ads don’t pop up over the content, or pop up at all for that matter. Videos shouldn’t auto play, especially with sound.
Don’t overdo it on the number of ads per post. A major benefit of being a SHE Media Partner is that we work with you to find just the right setup for your ads. The content on your pages should load before your ads because this takes a lot of the general annoyance from the user.
Read more on how to make more money with the same number of ads.
8. Is your blog post better than those currently ranking for your target keywords?
Think to yourself, if you were a user landing on your post, would you be satisfied? If not, what is it missing? A good place to check is the Google search results. Google the search query that would make the most sense for your almost-published new piece and see who is actually ranking. Do what they do but better! Look at article length, information included, media assets like images, video or infographics, etc. Provide useful information to the reader and make it interesting.
Organic search traffic doesn’t happen overnight for most bloggers. It can take many months and a lot of hard work on a consistent basis. But keep writing interesting articles for your audience, optimize your posts and value your user above your revenue. It will pay off in the long run.
The SHE Media Partner Network helps content creators and entrepreneurs build sustainable businesses with dedicated support for managing ads, brand partnerships, and more. Apply now to join our mission-driven platform.