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How understanding SEO means understanding the machines

Here’s a bit of extracurricular reading for those of you interested in the strategic direction of search engine optimisation. How machine learning impacts the need for quality content on Search Engine Land explains how search engines are constantly being reprogrammed to produce better results by improving their understanding of what a web page is actually saying.

What makes ‘quality content’ which will make a page rank increasingly higher in the search results? According to author Eric Enge, it’s content which meets the needs of the people being sent there. In turn, this means that:

  • The product/service/information they are looking for is present on the page.
  • They can find it with relative ease on the page.
  • Supporting products/services/information they want can also be easily found on the page.
  • The page/website gives them confidence that you’re a reputable source to interact with.
  • The overall design offers an engaging experience.

Note that these basic requirements do not necessarily mean lots of ‘content’ (i.e. words). It’s about having the right thing in place, clearly labelled and confidently presented. How the machines go about identifying this is challenging, but there are some of the most brilliant minds in the world working on it.