5 Steps to SEO Relevance – How to Attain Top 5 Rankings and Earn Featured Snippet Visibility in Google Search

How to attain or restore your Top 5 rankings in Google search, while also increasing the chances of your site appearing as a Featured Snippet result above the fold:

Guide type: actionable

Target audience: websites that lost (or would like to gain) top positions and/or featured snippets visibility in Google following a string of recent Google search algorithm updates

Google has recently confirmed its March 7th search algorithm update. Interestingly, this algorithm update was primarily focused on relevance and not necessarily on quality.

Search Engine Journal has just published an article explaining John Mueller’s thoughts on relevance in connection to the March 7th Google algorithm update.

Here is our synopsis of what John Muller had to say in regards to the above update:

You can have a quality website that becomes less relevant overtime — this could result in a loss of organic search visibility in Google.

Now, John Mueller, predictably and naturally, does not give you the specifics or tell you how to make your “quality website” more relevant other than suggesting you get feedback from your users on how to improve, but never fear! This guide offers five actionable steps on how to make your website more relevant.

But first, here is a more detailed explanation on the March 7th update from Search Engine Journal:

First, Mueller clears up some confusion by explaining that most of Google’s algorithm updates are focused on relevance. If rankings were affected by last month’s update, it’s not an indication that a site’s content is of low quality.

A lot of sites lose relevance over time, Mueller says, regardless of how high quality the content is. When it comes to figuring out how to make a site more relevant, Mueller suggests getting feedback from users about what you could be doing differently to improve the site overall.

So, what is relevance and how to make your website more relevant?

Relevance in the eyes of Google is how well a given page on a given website answers the search query of a user. The reason we mention a “website” and not just a page, is because a website’s overall topical authority and relevance certainly play a role in determining the relevance of any given page.

That being said, here are the top 5 steps to relevance and hence visibility in Google aka yours and your company’s path to great riches! 😉

  1. Publish fresh, original, highly relevant, engaging, and compelling content to delight your audience
  2. It’s crucial to keep your website’s content, fresh, original unique, and relevant.

    Whenever you provide another compelling and thematically-relevant article to delight your audience, you are also making the other pages of your website more relevant, especially the ones you reference or link to internally.

    That’s right, not letting your website content get stale and providing ongoing thought leadership is the key. — You can achieve this by publishing extremely helpful (practically useful 10X content) and/or thought-provoking, compelling and highly-engaging articles.

  3. Keeping your evergreen cornerstone content evergreen
  4. Don’t just simply refresh that old, static, evergreen content on your website. Update it for real! Keep it fresh, relevant and useful! And oh yeah, update the date of the article, after you are done with the refresh. This will help improve the click-through rates in Google and enhance your page’s relevance.

  5. Make important information and data in your articles easy to find
  6. Don’t make the user scroll down like crazy to find the key information.

    Prioritize the placement of the key facts and make relevant info easy to find. Not only it will help prevent unnecessary bounces, but when executed well, this can also help you win that coveted featured snippet visibility in Google. — That’s one of my specialties, by the way! 😉

  7. Keep on earning those organic signals of relevance aka links
  8. As you probably know, I hate the idea of building links for the sake of building links and I think that approach can easily back fire, especially if you are working on a new website.

    Fact: Many marketers and inexperienced SEOs don’t realize how easy it is to over-do the link building, especially if you are buying links from a link building service that gets your links from the same poisoned well — not even necessarily PBNs (private blog networks — a great way to get your site penalized), but rather authoritative sites that fit a pattern of selling links. In the end, it’s rather easy to fall in a trap of paying for links that hurt your website. Call it the unintended consequence of trying to game Google search.

    Did you know? Google are experts at recognizing unnatural link patterns thanks to their ever-evolving machine learning algorithms.

    In fairness, sometimes it may be helpful to orchestrate a few strategic and seemingly natural link placements to get some link momentum going, but you have to know what you’re doing and you should never buy links blindly.

    That being said, earning links organically is the true grail of SEO success and the ultimate relevance signal among others, especially if your organic link acquisition rate exceeds that of your competitors.

    We suggest that having extremely useful and helpful content is the key to earning links naturally, as well as getting social media citations. All of these are signals of relevance.

  9. Let those user comments be a signal of freshness and relevance
  10. Comments are a form of user generated content that can help keep your site’s content relevant. Are people engaging with your content? If so, use it to your advantage. Keep the comments clean and provide thoughtful and timely responses. Every new, quality question or comment on your evergreen article can be an important signal of relevance.

Bonus ideas to improve engagement and natural link acquisition:

  • Great UX to keep users on site longer, thus improving your site’s relevance signals – dare to exceed user expectations
  • Engaging and relevant links within your site’s articles and a clear path to conversion – keep the users engaged and optimize for conversions
  • Quality videos embedded within your articles can help boost engagement, enhance trust, and improve conversions
  • A robust FAQ section = engagement, overcoming resistance, and ultimately conversions – this can also be a form of linkable asset
  • A robust Q and A section – where users can ask questions and get answers
    Linkable assets: free industry tools, calculators, original analysis and research, and data-rich articles

Author: Aleksandr Biyevetskiy

Global SEO consultant and trusted adviser to Kaspersky Lab, Fortune 1000 Companies, and numerous Startups. Formerly, an SEO Lead at a top-rated national SEO agency Catalyst Digital. The agency was rated as the best organic search partner for enterprises by Forester Research during my tenure with the company. Favorite Tools of the Trade: SEMRush, MOZ, Botify, AHREFs, Majestic, DeepCrawl, Screaming Frog, Google Analytics, Web Trends, Omniture, ClickTale, BrightEdge, Conductor, HubSpot.

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