SEO is always a puzzle to the professionals who are diligently practising it. Attaining higher search engine ranking is a fight and win situation, which requires a strategic approach and a long-term committed effort. If you are aiming at gaining high rankings in Google search, the first thing to have is a good insight into the Google algorithms and the methodologies Google adopt to rank the sites and pages.
Being refreshed every once in a while, the search engine algorithms responsible for taking information and organising it in the most relevant manner are always complicated. There are thousands of variables working in combination to determine the positioning of search results while each specific query is generated by the users.
However, considering all these variables one by one, you can still boil down most of these into two generic concepts as;
- Relevance, and
Even though both of these are assumed to have a perfect synchronisation in deciding the ranking prepositions, SEO specialists who do split-hair assessment of factors affecting search engine mechanisms always have this confusion in mind. Which one among these is most important when it comes to devising a winning SEO strategy?
This is a challenging question to find a perfect answer. But, here we are trying to further delineate these concepts in order to identify their nature and significance. Going through this, SEO specialists may get a better understanding of these and can effectively incorporate it at work to reap the best possible results.
1) The concept of ‘Relevance’ and how it works
The basic definition of ‘Relevance’ is that it is a measure on how appropriate a particular page is against a specific query. At the early stages of SEO, this was basically focusing around the keywords in the query against the keywords actually found on the indexed pages.
Putting it in simpler terms, if a user raised a search query with a keyword as “cheap restaurants Cincinnati,” search engines used to scour the internet for sites which used these exact key phrase at the vital positions as title tag, h1 tag, meta description, and body of the content.
So, the basic task of the content developers and SEO specialists were to stuff the most appropriate keywords at key positions to get on top. However, this paved way to irrelevant practices where the users finally got pages which just have the key phrases only at meta descriptions, but when it comes to the relevance of content, they had a pathetic experience.
Google completely ruled out this malpractice with the latest Hummingbird update in its search engine algorithm. After Hummingbird, Google has become much mightier in terms of exactly deciphering the user intention and started generating results, which perfect matched to the user needs.
Rather than the relying on the one-to-one match with the search and site keywords, now relevance of the content has become more important to show more specific results to the users. With this, a few started saying that there is no further relevance for keywords, but this is not true. Keywords are still as important as before, but in real, relevance is figured out more in an abstract way when compared to the older techniques.
Tip to SEO specialists – A few strategies which have a direct impact on the relevance of your website / page now include;
- Properly selecting your right niche
- Finding the most relevant topics for content marketing
- Adequate keyword research, and
- Optimum on-site optimisation efforts.
2) The nature and working of ‘Authority’
Authority is defined as the measure of trustworthiness of a web page or in other words ‘how valuable a page is’. Authority is generally defined in terms of the worthiness of an individual web page as ‘page authority’ or that of an entire website called as ‘domain authority.
Google search engine used a 10-point scale to score the authority using the mechanism of PageRank. The SEO specialists can still see the PageRank for any given site, but the values of PageRank are not updated by Google as of late, so it remains irrelevant now.
Replacing PageRank, now ‘Domain Authority’ has taken the lead in terms of ranking evaluation. The concept of Domain Authority is developed and maintained by Moz, which is an SEO company at Seattle. Meeting is purpose meaningfully now, Domain Authority acts as a proprietary measurement, which can predict how a particular website may perform at the search engines.
The scoring is done based on the quality and quantity of inbound links to the give page, in which the links are considered to be the highest correlating factor. Domain authority is considered to be a much insightful approach than PageRank as it is has a wider scale of 0 to 100 to measure authority. However, this is not fully perfect but still considered to be the best measure in terms of deciding authority of a particular domain as a whole or at a page level.
As far as authority is considered, there are various factors influencing the authority of a web page in Google evaluation. This remains so even if these factors don’t show any influence on the Moz’s domain authority or page authority values. Most of the SEO strategies are now oriented towards further building up this authority factor.
In a nutshell, authority is decided based on the volume and quality of relevant inbound links to your pages, in light of its structure and technical performance. So, this is one area optimisers need to focus on further, which demands a dedicated and unrelenting effort to succeed.
Tips to SEO specialists: When it comes to relevance, you can gain a higher authority (in the view of Google, but not for Moz) on having a site which has a better functionality as;
- Site optimised for mobile devices
- Quick loading, and
- With an optimised navigational structure etc.
With this, now you may have gained a better insight on the role and functionality of both relevance and authority concerned with your SEO efforts. Effectively tapping the potential of both and putting in a constant effort can surely take you on top in search engine results.