3 Quality Signals That Help Content Rank Higher in SERPs

Quality may be in the eye of the beholder, but in the case of Google, it’s in the eyes of crawlers.

From your text to your meta tags to your style sheets, Google looks at it all to understand the quality of your content.

Google gives insights into how they perceive quality. Relevant, comprehensive, well-structured, and engaging content earns the best looks. Let’s look at three strategies to elevate some of those signals in the eyes of Google.

1. Increase topic depth with semantic SEO

Although Google once looked only for keywords used to search, its natural language processing models now understand how search queries relate to each other. Semantic SEO is not only about optimizing for a single term but many keywords, phrases, and subtopics in the same space.

Semantic #SEO optimizes not for a single term but many related keywords, phrases, and subtopics, says @madmanick via @CMIContent.CLICK TO TWEETLet’s say you write a piece on interview software. You include references to interviews, candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers. Thanks to NLP models, Google recognizes these terms have a strong relationship with one another. Since your content contains all those related phrases, Google will perceive the page as having more topical depth than competing pages that don’t include all those terms.

This strategy is not a guessing game. It is called semantic richness. Tools like the one below from my company LinkGraph use machine learning and NLP algorithms to help you identify the most important semantic top-ranking terms, phrases, and subtopics based on your target keywords. You can incorporate them into your content to make it more semantically rich.

 Other semantic-rich SEO tools include LSIGraphSemantic.ioSemrush, etc.

As you improve the semantic richness of your content, don’t stuff it with keywords. Make sure the terms appear in a natural way that enhances the readability and overall usefulness.

As you improve the semantic richness of your #content, don’t stuff it with keywords, says @madmanick via @CMIContent. #SEOCLICK TO TWEETA week after your semantically rich content is live, see if your total number of organic keywords increases. You can do this through a Google Search Console account. Ensure the search phrases earning impressions are indeed relevant to your content’s subject matter.

2. Show topical breadth with your architecture

If you improve the first quality signal in your content, your pages will likely be longer. Make sure you don’t sacrifice other important quality indicator elements like information architecture.

Information architecture refers to how your content is labeled, structured, and organized. It also encompasses how the pages are organized in your site’s hierarchy. It would help if you created an SEO-friendly information architecture that signals users can easily navigate your content.

Include page titlesheading tagsinternal links, and anchor text in every piece of content. These items also are helpful for Google to understand how your content is interrelated. Internal links with contextual anchor text indicate other relevant, useful information can be found on your website.

Page titles, heading tags, internal links, and anchor text all help @Google see how your #content is interrelated, says @madmanick via @CMIContent. #SEOCLICK TO TWEETTo improve information architecture:

  • Include relevant internal links on every page. Add links to the most commonly visited or important pages in your menu and/or footer.
  • Remove duplicate content. If you must have similar content pages, use rel canonical tags to indicate which page is the master and which are the duplicates.
  • Upload a sitemap. Don’t leave it to Google crawlers to determine how your content is related. Create and submit it yourself. Want to do without coding? Use a site map generator tool.

 3. Reinforce topical authority with content clusters

If you mapped your site’s content, would it look like this?

Or would your site appear to have authority on a topic or two like this?

If your site tackles too many topics, Google is unlikely to perceive your site as having topical authority. A keyword cluster content model can help cement your topical authority. You pick a primary topic around which all the subtopics relate. Create content that revolves around those subjects, related questions, or long-tail phrases. Always include links to your internal pillar pages. A well-planned editorial calendar can help ensure you cover the topics and publish that content consistently.

If your site tackles too many topics, Google is unlikely to see your site as having topical authority, says @madmanick via @CMIContent. #SEOCLICK TO TWEETYou don’t need to limit your cluster content creation to your site. Backlinks to your content on relevant websites also can help your site’s topical authority. Google sees backlinks as indicators that others trust your content enough to link to it. Guest blogging, content marketing, and public relations can lead to opportunities to earn links on other domains.

Looking better to Google

By implementing all three of these strategies, you help Google see your high-quality content signals more clearly. In turn, Google will most likely reward your site by promoting your content more often and higher up in its search engine results pages.


All tools in the article are identified by the author. If you have a favorite tool to share, please add it in the comments.

Go deeper into the tech behind your content with Manick Bahn and others. Join us June 8 to 10 for the virtual ContentTECH Summit. Register today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Manick Bhan

Manick Bhan is the founder and CTO of LinkGraph, an award-winning, mission-driven SEO and digital marketing agency. Manick is also the creator, founder, and CEO of the SearchAtlas SEO software suite. As a growth hacker, data scientist, and skilled programmer, SEO is Manick’s greatest passion and his life’s work. Follow him on Twitter @madmanick.

Other posts by Manick Bhan


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3 Quality Signals That Help Content Rank Higher in SERPs