Just like in high school, popularity is prestige.

If you’ve ever wondered why most of the articles you see online—whether they be on Facebook, Twitter, or from the Huffington Post—seem to be watered-down aggregations of content in the form of an enumerated list, consider this: are the pieces really "watered-down" or are they just organized in a way that makes them more appealing and readable? Perhaps the truth rests somewhere in-between both perspectives. However, one thing's for sure: the majority of content published on the web today is structured with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, which means that a thorough understanding of SEO is paramount in order to assure your content is being spread and viewed by a vast plurality of audiences. SEO has turned content publishing into a popularity contest.

Does your SEO have what it takes to stay at the cool kids' table?

How Does SEO Work

If I search kangaroo on Google, I am immediately given 74 million related results (websites) in less than a second. If I search Kangaroo Jack in Korea 2003 with the guy from Breaking Bad and Pikachu, this time I am only given eight results.

You see Google uses a complex algorithm to score every website; they do the same thing with every individual search. The search engine then compares those two scores and generates website links—in a ranked order—based on the results. The ranking system Google uses is based on a number of factors: the quality of your site, how many sites link to you, how trusted your site is, etc. There are hundreds of factors that go into Google’s calculations, which means you’ll likely want to satisfy them all in order to gain the most exposure.

It may not be possible to satisfy every factor in the algorithm, at least not right away, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. If you consistently deliver quality, credible content that people can share and engage with, your website’s ascension through the ranks is almost guaranteed.

The Big Three in SEO: Quality, Trust, and Authority
  1. Quality

    Is your website offering something valuable? What is your website offering that competitors are not? The key here is uniqueness. If your content is just a regurgitation of something you saw someone else create previously, it’s not going to rank well.

  2. Trust

    If your website is constantly given bad reviews, you can expect some penalization from Google. If you want to show you are credible and trustworthy, try to get some support from sites, companies, and individuals who have already established their credibility online; doing this will definitely go a long way.

  3. Authority

    Call it authority or popularity, the point is still the same: Google is only interested in showing the most popular results at the top of its lists. If you want to gain the kind of authority Google is looking for, enlist a fan base; get a body of subscribers and supporters on your side. The more people who can vouch for your content, the more willing Google is to put it in the upper echelons of their search results.

IN CONCLUSION...

Even if you don't have the know how to work on all the technical aspects of SEO, you can at least create rich, quality content that your audience is interested in and publish it regularly. This should help your content get distributed which will give you a greater chance of increasing traffic, reaching people organically, and, ultimately, winning this popularity contest.

Just FYI, with the help of an SEO consultant, you can ensure that this all happens quickly and without mistakes so that your time is best utilized.

Want some help getting started with your SEO? Download our quick SEO Overview & Checklist to start optimizing your website for quality organic traffic.