According to a new report, Google is valuing quality content as a major factor in search rankings.

How does Google define quality content?

Even though this won’t come as a shock to most marketers, the way Google determines quality is changing.

The study notes that signals such as time on page are having a bigger impact on rankings than in previous times. The idea behind this is you need to provide content that will keep the user engaged for a longer period of time.

1. Make content readable and relevant

The report found that the Flesch readability scale and word count rank factors have increased. Since 2014, the average length of text of the top 30 pages has increased by 25%. This generally makes sense – if you have short pages you are less likely to delve deeper into the subject matter. The readability scale makes sense too, you are less likely to keep visitors’ attention if your page is full of jargon and convoluted language.

2. Focus on user experience

Having a good user experience on your site is a must. If your content is easy to navigate and well-structured, people will most likely stay on your site for longer. Keeping visitors on the page for longer tells Google that they are finding your content relevant and interesting. Don’t forget to make your website responsive though, it’s great having perfect navigation for the desktop crowd, but if it doesn’t work on mobile you’re missing out on a lot of traffic!

3. Don’t worry too much about keywords

Keywords are still useful, but Google is leaning toward content that is both enjoyable and readable for the human audience. If you are writing content on a subject, you will most likely use relevant search terms anyway. The report noted that the keyword density in the top five pages has dropped since 2014.

4. Do social signals count?

It’s not yet know how much of an effect social signals has on rankings, but there is a positive correlation between SERP rankings and social signals. For example, web pages on position one have double the Facebook signals than position two, according to the report.

Even if the link isn’t particularly strong, the more shares you get on an article, the more people it’s going to reach. It will not only drive traffic to your site, it’s great for brand awareness too.

Read and comment on the original Econsultancy article.