Rand Fishkin of the Moz team is back with another webinar aimed at explaining how Google is now analysing blog content for quality and relevance. We’ve summed up his key points.

Keyword Compatibility

The first idea that Rand puts forward is a simple one at the outset, but actually requires a high level of sophisticated interaction between your site and Google. Basically, Google is analysing your site’s content in terms of keyword compatibility. Not following us? Rand uses the ‘granola example’.

What does the word “best” mean to you? Something superlatively good, right? When used on its own, its nuances are many. But when used in a sentence like “10 best granola bars” the meaning is generally taken as “healthiest”.

When writing content, it is important to make sure that you are using keywords from the same semantic universe. This gives sophisticated contextual meaning to your content and ensures that it gets listed in the right places.

Topic Relation

Bear in mind that Google already has an array of information on topics for which there is a lot of existing content, If Google’s crawlers are repeatedly finding certain key points in relation to certain topics, then their alarm bells ring when they discover a page in this field without this information.

Rand – and The Gaswerx – recommends using a Related Topics tool to assess which topics you need to be covering in your content. Focus on whichever areas you like, but you need to be covering the vital information on your page.

Content Format and Reading Level

Google’s algorithms and ranking criteria are constantly growing more sophisticated, so much so that they are now able to identify ideal content and website design formats, comprehensiveness levels and structure for certain topics.

For example, if you are presenting your content in the form of a top ten or top five, Google will expect you to present that information in the form of a listicle with bite-size, clearly presented snippets of info. Similarly, if your content is an in-depth evaluation of a complex topic, your sentence structure and vocabulary must be at an appropriately high level.

Specific Field Authority

Brand association is an important part of successful content marketing. While outranking the content-producing big boys across the board may seem like an impossible task, Rand explains that it is possible for domains and sub-domains to focus their efforts and gain strong authority in key fields.

To do this, content producers must be aware of the semantic associations they are making on their pages. Rand explains this by extending the earlier granola example, describing how making the right semantic associations regarding granola and health can build authority in a field like weight loss. “In Google’s opinion [this is] perhaps a very popular category, a very authoritative one especially when it comes to the topic of granola and granola brands.”


Increasingly, Google is examining the presentation of knowledge rather than just focusing on its specific content. Adding multimedia to your page is not a gimmick; it is a way to effectively deliver information to your users, so use infographics, audio and video to optimise your page quality.

It’s up to you whether you choose to rely on traditional search engine optimisation or social media advertisements to drive traffic to your blog, but it is the delivery of information which Google will use to analyse your blog’s quality.

Meet Knowledge Standards

Google went public with this one last year, describing the methods with which they assess web content for truthfulness, accuracy and validity. The search engine giants now have a network of trusted sites which they use to collate and analyse data they receive. As a content producer it is up to make sure that your information marries in with these trusted sources.

If your site makes a claim which is not backed up by Google’s library of trusted resources, it is going to be pushed down the rankings in favour of a site where results are more accurate.

Search Query Interpretation

The final point which Rand raised was that of search query interpretation, i.e. the ability that Google now has, to quickly and intelligently interpret the results a user desires when they search. Returning for a final time to his granola example, Rand described how a search for “sugar-free granola bars” may once have returned results for “sugar” as a keyword. Nowadays, the more sophisticated software used by Google can identify that the searcher, in fact, wants results for granola bars WITHOUT sugar.

This means that content producers now have to be far more careful when selecting keywords to target as part of their search engine optimisation initiatives. Each targeted keyword must be directly relevant to the information and benefit the page is offering to the user. Content producers who simply attempt to rank for all commonly used words in search queries, with no regard to their contextual meaning, will be penalised.