Elements of Top-Ranking SEO Content

What makes some content rank better than others? How does a small business hope to compete with big sites like Wikipedia for web traffic? We all know that “great” content plays an important role in search rankings, but what exactly are these elements of great content?

SEO experts at Moz recently dissected some of the Internet’s most valuable organic content, and discovered that they shared certain qualities, which we elaborate on in this post.

#1 Top content answers searchers’ questions.

top content answers questions

Great content is highly relevant, unsurprisingly, and also provides thorough answers through interesting and informative ways.

Moz cites the example of SleepTrain’s page on mattress sizes.  The company could’ve easily written a 500-word article with the keywords “bed sizes” in mind, but they went the extra mile and included a visual with dimension comparisons, a table of sizes, and text descriptions of the best fit for sleepers based on their height.


Moz’s study found that no other web page within the top 10 search results answered questions as succinctly as the SleepTrain site. So while the page might not look particularly impressive or special, it does what it needs to: answer the searcher’s questions clearly and thoroughly, without the user having to continue looking at other pages.

#2 Top content is bold.

It’s not news that site speed influences search rankings, as Google has officially announced in the past, and research that indicates faster speeds correlate with increased conversions and better engagement. Interestingly, one page analysed by Moz had an incredibly slow load speed of nearly 25 seconds, and almost 7.5mb worth of images, which some would consider SEO suicide. However the StayGlam page in question, ranks on page one for the keyword “nail designs”, and has an estimated annual search value of USD$3.1mil. So how did they manage to achieve that?

stayglam 80 nail designs short nails

Search engine optimisation is clearly much more than just its technical aspects. Have a look at the StayGlam page and put yourself in the shoes of a user who may be interested in nail designs. The page is chock-full of vibrant images displaying creative ideas and even tutorials. It’s the type of content that encourages bookmarking and sharing with others on social media.

#3 Top content is fresh.

Freshness is something that’s often brought up in discussions about getting your content to rank well. So it came as a shock that a top-ranking page for the highly competitive keywords “free movie websites” is from the year 2007!

butterblog best movie websites

According to the Moz team, although this page has been around for awhile, it is still updated every few months. Logically, Google assumes that reliable content is not outdated, and hence, freshness matters.

#4 Top content should be shareable.

While this wasn’t exactly a shared trait of the top-ranking pages, it’s still important to boost your content’s shareability to encourage, well, sharing. Because, why not? What brand wouldn’t want greater exposure and the chance that their content could go “viral”?

SEO expert Mark Traphagen believes that “it is likely that wide exposure via social media increases the chances of activity that very likely does factor into Google’s ranking algorithm”.

He also found that despite the negative press about brands’ reduced ability to get organic reach on Facebook, the social network is still the most popular platform for “viral” sharing.

What pieces of content have worked well for your business? What’s your opinion on factors that influence search rankings? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Start a project

If you want to get a free consultation without any obligations, fill in the form below and we'll get in touch with you.