When creating content, it’s easy to get bogged down by the little things – you may find yourself focusing on SEO at the expense of quality content creation, or you may find that you’re overly focused on creating a high volume of content. Although SEO and content volume can be important, neither is as important as high quality content.
Just what sets apart high quality content from low quality content? There is no exact answer, but it’s the difference between creating content your audience engages with and creating content that will be ignored; the difference between content that improves your brand recognition and places you as a thought leader, and content that may actually be detrimental to your reputation. Below, we’ll explore how to identify and create low quality content.
Google’s Quality Guidelines
Google continually updates its algorithms to improve the quality of search results, and the recent “Panda” algorithm change was notable for improving the rankings of high-quality websites. Panda achieves this by punishing websites with low-quality content – even if that low-quality content is only present on some pages. In response to concerns about what qualifies as a quality website, Google released some guidelines on how to identify and create high-quality sites.
Although the exact nature of Google’s algorithm is unknown, Google has stated that sites looking to create quality content should look at the following features:
- Whether an expert wrote the article
- Whether the site has duplicate or redundant articles on similar topics with slight keyword variations
- Whether the article has spelling, grammatical, or factual errors
- Whether the article provides original content or information
- Whether the page has an excessive amount of ads
- Whether the content is substantial in length
Essentially, Google’s algorithm now punishes websites who use SEO tricks without creating quality content, and rewards websites who create high-quality content and use SEO merely as a tool to maximize the use of that content. This knowledge should inform all of the other steps you take to ensure you’re creating high-quality content.
Consider Your Users
Ultimately, you should be creating content with the intention of reaching your readers with content that matters to them. To do this, you should carefully consider what problems they face, what their interests are, and what they’re likely to be concerned with. Ask yourself:
- What questions do my customers usually ask?
- What problems do my customers face?
- What recent advances have been made in the industry?
- What interests and concerns do my customers have?
The purpose of your content is to meet a need that your site visitors face. Content that is transparently self-serving doesn’t achieve this goal, and will typically be passed over by users as low-quality.
Quality content must engage readers just as much as it must inform them. To keep readers engaged, keep these tips in mind:
- Use subtitles and bulleted lists to break up content
- Know when not to use longer form content
- Use language that’s approachable for target reader’s educational level
- Use a variety of content forms (blogs, videos, infographics)
- Be enthusiastic and creative as well as informative
Approach Content Seriously
While it’s important to create content that catches the eye, when it comes to quality content creation it’s equally important to take the content seriously. For example, one of the major goals businesses have when content marketing is to position themselves as thought leaders in the industry.
One way to do this is to approach content as a true thought leader would – draw on substantial, respected sources to support your claims; have industry experts writing at least some content; and maintain a polished, edited tone in all content. You should be proud of every piece of content you put out.
When you take steps to ensure that you create high quality content, the payoff can be substantial. From search engine rankings to audience engagement to conversion rates, creating high quality content is absolutely essential to getting a good ROI on your content marketing campaign.
What steps do you take to create high quality content? Are there some areas where you could improve? Share in the comments!