What is quality content?

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Quality content is subjective. Some people will want a beginner-level summary while others want more depth and expert insights. Quality content will be better than the content that currently exists and readers will find it useful, memorable and are likely to share the content.

As SEOs, we typically write about things that people are searching for. This makes the content useful, but if you read many top-ranking sites, they often say the same things. Reading the first few results might feel like you’re reading the same content over and over again.

There are a lot of buzzwords like 10x content or skyscraper content, but all you really need to do is to make something better than what exists.

When writing new content, you have an advantage. You can see the content that ranks, and that’s the bar you need to exceed.

Let’s look at how to do that.

How to create quality content

Creating quality content is part science and part art. It also requires a lot of hard work and expertise.

SEOs have access to a ton of data. We can see:

All the things people search for with keyword research.

All the things that top content ranks for.

All the things that existing content talks about.

Many people making a query intend to find basic information in a quick and easy format. Content that is organized, simplified, and easy to read and scan is useful.

Much of the content created by SEOs is intended to rank in search engines, but it’s also useful for users. We tend to cover what users are searching for and answer questions about the topic. For many users, that kind of content makes for a great introduction to a topic.

The problem is that, in many cases, we’re just faking expertise, or we have writers who are faking expertise.

To create quality content, you need real expertise.

You can differentiate your content from what currently exists by:

Sharing your experience, stories, and insights.

Including data only available to you.

Having an opinion, a unique take or a different viewpoint.

Many of the pages that are currently ranking have likely been ranking for years. They may have updated and refined their content in that time to make it better.

Existing content may also have a lot of powerful and relevant links. There’s a phenomenon where top-ranking content tends to get more links, making it difficult to beat.

You have to be extraordinary and put in the effort to overcome content like that. It won’t be easy.

If you want to beat them, you likely need a team of people.

  • An SEO to do the research.
  • A great writer and storyteller.
  • An expert for their unique insights.
  • An editor to correct any mistakes.

Each person adds valuable skills needed to create quality content.

How to measure quality

Measuring quality is hard because it is subjective. Many SEOs will look at things like word count and keyword density, but these are bad metrics. Some queries, like a person’s age, can be fully answered with one number. You don’t need their entire life story. 

There’s no one right way to measure quality. 

SEOs may want to look at:

  • Rankings.
  • Traffic.
  • Links.
  • Mentions.
  • Social shares. 

Businesses will want to measure:

  • Conversions.
  • Qualified leads.
  • Revenue. 

You may also want to consider things like user satisfaction.

Search engines have the difficult job of figuring out what are good results for many different users with many different wants and needs. In general, they tend to show a variety of content that meets different user intents so that each person will likely find something useful to them. 

Let’s take a look at some of the guidance search engines have provided for creating content.

Creating this kind of content takes more effort than most companies are willing to invest in. Without showing some sort of initial results, it can be hard to get buy-in. Once you have a couple of hits or some initial results, it can be much easier to argue for the resources needed to create this content.

A trap I find many companies fall into is creating content as a one-off task rather than an iterative process. You can always improve your current content when you have more resources and want to get better results.

For example, this is actually my second time writing this article for Search Engine Land. I originally wrote a piece about quality content for them back in 2016, and I have a lot more experience and expertise to share now than I did all those years ago.

How search engines think about quality content

Google created many algorithms intended to determine what content is best for users. They also provide a lot of guidance on what they are looking for. 

Some of the terms they use to describe the type of content they are looking for are:

  • Expert.
  • Authoritative.
  • Trustworthy.
  • Relevant.
  • Useful, helpful.
  • High-quality.
  • Original.
  • Comprehensive.
  • Interesting.
  • Insightful.
  • Factual.
  • Detailed.
  • Engaging.
  • Credible.
  • Informative.
  • Valuable.
  • User-centric.
  • Authentic. 

Most of those are subjective adjectives and are hard to measure. Still, they provide a lot of guidance with the questions their engineers are asking themselves and even the guidance they give their quality raters.

Source: https://searchengineland.com/what-is-quality-content-251071

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