If you've spent any time in the digital marketing world, you've heard about the power of "quality content." But, like so many industry terms, you've probably heard that phrase so much it has become nearly meaningless. (In fact, we ourselves are guilty of using this term probably a bit too much.)
So what exactly is quality content? What does it look like? And how can you be sure that you are creating it? Let's start at the beginning to figure out what the heck quality content actually is!
The History of Quality Content
The phrase Quality Content has only become a popular phrase in the past 25 years or less. As you can see based on Google Books Ngram Viewer below, the use of the phrase spiked in 2003, and I highly suspect that the number saw another spike around 2010-2012.
Google has played a key role in the history of quality content as it pertains to SEO. Google has long been a leader in the search engine world, and when it rolled out massive changes to ranking, this led to a focus on developing and creating content for users...not for search engines.
And this content plays an important role in almost every function of digital marketing. Having useful and relevant landing pages is key to PPC and local SEO, while creative and interesting content drives shares and likes on social media, as well as repeat blog readers. Because it is the crux of the work marketers do, creating quality content is of ever increasing importance.
What Does Quality Content Look Like?
While Google and others discuss the importance of quality content, pinning down exactly what it means can help bring clarity to the overall content creation process. There are a couple things you can check for when reviewing your content before (and even after) publishing it to your website:
- Does it provide useful information written by experts on the topic with authority and trustworthiness?
- Does it offer a valuable perspective you can't find on any other website?
- Is it regularly reviewed and updated for accuracy and completeness?
- Are you publishing content with frequency?
- Is the copy free of major spelling, grammar, and usage errors?
- Is there an obvious focus on the user, not on search engine rankings?
- Are pages linked to other relevant and high quality sources?
Reviewing each piece with these questions in mind can help you start identifying if your content fits the bill. If it doesn't, fix it!
How Do You Go About Creating Quality Content?
With so many rules, it can seem a little intimidating to get started creating valuable content for your website. But if you want to actually provide the best experience to your users, content should be taken very seriously.
So what is the best way to stay focused on quality in your content creation? Here's a few tips:
- Dig deep into your buyer persona(s). Knowing exactly who you want reading your website pages and blog posts will help you stay ultra focused on providing an experience they want to have. Your buyer persona(s) are the key to everything that you create.
- Carefully choose your topics. Creating an editorial calendar can help your content strategy stay focused, consistent, and interesting. It can be easy to start sounding like everyone else, so be careful to stay unique to your business and messaging with every piece you create. And by creating a calendar, you will never be at a loss for what to write next.
- Engage in your industry. There is no better way to establish your expertise than to write about your industry. Weight in on trends, changes, and news events. This type of content will also prove a great way to link to other industry experts, and hopefully generate a few natural links back to your content.
- Write long-form, in-depth articles. Back in the day stuffing keywords into a 300 word post would get you to the top of Google. Now, the more useful and in-depth your articles, typically the higher they will rank. While not every article needs to break 2,000 words, try various lengths for your articles depending on the amount of material you want to cover.
- Create editorial guidelines. Keeping each blog consistent with your brand, despite having different authors is a great way to prove the quality of your website. You also want to be sure to maintain high standards for spelling, grammar, and usage across each piece. Consider always having a second set of eyes proof read your pieces before taking them live.
Ultimately, the best way to focus on creating quality content is to focus on your users. What do they want to read? Are you giving them enough information? Is it written in a way that is easy to read and digest?
Taking your content creation seriously will generate better pieces, ultimately improving your user's experience. And in the end, that is what your website is all about!