So much is said about quality content that we sometimes forget what it really is. Quality content is a key aspect of every SEO strategy. But what does it mean for a content to have quality? Is all content that is relevant to Google relevant to readers? In this article I will discuss what quality content is and how you can improve your writing.
- What is quality content?
- How to create quality content
- Quantity vs. quality
- Summary of how to create quality content
If you follow the digital marketing industry you must have come across the famous phrase “Content is king!” Partially this is true. A more correct way to express the importance of content on a website would be “Quality content is king!” or even “Relevant content is king!”.
A content can have (editorial) quality but not be relevant, which does not make it king of anything. Maybe a court jester, but not a king. For continuity of this article I will call quality content that which is also relevant.
What is quality content?
This question every copywriter should ask himself at least once a day. Knowing how to write quality content can help you get more visitors and better results from your blog, website, or online store. But who can tell if a content has quality? Google? The SEO plugin that lights up a little green ball when it fulfills optimization steps? The SEO professional?
Not at all! Who will tell if your content is of quality will be your users. And this completely changes the way you produce your content. Each user is different and presents a different search intent. The user knows what he wants. You and the search engine can try but you will never know exactly what the user is looking for.
While the quality of your content is assigned by the user, there are some actions you can take to ensure that the content is relevant and becomes attractive. By adopting a series of best practices you will be qualifying your content for users and search engines.
Here are some definitions for quality content easily found on the net (which I largely disagree with as they are superficial):
Quality content is content that answers the persona’s questions and can explain a subject thoroughly.
It is that content that manages to be better than all the Google results. Quality content always deserves the first place in organic searches.
Quality content is more than that
First, let’s quickly demystify this persona “thing”. They instituted with content marketing, especially through inbound marketing, the need to create personas with zillions of information in order to be able to produce content, create campaigns, segment, etc.
If you do not have a pet shop you do not need to know the breed of the persona’s dog. If your campaign is not for a car dealership or car manufacturer why do you need to define the type of car it drives. We don’t even need to give our persona a name. Understand, we don’t need to create personas like this to produce quality content. Just ask the right questions.
Second, don’t go crazy wanting to give all the answers to users. Relevant content will certainly bring answers but it is unlikely to address a subject comprehensively. You can only do this if your reader is naive enough to believe a single source of information. Don’t underestimate the intelligence of the user.
Third, if it is the user who defines the quality of your content, why optimize by focusing on the search engine? It is possible to rank with anything useless in Google but we don’t do that. Focus on the user!
Finally, timing. A user can search for the same thing at different times and with different intentions. A content may have quality at one point in time and not at another.
My definition of quality content
Well, if you have made it this far, something I appreciate very much, I will reward you with my definition of quality content:
Quality content is content that is able to solve a specific demand of a user with a particular search intent.
“… capable of solving a specific demand…” Quality content will deliver what the user is looking for, sometimes more, never less.
“… with a particular search intent.” Quality content will always be aligned with the user’s search intent at any given time.
How to create quality content
1. write to your readers
A content is only of quality if its readers consider it so. Resist the temptation to write for yourself. Take into consideration what your users want to read about it. What are you looking for? What problems are they trying to solve when they arrive at your site?
The first step to creating content that users consider high quality is to make sure that it contains the information they are looking for. To find out what information your users are looking for, conduct a keyword search. This will help you determine what subjects to write about and what words your audience uses.
2. Produce compelling content
If you want people to read your content and consider it quality, make it easy to read and attractive. Pay attention to the words you are using. Write in a way that makes the content easy to understand.
Too much text without subheadings considerably decreases the scannability of the text. Who among us doesn’t scan through titles and sub-titles to find what they’re looking for, right?
Likewise, lines and paragraphs that are too long make reading more tiring. Intersperse text with images, graphics, and videos to make the reading lighter. Use synonyms, alternate between long and short sentences, and be personal in your writing.
Also read: The definitive guide to SEO copywriting
3. Think about search intent
Search intent is the reason why someone performs a specific search. Does he need answers? Want to buy something online? A user’s search intent makes all the difference in how he regards the quality of your content. Does it fit his need at that moment? If so, it will stay on your page longer. But when you need an answer to a question and the page is just trying to sell its products, it will be gone before you know it.
We classified the search intentions into:
- Informative: people seeking information. It can be about the weather, news, SEO, etc.
- Navigational: when a person searches for a specific site or service. For example, when people search for “Facebook”, they usually want to get to the Facebook website. When they search “Google Analytics”, most of the time they want to get into the Google Analytics website and not just read articles about GA.
- Transactional: when the person is interested in buying something.
- Investigative: occurs when a person researches characteristics of a product with the intention of buying it in the future. The person is not yet ready but wants to have as much information about a product or service as possible.
It is important to take search intent into consideration while you are creating content. If your visitor is looking for a how-to tutorial, give it to him. A list with the “10 tips for…”, why offer anything other than that?
Will you know exactly the user’s search intent? Probably not, but by adopting a mindset of producing user-centric content the chances of getting it wrong are greatly reduced.
E.A.T (expertise, authority and trustworthiness) is all about reputation. Expertise, authority and trustworthiness are the pillars for building reputation on the web. You need the user to have confidence in what they are reading and in who produced the content.
Be personal, preferably use your own images, only offer links to trusted sites, add ratings and testimonials. Technically, ensure that your site serves content via HTTPS and is compliant with data usage and protection laws (LGPD, GDPR, etc).
Read also: Content SEO: Optimizing Content for Search
5. Keep your content fresh and relevant
Just producing quality content may not be enough to stay relevant to users and search engines for a long time. You need to update your content from time to time to ensure that people will find the right information when they get there.
This reinforces the reliability that I mentioned earlier. It is also important for SEO because it shows the search engine that your content is “alive” and relevant. Also, having up-to-date content is an important step in keeping the structure of the site healthy. Take the time to update your most important content.
Read also: Old content on the site, update or delete?
6. Maintain a good site structure
The previous five items were well focused on users but this last one is less about writing and more about helping the search engine locate quality content.
The structure of the site refers to how you organize your content. Is there a good hierarchical content structure? Are the most important pages (structural content) properly positioned in the structure and visual elements (e.g. menu)? Does the internal link building reflect the structure of the site, with important pages receiving proper linking?
If you put a lot of effort into the structure of your site, the chances of delivering quality content to the reader are much greater. Furthermore, a good structure signals to the searcher what is most important and what content deserves its attention.
Quantity vs. quality
Number of publications
It may sound strange but producing more content does not always generate better results. I wrote an article recently talking precisely about how to produce less content and get more conversions.
I see many companies falling for the fallacy that producing more content is better. This is not true. In some cases it may happen that the increase in content produced leads to a greater reach in searches, by ranking for more terms. However, if this growth in produced content is not accompanied by good planning, internal competition may arise and the resulting drop in search positioning.
Regarding the number of words, it is a myth that you need to produce content with an n number of words. If you offer your audience what they are looking for, the content can be 300, 1000 or 5000 words long.
Take into account the user’s search intent. It could be that he is looking for a simple answer, and for that, a 300-word content with some list is enough. For other topics, however, content of at least 2000 words may be required to address the related topics satisfactorily.
If you have created a lot of shallow content, consider grouping it on the same page. Hardly a reader will enter a page with a question so simple that it can be solved in one or two sentences. It is common for us to have more complex questions, and in this case, offering a more complete page is a good option.
Summary of how to create quality content
Quality content may not instantly take you to the first search position but it will definitely have a positive SEO effect in the long run. Before publishing any content consider the steps below:
Tempo estimado: 8 hours
How to create quality content
- Write for your readers
Take into consideration what your users want to read about it. What are you looking for? What problems are they trying to solve when they arrive at your site?
- Produce attractive content
Create content that is easy to read and attractive. Pay attention to the words you are using. Write in a way that makes it possible to understand the content easily.
- Think about search intent
Search intent makes all the difference in how a user considers the quality of your content. It is important to take search intent into consideration while you are creating the content.
- Inspire confidence
Expertise, authority, and reliability are the pillars for building reputation on the web. You need the user to have confidence in what they are reading and in who produced the content.
- Keep your content up-to-date and relevant
You need to update your content from time to time to ensure that people will find the right information when they get there.
- Maintain a good site structure
Are the most important pages (structural content) properly positioned in the structure and visual elements (e.g. menu)? Does the internal link building reflect the structure of the site?
I hope I helped you understand what quality content is. May the tips presented help you produce more quality content and boost your business results.
Continue reading: SEO tips for publishers: 10 ways to increase your audience