We have all heard the phrase “Content is king”. In fact, it is one of the most quoted mantras in the online marketing world. However, as search engines are continually updating their algorithms they are getting better and better and finding content that people actually want to read and tossing out the rest.
The idea that creating “content” for content’s sake is the vital to getting traffic to your site is no longer relevant. In fact, with the latest Google algorithm updates creating content purely to create content will actually cause you to lose visitors!
So, if content is no longer king then what is? I propose that all we need to do is add a single word to this phrase: QUALITY. That’s right, our new mantra should be “Quality Content is King”.
This is good and all…but what actually constitutes quality content? How can we take content and turn it into quality content?
The remainder of this post is dedicated to answering this question digging a little deeper into quality content. I believe there are 9 traits that all content must have in order to be considered quality content:
1. Quality Content Is Original
“Originality is really important.”
– Jim Carey –
As mentioned before it is absolutely critical that content be original. If content is merely copied or skimmed from other websites Google WILL take notice and punish you in their rankings.
How do we find original content? Admittedly, it seems almost impossible to find a completely original topic to write about. What you can do is look at what is already out there and decide what is missing and how you can improve upon it; essentially filling in the blanks.
Keep in mind that it is alright to do research and draw inspiration from existing content; however, under no circumstances should you ever plagiarize existing content. Not only will Google punish you but it may also be illegal depending on the subject matter.
Many people are willing to pay writers to create original content for them through sites like fiverr and textbroker. When doing this you must understand that you get what you pay for. If you are not willing to spend good money you are not going to get good content.
2. Quality Content Has Attention Getting Headlines
It is a commonly understood phenomenon that most people see a headline but very few actually click on it. Also, there are A LOT of headlines to compete with. To combat both of these realities it is critical that your content has unique and attention grabbing headlines.
A headline should spark a reader’s attention with an air of mystery and drama. It should get them asking questions. It should make them desire to know when they will discover when they click the link. In short, a headline should make it impossible for a reader to NOT click on it.
Although this seems like a simple step, sometimes creating a quality headline can be super difficult! I spent a good ten minutes coming up with the headline of this post. Let me know in the comments what you think about it?
3. Quality Content Is Short And Sweet
“Aim for brevity while avoiding jargon.”
– Edsger Dijkstra –
If people wanted to read a novel they would have picked up a book…or Kindle. On the web people desire content that is short and sweet and too the point. In general, it is a good to eliminate as much “fluff” as possible and to have no more than three or four sentences in a single paragraph.
A simple trick I do to reinforce this is to pay close attention when I am reading a newspaper. You will see that most paragraphs in a newspaper are actually just one or two sentences.
4. Quality Content Provides Answers
Remember that people are on your site because they are looking for information in some form or another. It is your job to provide them with this information, or in other words, the answers they are looking for.
It is useful to write your content from the perspective of your target audience. This will help you to ensure that you are providing information in a way that is giving them the information they need.
Another aspect of providing answers is to make sure your content is actionable. This means that people will finish your post with a sense of what actions they need to take next. This can happen explicitly by providing tips, tricks, or steps for them to take. Or it might happen subconsciously without the reader even realizing it.
5. Quality Content Links To More Information
It is impractical and probably impossible to provide every single bit of information your readers might be looking for in a single post. However, by linking to more information internally and externally you are able to greatly enhance the experience of your readers.
It is important to remember that these links must lead to good quality information. If you link to bad or sketchy sources you are likely to lose your legitimacy with your readers. Quality linking is also very beneficial to increasing your Google rankings.
6. Quality Content Is More Than Words
Even if you have beautifully written content a reader is likely to move on if they don’t see anything but text on your site. You should break up your writing with other types of media such as: images, videos, audio, etc.
Everything that you include in your post must be of high quality and relevant. With this in mind you should avoid cheesy stock photos as much as possible. Nobody wants to see that overly excited group of coworkers mid-jump…again.
7. Quality Content Is Formatted Well
Formatting may vary based on the content; however, in all cases your content must flow in a logical way that the readers can follow. Headings and subheadings are the most effective ways of doing this. You can also bold or underline certain words or important phrases…sparingly, of course.
8. Quality Content Is Grammatically Correct
“I never made a mistake in grammar but one in my life and as soon as I done it I seen it.”
– Carl Sandburg –
Providing content riddled with misspellings and grammatical errors is probably the most effective way to ensure nobody reads your content. Therefore proofread, proofread, PROOFREAD. If you are not confident in your grammar or spelling abilities have a second set of eyes read your content before publishing it. This is probably the most overlooked aspect of writing content but is arguably the most important.
9. Quality Content Is Continually Updated
Adding new content and updating your existing content is essential. It allows you to actively demonstrate to your readers that you are responding to their feedback as well as market changes and social developments.
In addition, how often new content is published is highly regarded by search engines in their rankings. It is a good idea to set a regular schedule to work from. Ideally you will create two new posts week.
QUALITY Content Is King
Now we know why content is not king but why QUALITY content is. These 9 characteristics are typical of basically all successful websites in one form or another.
Now you must ask yourself the critical questions: Does your website or blog just have “content”? Or does it have “quality content”?
Let me know what you think. Do you agree with the characteristics of quality content I’ve mentioned? Disagree? Do you have anything else to add? Leave a comment below!