Creating high-quality content is one of the most important factors in search rankings. Google’s aim since the first Panda update has been to create a better experience for users online by providing users with the very best results for their specific query. But how, exactly, do you actually create content with an impact?
Watch What People Are Sharing
What makes something “high-quality” is incredibly subjective. What one person thinks of as good, someone else might not. But in general, high-quality content is what gets shared. Users read it, like it, and then share it with others. Thus, content that is widely shared is generally of higher quality and can be looked to as an example.
Google also watches what people are sharing. The more users that visit a site and the more links there are to a site, the higher that site’s search rankings. The algorithm pays attention to which sites have the most visitors and increases their rankings accordingly, connecting the high visit rate with quality and usefulness.
Don’t Sell (No, Really.)
While it may seem counterintuitive to many who want to sell a product or service, content shouldn’t exist solely for promotion. There are places for direct pitches, or calls-to-action (CTA’s) – and they serve their purpose. But these cases are limited.
Ideally, you want to offer potential customers so much value before they “sign up” with whatever it is you do… that they basically have to hire you eventually. When the time comes, and they don’t want to just hack things anymore, you’re the person they already trust. You’re the authority. You’re the only viable man (or woman) for the job.
For that matter, it’s worth simply making your content enjoyable to read. Most people don’t like to be sold to and will see product promotion for what it is, rather than for quality content worth sharing.
Focus on Your Customers
Your customers are the ones who will be sharing your content and who will be the judges of its quality. Therefore, you should pay attention to what they want. What are your users searching for? What questions might they be asking? Make sure you provide all of the information they will need and answer questions they may have. Users consider content high quality when it is useful to them and provides information that they want and need. You can use social media to engage with your users, build a relationship with them, and learn what they want so that you can provide it.
Make the Investment
High-quality content is a greater investment than thin content. Depending on your own skill with writing and graphics, you may need to hire someone to create some or all of your content. Even if you don’t need to bring in outside content creators, high-quality content is an investment in time as well. It takes more effort to create higher-quality content and if you’re willing to put the time and/or money into it, it will really show to your users.
Include Visual Media
High-quality content isn’t just about the text. Content also includes images, videos, infographics, charts, gifs, and even memes. These can help break up the text so that it’s easier for users to digest and comprehend. Visuals can also replace some of the text, making the page look more interesting. Video content especially is useful – videos, especially those embedded from YouTube, can get many views and are easy for users to share.
Keep the Content Coming
An important part of quality content is to add new content regularly. Even the most high-quality, viral content can only be shared so many times before users need something new. Continually adding new quality content to your site is a good way to keep users coming back for more.
Do Your Research
Part of what makes content high-quality is the information it can provide to users. Well-researched content is far more useful to customers. It’s also important to keep yourself focused on topics (and sub-topics) that you can be an expert in. Spend the time researching what others in your area have written. You can use high-quality content written by others on the same subject as you as an example for your own content.
Be the Expert
The important thing about high-quality content is to put your own take on it. Well-researched content is important, but you need to be the expert on your topic and put your own unique perspective on it. This will give users a reason to visit your site instead of someone else’s and can also give you an edge in search rankings. Users will also have a better reason to return to your site and to share your content with others.