Marketing experts have underscored the importance of an online content strategy built around quality content for business growth. To truly achieve long-term marketing success, one must create, publish and distribute content that converts.
Given how crucial content marketing is for business growth, many brands set out to create a content marketing strategy based on several factors that measure content quality. These include word count, readability and overall value and are guided by the E-A-T Principle (Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness). But while discussing the subject of quality content for SEO, Google’s John Mueller offered a broader definition of quality content that strays from the usual.
“When it comes to the quality of the content, we don’t mean like just the text of your articles,” Mueller explains. “It’s really the quality of your overall website – and that includes everything from the layout to the design.”
So, what does quality content mean? Looking at the Google definition of quality content, it’s clear that what we knew quality website content to be was actually just a tiny part of how Google views it. This blog explores what quality content actuality is and how to write good website content as part of your search engine optimization (SEO) and online content strategy.
How We Usually Define ‘Quality Content for SEO’: The E-A-T Principle
For many years, business owners and quality content writing service professionals focused on the idea that content quality was based on specific text attributes. Such attributes described what quality content for SEO should look like to perform well on search engine results pages (SERPs). These include:
• Word count
• Spelling and grammar
• Ability to address user intent
Guided by these attributes, marketers and quality content writing service professionals turned to the E-A-T Principle as their primary guide for producing content that converts. It stands for Expertise, Authoritativeness and Trustworthiness: three key aspects that rate the reliability and overall value a piece of website content offers.
• Expertise: The depth of knowledge the author possesses about a particular topic.
• Authoritativeness: Describes whether the knowledge shared by the author is reliable.
• Trustworthiness: Describes whether the author and the domain on which the content is hosted can be trusted.
Quality Content Meaning, According to Google
In a Google SEO Office-Hours Hangout, Google’s John Mueller shared a broader definition of quality content. As mentioned above, Google doesn’t just look at the text to determine the level of quality in content writing for a certain domain. Instead, it looks at the content in the context of user experience (UX) and rates the quality of the content based on the quality of the website overall.
Mueller adds, “So it’s not the case that we would look at just purely the text of the article and ignore everything else around it and say, ‘oh, this is high-quality text.’ We really want to look at the website overall.”
Quality content meaning, according to Google, encompasses and transcends text attributes and the E-A-T Principle. It’s far more expansive than what we thought quality content ought to be and rates content quality in relation to your website, including its images, load speed, layout, originality and structure – essentially all the technical aspects of your website.
Why Does the Google Definition Matter?
What does quality content mean now in light of Google’s expanded definition of content quality? In a nutshell, looking at quality content meaning through Google’s eyes changes the way we look at content writing and your online content strategy as a whole. Instead of simply focusing on how to write good website content, it forces us to pay attention to UX writing and its overall UX.
So instead of concentrating all your efforts on SEO keyword research and creating quality blogs, pay equal attention to how it’s presented and how it relates to your user. Google has always emphasized the need for domains to prioritize UX so much it made UX a ranking signal for SEO. By creating a solid technical foundation for your content, you can effectively improve your site’s UX while satisfying Google guidelines, enhancing your performance on SERPs.
Characteristics of High-Quality Content
John Mueller’s response shed light on different qualities content should possess to be classified as ‘quality content.’ Here are some characteristics of high-quality content that we have identified, accounting for the Google definition, to show you how to write good website content that performs well on SERPs.
1. It Answers Search Intent
Quality blogs identify the intent behind the search and can fulfill the user’s need. That means placing greater emphasis on SEO keyword research to create content that matches their intent. By performing thorough SEO keyword research early on, you can identify the intent behind search terms frequently used and create appropriate content that matches what the user is looking for.
For instance, if a user searches for general information about a topic, they will most likely bounce out of the page if they stumble onto content that’s focused on selling a product. Instead, provide the appropriate response to their query in a manner that they expect by creating quality blogs that provide the information they need.
2. It’s Readable
Regardless of the length of content you produce, your content still has to be readable to make it engaging. This depends on many factors, including the complexity of the words you use, the verbosity of your sentences, spelling, grammar and the use of industry-specific jargon.
Here are some best practices to make your content more readable:
• Separate text into chunks to make it scannable.
• Use appropriate subheadings to break up information.
• Add visuals to support your statements and introduce breaks in the text.
• Explain your point in the most succinct way possible.
• Avoid complex words.
3. It’s Properly Formatted
Proper formatting makes it easy for readers to find the information they’re looking for on the page. Often, readers rarely read through an entire blog to get the answer to their query. Instead, they scan through the text and use different clues in the text to find what they’re looking in the least amount of time possible. That’s why readability is essential and why it also has to be properly formatted.
Here are some qualities of properly formatted content:
• Using ordered lists to highlight sequence.
• Using bullet points to highlight text in cases where the sequence is unimportant.
• Creative use of bold and capital letters to emphasize a point.
4. It’s Thoroughly Researched
The E-A-T Principle still matters in quality content writing and is reflected in the amount of research you perform as it determines the depth of knowledge you are able to share with your readers. This helps demonstrate your expertise and authority in the subject matter while communicating that you are, without a doubt, a trustworthy source of information.
When writing about a particular topic, always make sure to cite credible sources. Find relevant data that can back up your claims. Above all, use current or up-to-date studies to ensure you’re only providing accurate information. This matters even if you’re writing about personal experiences or sharing your perspective on a topic.
5. It’s Optimized for UX
Content quality isn’t just about the text, as mentioned above. How your content looks and feels matters as much as how it reads. As UX writing experts put it: Content delivery matters as much as the content itself.
Here are some ways you can make sure your content is optimized for UX:
• Introduce hierarchy to content with visual weight and a proper layout.
• Use attractive typography to make it easy to read.
• Add more negative space in between lines of content.
• Improve page load speed.
• Make sure your content reads well on different devices.
Because of the UX aspect of quality content, expect to receive as much value from a technical SEO agency as an SEO content writing service.
As we’ve learned here today, content quality is not just about the text itself and its various attributes. Instead, Google looks at your site as a whole to qualify whether the content you share is indeed high-quality. And because quality content is a critical component of any high-converting digital marketing strategy, paying attention to your website’s design and UX improves your ability to perform on the SERPs significantly.
Do you need help maximizing the benefits of high-quality content? Thrive can help. We are a technical SEO agency that offers comprehensive digital marketing services that bring you closer to your goals. We also offer a content marketing and SEO content writing service to help you leverage content that converts, while our UX design services improve your performance on the SERPs. Get in touch with us today for a free consultation.