Content is King is a term that gets thrown around quite often, but what exactly does this mean and how does it relate to SEO and content marketing? High quality content has a purpose, meets a user’s intent in a satisfying way and tells search engines how suitable the content is to that user.
Search Engine Land have a nice infographic called the Periodical table of SEO, in which they consider quality and research to be the most important factors in relation to creating content. In this post I will discuss the elements of page quality and how you can use this information to improve your search presence.
Before I get into page quality it’s important to understand that Google is trying to satisfy users based on a search query. Google is becoming increasingly intelligent and understands that many people are simply people are looking for answers to questions. Just consider what Google themselves say about the goal of search:
“Our goal is to get you to the answer you’re looking for faster, creating a nearly seamless connection between you and the knowledge you seek”
Their knowledge graph is a prime example of this. Understanding how people are searching can give you ideas on how to optimise your content. There are a number of ways you can find just exactly how your audience is searching. A quick and simple test is to look at Google’s autocomplete function. Say for example, imagine you wanted to do a piece about responsive web design:
This shows you some top searches and could help direct you as to what people are looking for in relation to responsive web design i.e. Tutorials, templates etc.
Google keyword planner is also another handy tool to get search volume for specific keywords. This will give you a good insight into the potential reach of a content idea. All you need is an AdWords account to access this tool. Use this link to skip the billing steps https://g.co/etoaw
Google is also assessing your page based on how well it meets the user’s intent. Every page should have purpose and should meet a user’s intent. There are 3 main types of intent that I would like to draw attention to:
- Do — complete an action or accomplish a goal e.g. “buy car insurance”
- Know — find out information e.g. “how to make chocolate biscuit cake”
- Go — navigate to a specific page or website e.g. “brother hubbard cafe”
Once you have decided on the purpose of your page you need to write content that meets this purpose to the highest degree possible. No matter what your chosen topic area you must ask the question “What is my audience looking for?” and how does my page meet the intent of their search query?. Incorporating user intent into your content marketing strategy will focus your efforts on exactly what your target market is looking for.
Assessing Your Page Quality and Content Marketing:
Pretty much every page can be split into 3 areas; main content, supplementary content and advertising. It’s important to look at each element and ask yourself some questions:
- Main Content — This is the meat of the page. It is the part that helps the page achieve its purpose. This can include text, images, video, reviews etc. Being thorough is key here. You need to ask yourself does the content look like it took a significant amount of Time, Effort, Expertise or Skill to complete? Essentially there are no easy shortcuts to creating high quality content, you need to do the labour.
- Supplementary Content –This type of content contributes to user experience but is not directly related to the purpose of the page. This could include navigation, related articles, related products etc. The key point here is whether the SC is helpful? If not then why is it there.
- Advertising — Quite self explanatory; how much advertising is on your page. Ads can affect user experience so ensure that you don’t overdo it. If you are reliant on advertising as a revenue stream, focus on using industry approved standards. Check out Google AdSense and IAB guidelines.
So how can you assess whether you content is of high quality? Going back to 2011, Google posted 23 questions a in blog post looking at what makes a high quality site. These are still highly relevant today and are very similar to their internal page quality guidelines that were ‘leaked’ last year. (you can download the entire document here.) I won’t list all the questions in the post but here are 6 key ones that I find help me assess content:
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
These questions should be applied to all of your content marketing no matter what the format. This will help you to deliver higher quality content that your audience will be more likely to engage with.
Expertise Authoritativeness and Trust.
E-A-T. These are 3 elements that search engines consider as factors when judging page quality. So how does this manifest in relation to your content? In short you want to display high degrees of these traits for any given web page. Expertise and authoritativeness relates to who exactly is writing the content and do they know what they’re talking about. For example health advice should come from individuals with medical expertise (i.e. Doctors)**. So how do you display this? Well this could simply be referring to professional sources, citing academic sources or completing bios which signal expertise.
Trust relates to the website as a whole, examples of how can you show this are ensuring you have an About us, Contact Info, Author Bios and Customer Service page. Other methods include enabling user ratings, security trustmarks and of course high quality inbound links.
**Please note Google holds pages that affect “Your Money Your Life” to higher standards than usual websites. So keep this in mind when choosing a topic.**
I understand the the importance of quality particularly when it comes to search and content marketing. If you would like to connect or find out how I can help you improve your SEO, get in touch!