Google’s helpful content update finished rolling out on September 9, 2022, and with it comes next-level standards for content creation.
In the past, websites could get away with a search engine-first approach when writing content, however the tides have turned and Google is forcing sites to focus on user friendly content.
Today, it doesn’t matter if a piece of content is search engine friendly; the algorithm is now so advanced that it looks at user intent and if this is being met by content. If blogs and articles are not offering value to the reader, it is likely to plummet to the bottom of SERP’s.
To help you satisfy the new content writing standards, we will discuss everything you need to learn about high-quality content.
What does high-quality content mean, exactly?
High-quality content is content that satisfies — and exceeds — the needs of audiences. It is rich in detail, readable, engaging, and helpful. And because it contains valuable information, people report a positive experience after reading it.
Here are the reasons quality content is essential for websites:
- It resonates with audiences – It builds a connection between you and your target audience. As a result, it creates trust, respect, and empathy. It also helps you stay relevant. And best of all, it generates leads and converts them — from mere visitors to customers.
- It has incredible ROI and helps you dominate your industry – Not only can it help you with your (ROI) Return on Investment and amplify your (SEO) search engine optimization efforts. It can also boost the visibility of your website. In addition, it enhances online presence, strengthens authority, and increases revenue.
- It lets you stand out – Outperforming your competitors is a challenge. But, with high-quality content, you can magnetize their customers and insist you can offer better products and services.
3 ways to check if you have quality content
Content performance refers to the impact of a piece of content. It can reveal details about your content — if it is as effective as you want or if it needs fine tuning.
To measure your content’s performance, set up a content marketing dashboard. This way, you can analyze pages better. You can also centralize the essential (KPIs) Key Performance Indicators and focus on them.
Here are content performance metrics you can track:
- Ranking of pages in SERPs – Learning your rankings in the (SERPs) search engine results pages tells you you are using the right keywords. Your content is also attractive to the right audience.
- Conversion rate – A higher conversion rate equates to more effective content. It also says your website provides a positive user experience.
- Business impact – Measuring your impact reveals data about how you run your business. It helps you spot strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities — streamlining your operations.
Ask your customers
Customer feedback refers to the details customers provide about your business- — and products and services. The feedback of customers matters because your customers matter.
If they find your operations satisfactory or dissatisfactory, these people can tell you all about it. But, of course, you have a much higher chance of getting customer feedback if you ask.
You can design an intuitive survey that represents your brand and reflects your practices. For example, use Paperform’s survey-maker to create an outstanding survey. Apply conditional logic, tap into powerful analytics, and add visuals — all up to you.
Here are questions your customer-facing teams can ask:
- Was the article helpful?
- What did you like about the article?
- What are your suggestions to improve future content?
Audit content using a content optimization tool
Content optimization tools can help an SEO expert maximize the full potential of your content. They can also create and develop a scalable content strategy on your behalf.
There are plenty of quality content analysis and optimization tools out there. SurferSEO or Frase are great for content optimization, which DashThis, Databox, or Data Studio are great for analyzing content performance.
How to create high-quality content: 8 tactics
1. Come up with a unique angle
Coming up with unique angles revolves around the ability to generate ideas and discuss them prior to writing.
Not known to many is that it’s one of the best skills any content marketer could have. Especially if someone creates content daily, it’s common for them to hit a wall. With this ability, their creativity will continue to flow and help them generate unique content.
Here are ways to brainstorm unique content ideas:
- Think of bad ideas – Throw out everything inside your head. Then, transform the bad ones into golden ones.
- Create a mood board – Combine visual-spatial arrangements and color. Then, associate these combinations with your emotions.
- Switch environments – Stimulate your brain by entering a new environment. Go to the gym, take a quick walk, or hang out at a coffee shop. If inside a room, you can rearrange furniture or move to a different location. Editing your work can help you transform your mediocre piece into something phenomenal. Unfortunately, many writers set aside its importance.
- Collaborate with your team – Get the creative juices flowing by talking to your colleagues about the post you are writing. Productive hybrid meetings are a great way of collecting other perspectives to incorporate into your content.
2. Establish an editing & review process
Editing your work can help you transform your mediocre piece into something phenomenal. Unfortunately, many writers set aside its importance.
The editing process may be time-consuming, but it’s how you can improve your writing — write coherent sentences, find grammatical errors, and more. With time and practice, you can master it.
Tips for effective editing include:
- Read your work aloud – Discover the rhythm of your writing by having somebody else read it. Ask friends or family members. You can also use voice readers and Optical Character Recognition programs like NaturalReader and Speechify.
- Take a break – Distance yourself from your work before returning to it. For example, have a snack for five minutes. Then, return to edit.
- Tighten your writing – Eliminate fillers, uncertain terms, weak lines, and repetitive phrases. Also, write in an encouraging and active voice.
3. Hire great writers
Adding great writers to your business is a cost-effective investment. According to Jason Fried, founder of 37Signals, writing is today's currency for good ideas.
It may not be enough to hire any dedicated copywriter, though. It’s important to find a talented writer who can present ideas in a way that effectively represents your brand and deliver the message you want to get across.
Want to maximize your investment? Then, establish a process and learn about content quality control.
Below is a hiring process you can follow:
- Include an easter egg – Squeeze in a line like Write pineapple at the end of your application to filter out incompetent candidates. It also reveals if a person is detail-oriented and can follow basic instructions.
- Conduct an interview – Invite potential writers for a quick conversation. Do it via live chat, video, or video call. The idea is to assess their ability to communicate with you.
- Check their portfolio – Ask applicants to share their work experience with you. Then, gauge their writing skills and adaptability to your assignments.
- Require a trial task – Before making a long-term hire, assign a (paid) trial assignment. You'll learn how good the writer's research & writing skills are, as well as how well they can follow a content brief.
4. Use proper formatting
Proper formatting refers to content styled engagingly. It helps make your content digestible and enjoyable to process.
If you observe proper formatting when creating your content, it makes it much easier to read and therefore makes the process more enjoyable. This is likely to have a positive impact on people returning to your blog.
Here are tips for proper formatting:
- Use white space – Create short paragraphs to incorporate white space within a post. It’s a technique that taps into the subconscious mind of readers and encourages them to read your piece to the end.
- Emphasize – Bold, underline, and italicize portions of your content. If they contain vital information, draw the attention of readers to them.
- Create scannable content – Make your content scanner-friendly. Use a list, bullet points, and short descriptions. The idea is to break down dense and tightly packed content into tiny sentences.
5. Nail the search intent
Search intent refers to the reason behind an online search.
For example, the search intent of someone who searched Google for “best desktop computers of 2022” is commercial. They used that specific search term because they are considering buying a desktop computer (and want to know the best ones).
Here are ways you can nail the search intent:
- Know your audience – Gather insights about your audience. You can base it on their past searches. You can also ask them directly. Then, create content that addresses the way they search.
- Prioritize important information – For example (with commercial intent), place the names of searched items in the introduction. This way, the readers get satisfied with their search early on.
- Learn about top-ranking content – Study the top pages for a search term and understand why they are doing well. Then, replicate the writing style used in creating them.
6. Write a compelling introduction
An introduction prepares the reader for what is ahead. It also convinces them to consume the rest of your content.
Think of an introduction as a gate. If you don’t make it inviting for your readers, why would they want to go over it and see the other parts?
Here are tips for writing a compelling introduction:
- Use statistics – Grab attention from the get-go. A fun fact or an uncommon line will also work.
- Provoke with a quote – Open with a familiar and relatable saying. Quotes entice the readers to think about who threw in that saying.
- Ask questions – Pose a scenario and invite people to enter that scenario. It’s effective because it lets them apply their logic, opinion, and personal choice.
7. Use credible sources
Credible sources refer to the reliable origins of information. They set the basis for the responsible dissemination of data studies, expert quotes, statistics, and other pieces of information.
For a piece of information to be credible, it should be authoritative, current, accurate, and unbiased.
Here are ways to spot credible sources:
- Inspect the source – Check the credentials of the content creator. Do they have a stellar online reputation, and are they a proven expert in the field? If so, they should have good information.
- Weigh the information – Analyze the details provided to you. If a piece of information seems too good to be true, it may be untrue.
- Turn to the CRAAP test – Run a source through the five components of CRAAP: (1) Currency, (2) Relevance, (3) Authority, (4) Accuracy, and (5) Purpose. It’s a credible source if it passes the test.
8. Add internal links that improve the user's experience
Internal links are links that lead to the other pages of your website.
Because they promote your other pages, they increase retention rates and give visitors a reason to stay on your site longer. As a result, they reduce bounce rates and help create a positive user experience.
But while internal linking (in general) is powerful, you can maximize its effectiveness.
Here are tips for adding internal links:
- Increase engagement – Include internal links to top pages — or pages that your visitors like. If the records show your past visitors like specific pages, new visitors may also like those pages.
- Add contextual information – Feature text and visuals around a link to attract people to it. If a link is just a simple word, sometimes people may not know it’s a link (or it exists). Consequently, they will ignore it even if it contains a link to essential information.
- Establish topical authority & relevance – Link to pages related to your content. People who check out your content on one page may also need information from your other pages.
The number of content creators is growing by the minute. More content channels and content trends are emerging, too.
On one hand, it’s good because people can have more content to consume.
The catch? It raises the stakes for you. Not only is the competition rising in number. It’s also getting fiercer.
The thought of running into a lot of competitors seems overwhelming. Don’t let discouragement get the better of you, though.
Instead, use this as an opportunity to improve your content creation skills — the tactics featured in this article should help you.
If you used to get by with mediocre content, it’s time to step up.