Sunday, December 6, 2015

What is Good Content?

Good content is the key to achieving a high search engine ranking. A blazing fast, beautiful website can only take you so far. To attract the visitors you deserve, you must create good content. But what is "good content"? The term is ubiquitous, yet often misunderstood.

In its Webmaster Tools, Google offers a working definition:

 "Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site."

When writing content, then, heed these guidelines from Google:

1. Offer useful/helpful information targeted to your specific audience
2. Offer intriguing content that will inspire visitors and webmasters to "link to your site"
3. Answer your specific audience's questions
4. Provide rich, detailed information (properly cited) that "clearly describes your topic"
5. Include precisely-targeted keywords to attract your specific audience.

In essence, when writing, ask yourself, "What can my audience do with this information?"

Your content must be useful, intriguing, and precise.

For Google, content is king [Source]

Easy enough? Hopefully--because useful, intriguing, and precise content is not enough...

Many websites fulfill these requirements on a weekly or daily basis. To truly compete, you must match the content-production of your competitors, article for article, word-by-word.

For some websites, especially local websites, this task is not so hard. Many local competitors, you might notice, fail to update or refresh their content frequently (or even infrequently). To compete in this context, you need only to create enough content to stay atop the first page results.

How much content? To assess your needs, monitor your rankings and search metrics daily as well as the rankings and search metrics of your competitors.

For websites that hope to compete on a national basis, however, the task is more daunting. How often do you add new content to your site? When answering, remember, content can be defined as images, videos, or even emoji, but the cornerstone of content is--and will likely always be--text. The most successful websites add new content on a weekly or daily basis.

More than simply adding new content, however, the best websites refresh old content. Remember, good content must be useful--or, as the SEO community often says, "relevant." To assess the value of your old content, ask yourself the following questions:

1. How old, exactly, is your content? Months? Years? Decades?
2. Does your content accurately reflect your business and the marketplace?
3. Is your content still /useful to your specific audience?
4. Is your specific audience interacting with your old content?

If your old pages don't attract much attention, you might dramatically improve their performance simply by "refreshing" the content to conform to the guidelines above.

When doing so, pay special attention to the evolving marketplace. Ask yourself more questions:

1. Are your keywords still relevant?
2. Is each piece of content answering a specific question?
3. Are your links bad?

In future weeks, we will cover these topics in depth. Check back soon for our post on refreshing old content.

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