What is quality content, and why is it important for your digital marketing efforts? Quality content is the key to attracting positive attention from search engines, and, more importantly, for attracting PEOPLE to your website. The people coming to your website are actual flesh and blood customers, people with a distinct set of wants, needs and desires. By producing quality content that speaks to the heart of their problems, and offers real, compelling solutions, you’ll build attention, trust, and engagement with your audience.
But the first step is to bring them to your virtual doorstep, and that’s where search engine optimization (SEO) comes in.
Google’s Hummingbird Update and the Search for Quality Content
Google is the mighty king when it comes to search engine marketing. I think the last statistic I read on the topic indicated that Google maintains something like 80% of the search market, with Bing and Yahoo! coming up a distant second and third, and a handful of other search engines behind them. As Google goes, so goes the other search engines, so when I write or speak about search engine optimization, know that I am basing much of what I’m sharing on Google’s trends.
Google’s search engine algorithm was updated last year to focus more on “quality” content. What is quality? Quality means:
- Original content, not regurgitated or reproduced text from another source
- An original expression, idea or twist on a topic
- Content written by an expert
- Content shared on an authoritative platform
Search engines reward quality content by placing the URLs of these pages higher in the search engine results pages. We know that people tend to click on links higher in the results, and especially near the top of the first page. That’s why companies strive for those coveted positions in the search engine results. The higher your page appears, the more potential site visitors you can attract, and the more people you attract, the more money you can make.
That’s why people focus on SEO. Get it?
Originality or an Original Spin on a Topic?
I don’t know if there really is anything original online anymore. I suppose there are pockets of information out there that still need to be shared, but if you want to know how to change the battery on a 2001 Buick LeSabre, knit Dr. Who’s trademark scarf or clean the windows in your house with an organic cleanser, there’s a blog, website, video or picture to show you how to do it.
Originality, then, must be something more. The search engine companies certainly know that there’s a ton of content out there on the same or similar topics! I read somewhere that 2 million blog posts are published every 24-hours on the internet. Out of those 2 million posts, how many do you think are about Google’s Hummingbird update and quality content? How many are about making the perfect chocolate cake, or planting snapdragon seeds, or any of the other myriad topics that have already been covered to death? Plenty. So then what is originality?
It is being yourself online. It is having a unique voice, style and method of presentation. No two people are alike, and no two expressions of the same thought are alike.
Authority and Credibility
Are you an authority on your topic?
Are you a credible voice on it?
I am authority on marketing. I have an advanced Masters degree, various certifications, and 20+ years of experience in the trenches, on both the agency and client side of the marketing desk. My writing tends to be credible on the subject because I write what I know.
I would be neither an authority nor a credible voice when writing about, say, astronomy. It’s not that I don’t like astronomy; I do. Every night when I walk my dog, I look up at the velvety night sky and try to identify constellations. I know Orion and Taurus, Cassiopeia, the Big Dipper and the Dragon, and that’s about it.
If I tried to write about astronomy, it would quickly become evident that I do not know a lot about it. I could write credibly as a seeker of knowledge, as someone trying to learn astronomy. But I probably couldn’t pull off ghost blogging for Carl Sagan or the Hayden Planetarium.
Niches Can Build Credibility
Content produced consistently about a particular niche area tends to build credibility. Why? Because it proves that you are serious about the topic. Finding and sticking to a niche can help you build credibility in a particular content area.
Are you locked into a niche once you build it? No, you can branch out, but be careful how you branch out. Branching out from a central niche must make sense to your readers. If it’s too far out, you’ll lose credibility.
Exploring the World of Quality Content
Quality continues to become more and more important to all who produce online content, whether that content is written, audio or video. To learn more about producing quality content, see:
- Blog Talk Radio – Podcast on Quality Content by Seven Oaks Consulting
- Google-Friendly Sites, Webmaster Tools
- Hubspot: Quality Content