As creating high quality content becomes more and more important for SEO, it can be extremely valuable to revisit content standards Google has previously released. The following important questions were taken from the Google Webmaster Central Blog. We break down each question that you should ask yourself, describe why it’s important and how you can use each to seamlessly create quality content.
- Would you trust the information presented in this article?
If readers find your site trustworthy, they are more likely to link to your content. To make sure the information you present is accurate, make sure to research before writing and hyperlink to important external and internal sources.
- Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
Make sure that you are writing about subjects both you and your website have authority on. If you are presenting information that you aren’t familiar with, your content will be seen as low quality.
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
If you are reusing copy or getting lazy with creating fresh content, it will undoubtedly take a toll on your website and could even result in a Panda or Penguin based penalty. Make sure you create a variety of unique content that is interesting to your reader.
- Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
Does your website look authoritative? Are there errors on your website or does it look like the content was created without any thought? Sites with accurate information are more likely to generate conversions than sites that have the appearance of being rushed or filled with outdated information. Also, do you have security logos; is your design professional; do you have photos of staff?
- Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
Speaking of errors, take the time to edit, edit, edit. You should never publish a first draft because the chances of your article being perfect on the first try are slim. If grammar isn’t your strong suit, rope in an expert to edit and serve as a second pair of eyes.
- Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
Don’t try to play up your writing to search engines. Instead, write information that will genuinely interest readers in your audience. In turn, search engines will see your catering to the reader as a good sign and will then rank your website higher.
- Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
Taking information from other websites is a huge ‘no no.’ Of course, it is acceptable to do research and site your sources, however, make sure all information and content is your own. Another benefit of original reporting and analysis is that your 100% original article can serve as a source for others to quote, therefore building authority to your site.
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
Not only should you strive to create content that is innovative and original, you should strive to create content that is the best of its kind. When your articles beat out your competitors’, your website rankings will improve.
- How much quality control is done on content?
Quality is greater than quantity. Although adding content consistently shows Google that your site is alive and relevant, it is even more important for the content on each page to be high-quality. Furthermore, make sure your content goes through a stringent quality control process.
- Does the article describe both sides of a story?
Presenting both sides of the story shows that the information is trustworthy. Also, only writing about one side can isolate readers and encourage them to visits other sites with information that presents both sides.
- Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
Build authority to your site by publishing informative, interesting and reliable information. After time and dedication, your site will be seen as an authority on the topic you’re an expert on.
- Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
This is an obvious sign to Google that you are not creating content that readers are actually interested in or are trying black hat tactics to gain rankings. Put effort into each of your pages and make sure each is unique instead. Also, make sure not to create content templates or spin content, which can get you penalized.
- Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
Make sure you are editing your content. A helpful tip is to make sure at least three other people review the content after it goes live.
- For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
When writing about health-related or medical topics, it is especially important to present accurate information and write on this topic only if you are a licensed professional. Also, following the Your Money Your Life update, you need an expert to review anything financial or medical, or you could be penalized.
- Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
Big brands often win because of their easy recognition. However, quality content also helps in brand awareness. Make sure that the content you create reflects your company in a positive light. Similarly, if you are referencing other sources, make sure those websites are quality sites as well.
- Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
Take your time to put together a well thought out article. If you are running out of time and want to post the content that day, it is actually better to finish later and present a set of complete information.
- Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
There are certain facts or pieces of information that most of your readers will already know. It is your job as a high quality authoritative site to present all of the information your viewers are interested in, not just to scratch the surface.
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
Social sharing is huge for companies in the new world of SEO. You should always ask yourself, “Is this content something I would be interested in reading?” If you don’t even think your content is that interesting, chances are no one else will either.
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
The purpose of your site should be to give the readers a great experience so they will want to continue visiting your website and eventually become loyal fans or customers. Distracting ads will do just the opposite, so keep ads to a minimum.
- Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
Although it will take a lot of work and time to build up to this level, it is extremely important. Craft and edit your content until it is the absolute best that it can be and is both informative and professional.
- Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
Remember to not only include information that is relevant, but use details to reinforce your point. Also, content should be from 300 to 700 words, so try to aim for approximately 500.
- Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
This reinforces the fact that details, research and careful editing is extremely important.
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Although this is last on the list, it is the number one thing to avoid. The user is ultimately the person you should be impressing the most!