What is Content Quality?
According to Google content quality is the perception of accuracy and usefulness of your websites content to the user. Google wants to serve user intent and provide the best user experience possible. This means they are more willing to serve up search results for content that they deem to have a certain quality level.
How Does Google Determine Quality?
Google uses three key components to determine a page’s quality score.
- First, Google compares related articles and pages on the topic you are discussing. If they see similar keywords, phrases, sentence structures, and ideas being presented on your page they can assign an initial quality rating. As your page gets viewed and people interact with the page your rating can increase or decrease based on incoming link, and user behaviour on the page. If people are consistently leaving the page quickly it tells Google that your page is not meeting searcher intent and will devalue your quality score.
- Google again uses its vast database and compares the information presented on your page to others, including specific trusted publishers. Trusted publishers are websites that Google has flagged as being authoritative in their particular niche and publish truthful, accurate information. If what you are saying in your content is directly contradicted by a trusted publisher your content could be seen as un-truthful.
- Finally, Google needs to decide whether it provides a good user experience (UX) and therefore value. They use a combination of data (Click through Rates, Bounce Rate, Time on Page, etc) combined with their Robots (programs that crawl webpages taking notes of all the little details including text, layout, and code). By combining this information with their algorithm Google is able to show which websites it considers to be most valuable to the end user.
For more information on content quality see our blog post about Google Assigning Quality Ratings to Content.
Why Does Content Quality Matter for SEO?
SEO is all about ranking well on search engines. Content quality matters to search engines, therefore it directly affects your SEO efforts. Old school SEO used to be all about keywords, making sure you have a certain percentage of keywords per page, perfect length blog articles, and backlinks at any cost. Modern SEO is all about content. Creating well targeted useful content that will inform users, meet their needs, as well as include the appropriate information for search engines. Yes keywords are still relevant and yes backlinks are still very important (but think quality over quantity!), but by far the most important aspect is contextual relevance. Write for the end user and the search engines will reward you.
How To Improve Your Content Quality?
This is a little tricky. There is not one thing you can do to improve the quality of your content. Instead it is a philosophy and writing style. Write for the user, not the search engines. They have become much more sophisticated than even 5 years ago. With machine learning they are now able to understand context and written text like never before.
So where do you start?
Start with your key content. What are the pages or articles that most directly relate to your core business? Is it product pages? Your services? A specific article? Whatever it is make sure you review it and ask yourself –
- Who is looking for this page?
- What specific question am I able to answer with this page?
- How are they most likely to get to it?
For each page work through the above questions and update as necessary.
Who is looking for this page?
- Write your content for that specific person. Are you speaking to business owners? People who live near you? Males? Females? Tailor your language and message to your audience.
What specific question am I able to answer with this page?
- What is the point of the page? How are you creating value? What is the pain point you are trying to alleviate for the user. Write content that clearly answers this question or helps alleviate this pain as quickly and clearly as possible.
How are they most likely to get to it?
- What words are they using to search for your page? Which phrases? What is their intent behind the search? By knowing all these things you can write your page in such a way as to include these terms naturally as well as meet their intent.
Once you have completed the steps for your key pages you can work through the rest of your website slowly but surely optimizing each and every page. And after you are done with all the pages on your site you can start all over again! Improving content quality is never ending, it requires iteration after iteration.