Call it good content, great content, spectacular content, or whatever superlative you choose — everyone wants to have high quality content that benefits their website and their business. You know that good content matters, but what is it exactly?
Defining good content is the first step in actually creating good content. Here’s a look at the different elements that contribute to creating good web content.
What is content?
Content is information communicated towards an audience. The term “content” includes different types of media including infographics, visuals, and sound. Haden Interactive focuses on writing web content, which means that we provide the written words on your website.
So that’s content. What makes content good or bad?
You need to focus on a main point
This may seem obvious… because it is. Every bit of writing — every smidgen of content on your website — needs to have some clear message. Writing can be entertaining, informative, or persuasive, but it always needs to effectively fulfill its purpose.
We’ve researched numerous blog posts at several different websites, and we’ve found that posts with a single clear point perform better in search than speculative reflections that don’t make a firm claim.
Single-point posts do better than complex posts that consider lots of different points. We were initially surprised that Google caught this and cared, but we’ve seen it too many times to question it.
Not feeble support, strong support. The better the support for your main point, the better your content will be. Google is now rewarding website that use facts and references; just the way your college English teacher did.
Citing information from a respected authority carries more weight than personal anecdotes.
Sometimes this means adding links or references to a blog post. Not only does this help support your message, but it also provides additional information to your audience that they might find useful. This added value makes Google happy.
Good web content includes relevant keywords. Pick out the best, juiciest, and most relevant keywords that you possibly can and use them.
However, you can’t just pepper in those quality keywords at random. Keyword stuffing won’t fool search engines and it ruins the user experience. Work keywords into your web content in a thoughtful and useful way.
Don’t try to force keywords where they don’t belong. It’s usually easier to make short keyword phrases sound natural than long keyword phrases, but if long tail keywords are more useful for your page, then take the time to work them in.
How long does good web content need to be? That’s like asking, how long is a piece of string? The answer is that there isn’t really a good answer.
For those who are really asking, “Just tell me what I need to do so I can get by,” a good blog post should have a minimum of 300 words, but a 500 word minimum is better.
Generally speaking, you want longer content than shorter content. The more content you have, the more search engines have to work with, which usually increases your search results.
Of course, you don’t just want a long-winded ramble and a heap of words for the sake of having words. Quality web content hinges on user experience, and your audience doesn’t want to cut through the fluff.
Some suggest that long form content performs better for SEO, but our personal experience shows that sometimes long form content brings in a modest amount of traffic at best, and sometimes brief snappy posts bring in loads of clicks.
Ultimately you want to avoid weak, thin content at all costs, and produce the best possible content that you can.
How many words does a blog post need? A blog post should be as long as it needs to be to communicate and support the point thoroughly.
Creative, original content
You must have original content.
You can’t just rip something that you really admire from another website and use it for the content on your own website.
It may be possible to pass off a line of poetry by some obscure poet as your own at a cocktail party, but that doesn’t fly for web content. Google’s all-seeing eye knows whether your content has been crafted or copy-pasted.
Copied, stolen, or plagiarized web content can lead to penalties from Google, which will severely harm the traffic and performance of your site.
Proofread. Spell-checking programs have been around since the 1970s. You have no excuses. Google’s search algorithm checks for spelling errors and grammatical errors to help determine the quality of the writing.
Better writing means better web content. This is true in the eyes of Google as well as your human readers. People don’t want to read poor quality content that’s riddled with typos, misspellings, and grammatical errors. Google knows this.
Your ability to craft a metaphor or effectively use an allegory doesn’t get you points on search, but it does matter for your human audience. Varying sentence length, using synonyms to avoid repetition, and your ability to communicate information to the reader are also important for your audience.
Use SEO tools and plug-ins
A literary critic has different criteria for good content than Google’s search algorithm. There are SEO tools and plug-ins designed specifically to help improve the SEO score for your content.
Using these tools doesn’t mean that you’re a bad writer or that you don’t have what it takes to judge good content vs. bad content. SEO plug-ins just makes it easier for you to write good content for a search algorithm.
Writing good, high quality web content on a regular basis can be challenging, and is definitely time consuming. It is, however, crucial to SEO. Consider contracting your content marketing to a firm like Haden Interactive.