Google updates are as closely watched as the Vatican during a papal election, and search algorithm updates like Panda and Hummingbird are analyzed inside and out for weeks or even months.
Ask Google what really matters, and they'll say again and again one thing: quality.Publish quality content that answers the questions users are searching for better than anyone else, and in return you will get amazing traffic. Why, then, are some content marketers still focused on a strategy that favors outdated methods? It's usually the result of two paralyzing conditions: confusion about prioritization and fear of over-investing. Here are three ways to understand what quality metrics matter and how to make better content.
1. Go Right to the Source
Google explains a great deal about what it considers quality content. A fascinating post on the official Google webmaster's blog lists 23 individual bullets that focus on this question, such as "Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?" and "Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?". To Google, quality isn't snappy headlines or lots of pages with information found everywhere on the Internet.
2. Audit Your Web Pages
Rather than creating new content each time the spirit moves you, the very best ROI on your content will come from consistently improving and upgrading what you already have. Any website that has been around for more than a year or two will begin to show signs of succumbing to whatever SEO advice is ascendant at the time.
Use a critical reader's eye to determine an old article's future. If it's good, keep and update it. If you've written about this same thing 10 different ways, combine old posts into one authoritative version. If it's terrible, kill it.
3. Measure to Manage
When it comes to quality content, data is crucial. Moz, a recognized expert site in quality SEO, recommends two critical ones: click-through rates and dwell time.
- SERP Click-through rate refers to the number of users that click a particular link to a website out of the total number of users who viewed that link in the Search Engine Results Pages.
- Dwell time is the amount of time a user spends on a page before returning to search results.
A strong click-through rate means you've created well-written titles and meta descriptions that are successfully getting users to check out your content. A high dwell time means they find your content informative and entertaining. Work to continually improve these metrics for better results in your content marketing.
Quality takes time, but it's worth it. Really.