Quality content is one of the most sought-after resources on the internet. At the same time, there’s a general misunderstanding about what “quality” actually means in this context.
A lot of people think that the quality of a post is measured by the amount of traffic it drives to a site. This could not be further from the truth.
While good content should draw lots of traffic, it’s by no means a guarantee – especially if it isn’t being properly marketed. At the same time, crafty marketers make it all too easy for poor content to pull in a lot of traffic. It’s called clickbait (or worse), and it’s something the online companies are actively fighting against.
So why is good content so hard to come by? And what can you do to make sure your content isn’t part of the mess? Read on, dear reader…
To understand why quality content is so important, let’s take a quick look at the history of the internet.
A long, long time ago, the internet was created in a flash of light somewhere in Al Gore’s basement. Or at least that’s close enough for our purposes here. In the early days, there were very few people using this internet, and it was generally seen as a nerdy collection of nerds doing nerdy things, via modems (fun tip: click that link in front of a dog and in front of a person under the age of 20 and see which one looks more confused).
Then, like most things created by nerds, the internet started to become popular. By the mid 90s, the “Information Super Highway” had really taken off. Major motion pictures even realized the importance of having an online presence. Advertisers started seeing clicks as dollar signs… and the race was officially underway.
These early days of the web were a gleefully lawless scramble with everyone trying to figure out just exactly what this internet thing was all about. And with the wild west approach came things like illegal downloading, suspicious websites, and wildly hacky SEO strategies.
Search Engine Optimization has come a long way, and at its core it has become the very basis of how we use the internet. (Imagine a world in which there was no Google-like way to search online – would there even be an online?) And as SEO algorithms continue to get better, the internet is going to continue to become smarter and more natural to use. Heck, the guy behind Google’s AI has flat-out said he wants it to work like the computers on Star Trek, where a single question will get you exactly what you need to know.
But back then, in the bad ol’ days, using transparent font and loading up your page with invisible words was a legitimate SEO strategy. While this particular technique thankfully no longer works, there are still an alarming number of marketing “experts” who think that SEO is a matter of tricking algorithms, not creating meaningful content.
These “experts” are wrong.
Early search AI was easy to trick. But it’s obviously in a search engine’s best interest to identify and avoid content that doesn’t actually deliver value to the reader.
The smarter search engine AI becomes, the easier it becomes for quality content to rise to the top. Here’s a pretty cool article (if you don’t mind it being a little tech heavy) from a few years ago, when Google released a major change to the way their algorithms work. Essentially, Google learned how to understand the gist of a page without relying on seeing the same keyword over and over. This system is still in use today, and has been refined even further. Here’s how it works…
Instead of looking for particular keywords, Google now understands you well enough to get the general message of what you’re talking about. Keywords still play a role, but you don’t have to worry about repeating the same exact phrase enough to hit some sort of magic SEO score. In fact, using variations of your keyword is better for you, because Google takes that to mean you’re writing genuinely valuable content and not just farming for clicks.
For example, let’s say you’re writing an article on “great marketing writing.” Instead of just repeating that verbatim to achieve keyword density, just write naturally! You’ll end up using related terms, maybe something like “great writers” or “good marketers”, and Google will know that you’re still talking about “great marketing writing.” You’re just doing it like a human writing for smart humans, instead of one writing for dumb robots.
(Apologies to any robots reading this post.)
What We Ask Ourselves When Creating Content
So now that you know why bad content is everywhere, and that the best thing you can do for your SEO score is to create quality content that aims to actually impart something of value to your reader, how do you go about creating that content? Here are the questions we ask ourselves at MeetEdgar before we start writing:
If the answer to any of the above questions is “no,” the post isn’t created.
We suggest you start asking yourself these questions as well. In our next Edgar Learn post, we’ll dig deeper into what you should actually write once each of these questions is answered with a gleeful “yes.”
This post is part of our Edgar Learn series, where we share the strategies that helped us find success! For more from Edgar Learn, click here!