Have you noticed the web becoming a more beautiful, diverse, and enriching place over the last few years? Though few casual users realise it, there’s a reason why uselessly brief, keyword-stuffed and ad-ridden content is quickly becoming a relic of the internet’s careless boom years: Since Google’s groundbreaking Penguin update in 2012, search engines have consistently ranked quality over quantity, and the results have been nothing short of stunning.
How Quality Content SEO Works
According to a revealing SearchMetrics Report (Ranking Factors Study, 2014), ‘To rank higher, sites must produce not just more content, but more relevant, holistic content.’ In essence, quality content SEO is all about offering a valuable, rewarding total experience to the end user. In order to achieve this, content must be:
-Relevant. Above all else, producing quality content SEO is about providing highly relevant, newsworthy information. Readers should come away from your content feeling like they have learned something.
-Semantically comprehensive. If you were around in the early days of the web, you probably went cross-eyed at least a few times while attempting to decipher sites where the actual content was squeezed in between the (plentiful) keywords and outbound links. Fortunately, Google stepped in to rectify this situation; today, content that reads well to humans is the only kind of content that ranks well with search engines.
-Long form. Brevity may be the soul of wit, but it’s the antithesis of insightful content—Let’s face it, there isn’t much you can teach a person with just 200 words of text. Modern SEO content must therefore be ‘long form’, typically containing between 500-1500 words.
-Media-rich. When you want to learn how to do something new, would you rather: A) Digest a massive wall of text, B) Look at pictures and diagrams and try to figure things out yourself, or C) Watch a long ‘explainer’ video, pausing every few minutes to note down relevant details? Obviously, none of these experiences are ideal—Instead, what’s optimal is watching an explainer video to see how things are done in ‘real time’, then scrolling down to see bullet points of text summarising the highlights of said video (perhaps with some useful images and diagrams interspersed throughout). ‘Media rich’ content—content that includes a useful diversity of text, images, and videos—is therefore highly impressive to search engines.
-Easy to read. ‘Long form’ doesn’t have to mean ‘difficult to read’; using headings, sub-headings, and bullet points breaks down text content so that it’s perfectly readable on a wide range of different devices—exactly what search engines love to see.
What Makes Quality Content Revolutionary?
In the pre-internet past, marketing was a rather narcissistic discipline where style ruled over substance. Brands poured millions of dollars into showy ad campaigns that, at the end of the day, were a lot more about making them look impressive than they were about enriching the human experience. Thanks to content marketing, all that has changed: Today, for the first time in history, brands have to ‘give back’ to their customers while marketing to them if they wish to grow. They have to inform us, entertain us, and inspire us. In short, they have to make the world a better place.