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How do you identify and ensure high-quality content?
Quality should always be your priority in content creation. Search engines value quality content when ranking websites; even more importantly, quality content significantly affects your readers and customers. But, you must apply reviewing and editing criteria to an article before publishing it.
Here’s how to make sure you’re producing quality content.
What’s at the core of quality online content?
You should always aim for a few core factors in your content production. Use this checklist to guide your writers and editors:
- Originality: What does your content (in other words, your brand) offer that no other content does? How does it stand out from the crowd? What makes the perspective unique?
- Readability: Does the article summarize and explain complex matters in an approachable way? Is it written engagingly?
- Voice: Does the tone speak to the reader? Does it match your brand’s culture and message?
- Relevance: Is the article meaningful to its intended reader? Does it help the reader’s purpose or answer their questions? Is it both timely and up-to-date?
- Timelessness: Will the content still be relevant and exciting in a few years? Could it easily be updated if needed?
- Grammar and spelling: Is the writing free of typos and grammatical mistakes?
As is the nature of our digital world, these criteria constantly evolve. This means staying on top of the latest content marketing research and analysis and adjusting your strategy as needed is essential.
Search engine optimization basics for content writing
Ensuring your content performs well online and achieves first-page ranking means adhering to specific rules set by Google (or other search engines) algorithms.
Critical factors for crafting optimized content include:
- Length: 1,000 to 3,000 words is perfect for blog posts and articles. Landing pages or description pages perform better at 300 to 500 words.
- Structure: Format your content using title (H1) and subheaders (H2 and greater) tags. Use keywords and phrases in your headers.
- Links: Linking to internal and authoritative external web pages increases traffic and performance.
- Keywords: Use relevant keywords, including long-tail keywords, phrases and LSI keywords.
- Keyword density: While using relevant keywords is non-negotiable, a keyword density that is too high can result in keyword stuffing. This will lower your SEO ranking.
- Meta title and description: A catchy meta title and description that includes your primary keyword or phrase attracts your readers and the Google algorithm.
Optimize quality control using online tools
A recent report found that, as of 2021, around 61% of businesses still review each piece of submitted content. This inefficient, “one at a time” strategy contributes to a significant loss of productivity.
There are various online tools designed to help you to optimize your workflow. One person can now achieve what once required an entire team and considerable time — and to the same standard.
Organizing your workflow
When it comes to setting up an efficient process, take advantage of tools that allow you to use filters to sort articles by your chosen review and quality control criteria. Applying the filters to incoming content will help you quickly decide which articles are ready for publishing and which may benefit from QCing, editing or rewriting.
Best of all if you can make this system available to any team member, allowing you to delegate tasks as needed.
Plagiarism isn’t just an ethical or quality concern. Repeated content is down-ranked down by search engine algorithms.
There are a lot of plagiarism checkers out there on the Internet and some of them even use AI to detect plagiarized or paraphrased content within seconds. Use them to make sure your content is unique and offers real value to the readers.
Grammar, spelling and style
Ideally, you should hire an editor to proofread your content and catch typos, syntax, diction and grammar errors.
If for whatever reason you don’t have access to an editor, take advantage of online tools to help yourself. You can find a few AI-based online software that checks your grammar, highlights repetitive words and phrases and recommends style improvements.
Translation tools can also help you (broadly) determine if an article in a foreign language is insightful and informative. Using tools for that is now accurate enough to spot repetitive, irrelevant or inappropriate content.
The number of times a keyword is used in a text directly impacts how search engines like Google rank it.
Experts generally recommend a keyword density of around 1% to 2%. This means that a paragraph of 100 words should only contain a keyword once — or twice at most. Some content marketers recommend one keyword for every 200 words.
For efficiency, you don’t need to count the keywords in every paragraph manually. Remember that nowadays there are online tools that do that for you. All you need to do is insert the article URL or the text and a tool spits out a keyword density percentage.
Apply these guidelines to your writing today
Are you keen to start writing a few great pieces for your small business website each month?
The focus of any content creation strategy — big or small — should be on quality over quantity. Thankfully, it’s easy to craft quality content if you stick to a few simple guidelines, incorporate the latest SEO practices and use online tools.
So, what are you waiting for? Use these tips and best practices to guide your content team or put (digital) pen to paper today.