The war between Search Engines (read Google) and Search Engine
Optimisation (SEO) practitioners, which has raged since Google's birth in
2000, shifted focus this year - and not only Google Users, but all
website visitors are the winners.
In the early days SEO was much simpler and SEO practitioners had the
upper hand: The primary requirements to improve Google performance were
simply to focus on the density of relevant keywords and then gather as
many inbound links as possible.
Alas, that resulted in websites filled with low quality content -
repetitive keywords and phrases - and countless links between unrelated
websites that may have improved Google performance, but delivered little
value to Google Users or website visitors in general.
Google's evolution, driven by the goal of delivering the most relevant
search results possible, led to the release earlier this year of the
This newest weapon in the Google arsenal has forced SEO practitioners
down a new path, and the by-products are an overall improvement to the
quality of Google search results and the quality of website content
What Is The Quality Update?
Around May of this year, Google started to give more
weight to pages that it deemed to have a higher
quality of content.
The technical details of how Google determines the quality of content is
still being debated, but as one expert has put it: "we do know that it
wants to provide users with the best information possible."Source
In a nutshell, it means shifting your focus away from creating content
for Google, and towards creating content for your visitors.
Google explicitly states this as the first point in their article Steps to a Google-friendly site - "...give visitors
the information they're looking for: Provide high-quality content on your
pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing
What Is Quality Content?
When first hearing the term "quality content", you could be forgiven for
thinking that you need to hire the services of Shakespeare to write the
content of your website.
There are many, many (many) articles about how to go about writing
quality content, but let us save you some pain and share some insight.
The Internet is the world's largest resource of information. You can
search for anything, at any time, and get an answer to whatever question
you may have.
Having such a vast volume of information available to us at the click of
a button, however, has overwhelmed us, and it has changed the way we sort
through and process information.
Now, instead of reading through content line for line until we find the
answer we're after, we skim across it impatiently; and if we can't find
our answer quickly, we move onto the next website to scour through their
This puts some weight on the amount of time we spend on a single page of
a website, because if you've spent more than 30 seconds on a page,
clearly there is something of value to you on that page.
And there's the secret to deciphering the term "quality content" - It's
actually "valuable content".
Create content that is meaningful to readers, that's valuable to readers.
Readers will come back to content that is valuable to them in some way.
Readers will share content they think will be valuable to others.
How to Create Valuable Content
As Google outline in their Webmaster Academy course, the content of your
website should be useful and informative, credible, and engaging.
Microsoft's search engine, Bing, have boiled their guidelines down a
little further, breaking the aspects of content quality into three
pillars - Authority (how trustworthy is the content), Utility (how useful
is the content), and Presentation (how well-presented is the content and
how easy is it to find it).
The simple fact is, creating content that keeps people reading
(or watching) is all you need to do to create valuable content.
And here is where you can think outside of the box. Your content could be
informative, or it could be entertaining, or it could be convenient, or a
mix of all three.
So while your competitor may have articles fit for a peer-reviewed
journal on their website, your content could still be valuable if
visitors find it more convenient, or more entertaining.
As an example, think of the numerous Do-It-Yourself related videos on
There may thousands of videos that demonstrate exactly the same topic -
how to change a tyre for example - but you can find videos that only
cover the basics of how to change a tyre with just as many views as a
video that shows every single step with detailed explanations.
A video may be just as popular if it is a little more entertaining, or if
it covers the steps of the task a little faster (more convenient).
Different audiences will put differing levels of value on different
formats and structures of content, which is why you can still create
To help you to create valuable / quality content for your website, I've
gathered a list of articles that cover the topic in more detail.
They all provide a different angle to decipher and understand the term
'quality content', and how to tackle the task.
Great Articles About Creating Valuable Content:
What's Your Opinion? How do you define 'quality
content'? Join the conversation on the iASP Central Facebook Page or Get in Touch.