The Importance of High Quality Content in SEO
When it comes to Search Engine Optimisation, content is vital. Although there are over 200 factors which can affect where your website ranks, having high quality content is one of the most important. With Google constantly updating their algorithms to ensure that top ranking sites are those containing the most relevant, high quality information, it’s now more important than ever to ensure that the content of your website has a high quality score.
So what is a ‘Content Quality Score’?
Every web page indexed by Google has its own content quality score. This score is determined by Google’s algorithms, and directly influences how well the page is going to rank within search results.
As there are many different forms of content to be found within a website, there are a number of ways in which Google calculates a quality score for different types of web page. The main way in which content quality score is determined is by comparing a page to quality patterns already uncovered by Google. Google will deconstruct your web pages depending upon the type of content they contain, before comparing this content to its own set of content quality guidelines.
Types of content
In order to ensure that your content is of a high quality, it’s important to first determine the type of content your page contains. There are three main types of content:
- Main Content (MC) – Main content is made up of the parts of your web page which directly help achieve the page’s overall purpose. This can include text, videos and images, as well as page features and user generated content (e.g. reviews).
- Supplemental Content (SC) – Supplemental content contributes to the experience of your web page, but doesn’t directly help achieve the page’s purpose. This can include the website navigation, social media icons, comment sections, related articles and so on. Depending upon the purpose of your web page, content which is considered SC on one page can actually be classed as MC on another page.
- Ads / Monetisation – Advertisements or monetisation content consists of page content or links which have the sole purpose of making money within a web page. This content can be detrimental to a site’s content quality score if it is unrelated to the page content.
Key concepts for a high content quality score
There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your website pages meet the basic quality guidelines:
- Your pages should have a purpose. Examples of a page’s purpose would be to share information or media, to express an opinion, to entertain, to sell products / services and so on. The quality score of a page is a measurement of how well a page achieves its purpose. This score is relative to other pages on the internet which are determined to have a similar purpose.
- Pages should contain a decent amount of high quality Main Content (MC). If it does not, then the page / website within which the page is situated should be expert, authoritative and trustworthy or the website must have a good reputation for the topic being focused upon within the page in question.
- Web pages would also ideally contain Supplemental Content (SC) which helps provide a satisfying user experience, and a functional page design. They should also be well cared for and maintained. Make sure that your website contains no crawl errors, the pages load in a speedy manner, and that there are no broken links or out of date content.
How to write for web pages
When you are writing new content for your webpages, the most important thing to keep in mind is who will be reading the page and what they will be looking for. Google wants to direct users to relevant web pages that will answer their queries, and so your content needs to be relevant to searcher intention and the keywords they use to search. Successful content needs to be written with the user at front of mind. Don’t forget the importance of spelling and grammar; all content should be well-written and easy to read. While you should include keywords relevant to the topic of the page, avoid keyword stuffing i.e. trying to awkwardly shoehorn irrelevant words and phrases into the copy.
User behaviour quickly reveals badly written pages for what they really are- if the content on your webpages does not provide the information that users are expecting then they will go elsewhere, causing other site stats such as bounce rate and time on site to be negatively affected, which can in turn impact on your rankings.
There are of course a number of other factors which come into play when Google determines how high quality your website content is, and where your website will rank as a result.
This post was originally published in October 2014, and updated in September 2017.