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It always surprises me that a company will happily pay for design and programming, but not for content. Take a look at the ads for writers and content creators. On average, the pay scale is dismal compared with design and programming.

Don’t get me wrong, you definitely need good design and programming. Without that you don’t have a site or a blog. But you also need great quality content.

Google has said that the two most important factors in search viability are quality content and the number of inbound links from other relevant websites. There are, of course, many other factors. But without those two you’re starting with a serious disadvantage.

As early as 2000, usability expert Jakob Nielsen identified content as the number one reason someone visited a website. Other studies show that if the website lacks good content, it simply ends up in oblivion due to the Search Engine algorithms preference for great content.

So if quality content is the foundation of SEO and online visibility, how can you create quality content?

Start with the Google Quality Guidelines:

  • Would you recognize the site as an authority on a topic when mentioned by name?
  • Would you trust the content in an article on the site?
  • Is the article written by an expert or enthusiast who know the topic well?
  • Does the site have duplicate or redundant content on the same or similar topics?
  • Does the site provide original content and information, original research or analysis?
  • Does the page provide significant value compared to other pages in the search result for that query?
  • Does an article provide both sides of a issue?
  • Is the content mass or machine-produced or outsourced to a large number of creators?
  • Is it well written and edited, or does it appear sloppy and hastily produced?
  • Does the content have spelling, stylistic or factual errors?
  • Does the content contain insightful analysis or information that goes beyond the obvious?
  • Would you want to bookmark and share the content on this page?
  • Would you expect to see this content in a magazine or book?
  • Does the content offer in-depth information or is it short and shallow?
  • Are the pages prepared with careful attention to detail?

Every page on the your website, blog post or article in your newsroom should be evaluated against this list. Take a look at the top 10 results for keywords you would like to rank well for and see what kind of content they have. Several studies have shown that well-written, in depth content gets the top few spots in Google.

If you don’t have writers, editors and visual creators who can produce this kind of content, make sure you have a line item in your marketing budget for great quality content and hire someone who can produce it for you.

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