4 Simple Ideas to Boost Your Content Quality

Content marketers are always trying new ways to engage their audience. The sheer number of campaigns they have to compete with demands such inventiveness, but most of them make the mistake of producing more content instead of better ones.

To stand out in a sea of identical and similar-sounding content, you need to make a splash with quality.

Buzzword aside, quality content means producing engaging material that hooks the audience. This type of content is what gets shared across social networks, attracting more eyeballs and eventually, converting these leads to some sweet sales.

Here are four ways to craft better content without sacrificing optimization and improve your organic search rankings.

 

  1. Specify Your Audience

In Seth Godin’s words, “Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising, it is making something worth talking about.”

Persuasive and entertaining content means being of value to your audience. It might be something your market can easily relate to or something that solves their problems in some way or takes them on a journey that’s only possible with your services. Better yet, fulfill them all! Successful content marketing knows who its audience is. Once you have that knowledge, it’s already half the battle.

 

  1. Check Your Facts

Trust is the most precious thing your audience can give you. In this era of fake news, misleading people with some made-up stuff just to boost views will quickly backfire on anyone foolish enough to try.

If your audience knows that you only speak and reference truth in your content, you’re establishing your brand as authoritative and trustworthy.

 

  1. Quote Some Expert Sources

Build your credibility by associating your content with words from industry experts. Operating on their quotes of wisdom adds weight and authority to your campaign, as well as expands your field of expertise. The additional insight from established names further adds value for your audience.

 

  1. Add Visuals to Highlight Your Points

Sometimes, words can be a little too sparse to convey your ideas. Visual examples help spruce up your content with accessible information that’s easier to digest. Incorporating graphics to your text-based content also demonstrates your brand’s creative prowess to the audience.

 

As your campaign goes on, you’ll develop more strategies to adapt to trends and updates in the future. Investing time and effort into creating useful and relevant content ensures brand recall and higher rankings.

Our digital marketing blog has tons more content creation hacks that will keep you updated on all the new developments.

Google Wages Battle against Fake News via “Project Owl”

The internet has become a hotbed of false and inaccurate information. While yellow journalism has been around since medieval times, fake news is an internet-borne epidemic, and its implications have set off great confusion and unrest, worldwide.

People accuse fake news of having increased the polarization between political parties and their supporters. This has led the big guns of the internet, like Google, to crack down on fake news, once and for all.

“Project Owl” is the codename for Google’s initiative to curb the epidemic. During its initial launch in April, the search giant rolled out new ways for users to report content or search results that they perceive to be unreliable or objectionable.

 

How Dangerous is Fake News?

Fake news and bogus conspiracy theories are nothing new. They have been around even before the internet was born. For centuries, people have used fake news as a weapon to taint public trust, win Infowars, and advance malicious interests.

But, the biggest danger of fake news is that it is divisive. People believe what they want to believe, and malicious groups take advantage of this human frailty to discredit facts and gain profit to the detriment of the community. Those who create and circulate fake news are enemies of the people, and this has led Google to rethink and interfere with its algorithms.

 

Google’s Three-pronged Approach

The “Project Owl” initiative is part of Google’s ongoing efforts to deliver high-quality content to search engine users. Like Facebook and other internet giants, Google has gotten a lot of flak for allowing offensive and inaccurate content to circulate on the web. But, it has since rolled out algorithm updates to keep problematic content at bay. Here are the changes, so far:

  • Improved Feedback Tools

When you type in a query, you will see several information boxes, which Google calls “snippets,” on the results pages. These snippets display a small sample of content found on these web pages. One of the biggest changes rolled out via Project Owl is a new feedback form for Featured Snippets answers, which appears on the lower right corner of the box.

With just one click, you can directly report the content if you find something ridiculous, offensive, or false. By clicking the Feedback button, a short survey will ask you what you think of the content. On the same form, you can also make comments, suggestions, or a legal removal request.

  • Improved Suggestions

Google Suggest, the search engine’s auto-complete function, allows users to see the most frequently searched terms as you type your query. The drop-down feature then lets you choose among the search terms to automatically complete the search.

Over the years, this feature has allowed marketers to see what terms people are searching for in real time. However, many people have been pointing out several instances of Google suggesting outrageous and offensive terms. The problem is that this function diverts users’ attention, sometimes taking them to disturbing web pages.

Improving the auto-complete search suggestions is perhaps the biggest change in this year’s rollout, as Google has been, for the longest time, algorithm-centered. Now, in response to people’s criticism of this feature, Google has created a system to allow people to report these problematic search suggestions.

  • Authority Boost

What’s even worse than fake news is denial content. Denial sites are those that discredit significant events in history, such as the Holocaust. When a user searches or sees a suggestion for “Did the Holocaust happen?” these denial sites would spring up on SERPs.

As a response, Google has decided to take bigger strides to pushing high-quality content to the upper ranks of SERPs. A long-term solution to curbing this issue is to put more emphasis on authoritative content. For Google, this means making sure that no denial sites will appear, and only the most authoritative content will surface for unusual queries. In addition to human feedback, Google promises to make the criteria to determine authority even more refined.

 

Rebuilding Public Trust

Project Owl is just the beginning of Google’s bid to combat fake news and rebuild public trust. The best minds working on the initiative are combining technology and human expertise to make sure that facts win.

 

Google’s Call to Action

Google promises more advanced updates in the future, but for now, it calls on all internet users to play their part in the fight against fake news. One way individuals and businesses can help is to take advantage of the new feedback and reporting tools the moment they detect dangerous and inaccurate content.

If truth be told, the fight against fake news is everyone’s fight, as it begins in the individual user’s mind. While the internet can be a breeding ground for dangerous content, it can also be used to search for the truth. Google, among other things, is meant to be a tool to seek and identify the truth.

The fake news and fake history epidemic don’t just affect the media and political landscape; it has also spread to the realms of business. Small businesses to corporations are under direct threat of these malicious activities. But, Google assures that if it defeated black hat SEO tactics, it can beat fake news.

 

A Look at Content Marketing in 2017

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We know very well how content marketing — and digital marketing, in general — works. While a specific strategy may prove fruitful today, it may be useless tomorrow. It’s a continuously evolving field, which prompts digital marketers to move as fast as it does. We’re at the early part of 2017 and it’s safe to say that content marketing is evolving with the current year. That said, it might be good to see how the year is shaping up.

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Time to Experiment

Content marketing seems to be straightforward. In recent years, all that businesses and marketers needed to consider were the following: key performance indicators (KPIs), different content types, distribution mediums, methods for tracking success, and the audience. But according to Forbes contributor AJ Agrawal, it’s time to rethink these strategies and start from scratch.

The reason is that these things may weigh down the effectiveness of a specific strategy under the current online metrics. Agrawal recommends that after throwing away what used to work, it’s time to experiment. There are different content types to try and use. But before working on them, it’s important to still mind the audience. At the end of the day, their preferences and needs dictate how pages rank online.

For 2017, according to Business2Community, it might be good to advocate a brand-to-customer experience. What this means is that companies must focus on the type of experiences customers get from interacting with the brand. A main part of that experience involves relevant content. Surveys indicate that a massive 74 percent of consumers hate seeing irrelevant content. As a countermeasure, there must be a dedicated customization or personalization strategy.

 

The ‘Perfect’ Content Length

Entrepreneur, on the other hand, cites how word count can make or break content. Regardless of how relevant the piece might be, there is potential for readers to abandon it merely for being too short. According to Entrepreneur contributor John Rampton, ‘perfect’ content length is entirely dependent on various factors. It might be the topic, the type of audience, or the medium used to promote the content itself.

Research from the firm serpIQ reveals that a minimum of 1,500 words is the optimal length for blog posts. Another firm, Searchmetrics, suggests 1,100-1,300 words is the ideal word count. Anything shorter than the suggestions might not rank as well as expected, or not even get enough shares/engagement to be relevant for rankings.

Image from serpIQ

But content creators must always remember that quality still trumps length. It’s just that long content has more than enough opportunity to cover a topic extensively. If a reader or user finds a specific topic interesting, he has the tendency to want to know more. Businesses/content creators must cater to that or risk being ignored.

 

Writing with a Purpose

For all the aforementioned trends, however, it still pays to go back to content marketing’s roots. Content creators must remember that they ought to craft content with a purpose. Too many content strategies only say, “You must post at least one piece of content to be relevant.” The problem is that content marketing is not heavily reliant on schedule. Don’t post something for the sake of it. Make sure that it serves a purpose in people’s lives.

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“What’s the point of my content? Is it meant to help people understand a specific concept? Give them tips on how to do something? Or perhaps relay important tricks that can help them with day-to-day living?” These are the types of questions every content marketer must ask himself. Keep in mind that people surf the web not just to look for funny cat or dog pictures. Many of them are searching for something useful – and together, they have the power to influence a website’s ranking.

Another purpose of content is aiding an existing marketing campaign. For those who don’t have an idea how this works, it will be helpful to look at how competitors do it. See if their content is being used to strengthen their campaigns and further their goals. Are they targeting specific keywords and creating content around it? Are they including good calls-to-action?

2017 is still in its early stage; who knows what the rest of the year holds for content marketing. What businesses and digital marketers can do as early as now is to stay updated on the rapid industry changes. Their success relies on how they adapt and use the changes to their advantage.