quality content discussion and guide

What is Good Content and Why is It Important?

 When writers, site owners, or bloggers are asked if their content is good or quality, most will give the heartiest “hell yes!”

Over time, you realize that most folks’ idea of “quality” and “value” and “good” is subjective. Very subjective!

Some people might be doing an awesome job with their content, but others will haphazardly throw it all together and THINK they have done a good job.

In this article, I will breakdown the criteria for what we, here at Affiliate Phoenix, consider “quality content”. 

But let’s take a flight together over content city and I’ll explain to you my philosophy on this topic 😉


The Breakdown

 What constitutes as great or quality content?  Let’s break things down a bit.

Here is an example that a search engine user could type into Google or MS Edge:  “What is a recession”

All search engines want to return “the best answers possible” for what the user is seeking information on.

At the end of the day, if YOUR content doesn’t hit the criteria that Google or other search engines want it to hit, your page will not end up in the search results. 

With the first two searches in Google, you will see a lot of “trustworthy” sites pop up, which is another topic for another day, but definitely worth noting.

For instance, when I searched “what is a recession”, page 1 contained articles from these sites: Investopedia, Forbes, Whitehouse, and NPR.

Were all of those articles thorough enough to answer “what is a recession”?  Yes.

It would probably be super boring for a non-economics focused person, but yes.

The first thing all these sites do is *drumroll please*: explain what a recession!


Digging Deeper: What Can We Learn From These Search Results?

As I dug deeper into the first two search results by Investopedia and Forbes, I noticed how their content isn’t simply just a superficial, short answer for “what is a recession.” 

They go in-depth with it.  They also discuss what causes recessions, how long they last, business cycles, when the last one was… and so much more.

Based on that, because of the “trustworthiness” of the sites, and the “relevance” of the topic at hand, these specific pages are ranking in the top spots.  There are other factors, but the topic at hand is about “quality content”.


Craft Complete Answers as In-Depth as Possible

 Now, these sites are huge, so someone who is starting out, even with great content, might feel like this is a losing battle to target an article all about “what is a recession.”

But what if your content was not only good and informative, but targeted to someone like me? I get super bored when things are explained in a professional, drab way.

People who are searching for “what is a recession” don’t want to be put to sleep.

Someone who is asking a question like this is a beginner to topics regarding economics.

Do you think they want to read these monotoned, dry articles to understand what a recession is?

So, with that in mind, how can you take this and make it into exceptional content?

Content that could be shared, is helpful, and has a bit of personality?

Content that people would trust and interact with?

Could you create fun, helpful infographics that are easy to digest on such an article?

Believe it or not, there’s a place for you in a niche you are passionate about!  Even if it’s economics 😀


Google Gives Insight Into the Mindset Behind Developing Their Algorithm

One thing that Google does let us know is that they are constantly tweaking their algorithm to find “low quality” sites.  They reward high quality sites by finding the low quality sites and reducing the rankings of the low quality sites.  It makes sense. 

While they won’t reveal actual ranking signals, they do give us insight into Google’s mindset.  Here are the questions you should answer about your own niche site or blog if you already have one or are thinking about starting one:

    • Would you trust the information presented in this article?
    • Is this article written by an expert or enthusiast who knows the topic well, or is it more shallow in nature?
    • Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant articles on the same or similar topics with slightly different keyword variations?
    • Would you be comfortable giving your credit card information to this site?
    • Does this article have spelling, stylistic, or factual errors?
    • Are the topics driven by genuine interests of readers of the site, or does the site generate content by attempting to guess what might rank well in search engines?
    • Does the article provide original content or information, original reporting, original research, or original analysis?
    • Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
    • How much quality control is done on content?
    • Does the article describe both sides of a story?
    • Is the site a recognized authority on its topic?
    • Is the content mass-produced by or outsourced to a large number of creators, or spread across a large network of sites, so that individual pages or sites don’t get as much attention or care?
    • Was the article edited well, or does it appear sloppy or hastily produced?
    • For a health related query, would you trust information from this site?
    • Would you recognize this site as an authoritative source when mentioned by name?
    • Does this article provide a complete or comprehensive description of the topic?
    • Does this article contain insightful analysis or interesting information that is beyond obvious?
    • Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
    • Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that distract from or interfere with the main content?
    • Would you expect to see this article in a printed magazine, encyclopedia or book?
    • Are the articles short, unsubstantial, or otherwise lacking in helpful specifics?
    • Are the pages produced with great care and attention to detail vs. less attention to detail?
    • Would users complain when they see pages from this site?


Things to Think About to Produce a Great Article

Here is an easy-to-digest checklist that I have come up with for my own niche sites to follow

    • Am I answering the question they are seeking the answer to?
    • Does my answer go in-depth?
    • Is my content trustworthy?
    • Is my content original? 
    • Is my content at least as good as what is showing up in the top search results?
    • Is my content better than the top search results?
    • Will my content benefit from a visual graphic or infographic?
    • Will it benefit from a video?
    • Is my content shareable?

Once I answer these questions and am happy with my content piece, then I apply on-page search engine optimization (SEO) to it.

However, please keep in mind that not every piece of content needs an infographic or video.

Content is the first step; on-page optimization is the second step.

For every piece of content that ranks, millions won’t. If you think you can take shortcuts on content, you will lose in the long run. 

What will your content do that not only ranks, but is better than the competition?

Is your content truly deserving to rank in the top spots of Google?


What is the Foundation of Trustworthy Content?


Whether it’s you personally writing the content, or you hire a writer and they are writing it, it needs to be factual and accurate.

If the article is based on good research and data, then that’s a big issue. 

There are several angles to consider here, but it all starts with a qualified writer.  Some of you may be knowledgeable about the topics/what your site is about, but that doesn’t mean you’re an experienced writer.

Also, not every professional writer is a great writer.

Finding a writer to fit your budget is another issue.

If your budget is low, you will definitely have a far harder time getting solid content.  Of course, there can be exceptions to the rule!

For example: say you have a plan of launching your site with 20 in-depth articles, but you need to hire an amazing writer who will do research on the topics and then produce good content that you can share on the site.

Perhaps as a generic guideline, you tell your writer you want each piece of content to be a minimum of 1000 words. 

Now, there can be a lot of jam-packed awesome content in a 1000-word article, depending on the topic at hand.

However, if your budget is $20/article, do you think a writer is going to take the time to research the topic at hand and produce a quality piece of content? At a super low budget, you will have a hard time finding a writer who will produce original, well-researched content.

The bigger your budget is, the more room you will have to hire a good writer.  There is never a guarantee, of course.  Writers have to spend time to do research and then create a worthy, awesome article.

But let me end this section with an example. If you have a site all about hiking and hiking equipment reviews, and you post articles that aren’t fact checked, a hiking aficionado will instantaneously pick up on the lingo and any inaccuracies in your articles. They will probably never give your site another chance.

If you are reviewing an affiliate product that you will earn a commission from, you want to make sure your article contains the following:

    • Well-researched information
    • Quotes from professionals in your niche’s industry, if it makes sense
    • Link out to credible sources, if using other sources
    • Take pictures or create videos, if reviewing a product

At the end of the day, you want to earn the trust of the people visiting your site.

People visiting your site or blog can sniff out bs.  Also, think of the websites you personally visit.  Do you appreciate legitimate information when looking up something?  How about when you are looking up recommendations and reviews?

Think about when you start reading content and it doesn’t read well.  Do you keep going and waste your time, or do you exit the page and try to find a more reliable source? 

Quoting reliable sources and professionals in a given field also helps build E-A-T (expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness).  E-A-T is a major factor in rankings so Google can determine if someone with expertise in a given field has contributed or built out your content (following is an image from their Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines PDF):

e-a-t basics

In the middle of creating this article, your favorite Phoenix heard a crying call from Google: On August 18th, 2022, they shed light on their new update, dubbed the…. 


The Infamous Helpful Content Update!

According to Google, their latest update wants creators to focus on “people first” content.  Searchers have been dissatisfied with the search results that Google has been returning for their search queries.

What does that mean exactly?  It means some folks have been manipulating Google and other search engines to rank their content, even when that content is poor and isn’t serving people at all.

Keep in mind that I have seen Google drop sites in rankings out of the top 100 for a 1.5 years now when the algorithm thinks you’re not serving it or are gaming it.

With that said, here’s a checklist for you to use to make your content shine as much as possible.


Final Checklist

  • Am I answering the question they are seeking the answer to?
  • Does my answer go in-depth?
  • Is my content well-researched?
  • Did I include credible sources and cite them?
  • Did I include expert/professional opinions?
  • Is my content trustworthy?
  • Is my content original? 
  • Is my content at least as good as what is showing up in the top search results?
  • Is my content better than the top search results?
  • Will my content benefit from a visual graphic or infographic?
  • Did I include relevant images in my content?
  • Will it benefit from a video?
  • Is my content shareable?
  • Did I break up the content into digestible, readable chunks?
  • Did I apply on-page search engine optimization to the content piece?

In Summary

If your content is serving its audience and what they came for, that is one of the biggest requirements you can fulfill, especially when it comes to what Google wants you to do for their search engine users.

When you have created content around what they are searching for and they like and trust your content, you have done your job well (or your writer 😉 )