Who determines the quality of your content?
I’ll give you one more guess…
Did you say your website visitors?
Ding. Ding! We have a winner!
Yes, your market determines the quality of your content.
Because, if they like it, they click through to your site from search, stay on your page for a minute or two, share your content, and then come back again and read more in the future.
Google factors all those actions into its rankings.
When you optimize for keywords, Google does look at your content too. But it continually adjusts your rankings based on how well your content performs.
Yes. Google works on the concept of democracy. The people vote by taking (or not taking) actions. A sole powerful king or dictator does not determine what you get to see and hear.
How Do You Know If Your Content Rocks…Or Sucks?
Read this snippet of an article of a post at a local online magazine and decide whether you think it rocks or sucks:
The Expert’s Opinion
So, what did you think? Would you have found that useful if you had an interest in going to Minneapolis for a weekend?
Now, get an expert’s opinion.
What do I think?
…It doesn’t matter!
I honestly cannot tell just by looking at the post.
The writing quality is decent. It won’t irk Google and hurt rankings in any obvious ways.
However, the true value of content gets judged by how well it meets the needs and interests of its audience.
…And the only way I can tell that is by viewing data and analytics.
I don’t have access to the website’s analytics. But I can see basic data via Buzzsumo’s Content Analyzer:
43 social shares.
…And this post just got published a day prior to getting this data. So more shares will roll in.
Now, this website is a step above the typical small, local business. For them, I’m guessing it’s not their most popular post.
Buzzsumo lets me see the most popular posts on the site. So let’s look at that data:
Their top posts get 1.5k – 2.1k social shares.
A reasonable guess for this type of website would be that a typical post gets maybe 100 – 200 social shares or so.
It usually takes a couple weeks for numbers to get to their final (that’s how content works). So, this post you just read is likely an average post.
How to Use This to Determine Your Content Quality
Share numbers from your website won’t be nearly as high. That’s because you’re smaller and have a lower reach.
No shame in that. It’s just a fact.
For you, 50 shares on a post might be pretty decent.
But, you can also use Buzzsumo to research your competitor’s sites. See how many shares they get.
And remember, they may have a bigger audience built up. So, you can’t say your posts weren’t successful simply because you didn’t get the same number of shares.
But, you can get an idea of what content works in your niche. Write your own opinion on the same subject. Go farther in-depth and be more helpful.
Add pictures and videos to clarify your meaning. Link to helpful outside sources.
Then, you know you have great content.
And that means you simply have to get yours in front of the right eyeballs.
Great content comes from trying different approaches, studying data, and improving. You build it slowly over time with incremental improvement.
Armed with the right data, you know precisely whether your content stinks…or rocks!