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Who determines the quality of your content? Google? Nope! I’ll give you one more guess…

Got it?

Did you say your website visitors? Ding, ding—we have a winner! Yes, your target market determines the quality of your content. Why is that, exactly? Because if they like it, they click through to your site from search, stay and visit for a minute or two, share your content, and then return to read more in the future. Google factors all of these actions into its rankings.

When you optimize for keywords, Google looks at your content but continually adjusts your rankings based on how well your content performs. Yes, that’s correct: Google operates based on the concept of democracy. The people vote by taking (or not taking) action, and a sole all-mighty king or dictator does not determine what you get to see and hear.

So, How Do You Know If Your Content Rocks…Or Maybe Sucks?

Read this snippet from a local online magazine post and decide which camp it falls into:


An Expert Opinion

So, what do you think? Would you find this valuable content if you were interested in heading to Minneapolis for a weekend getaway? Now, get an expert opinion. What do I think?

It doesn’t matter!

Despite my years in the business, I honestly cannot say one way or another just by looking at the post. The writing quality is decent. It won’t irk Google or hurt rankings in any obvious way. However, the actual value of content is judged by how well it meets the needs and interests of its intended audience. Viewing data and analytics is the only way I gain a sense of this.

While I don’t have access to the website’s analytics tools, I can view basic data via the BuzzSumo Content Analyzer:

Forty-three social shares, and this post was published just a day before capturing this screengrab. So, more shares were and are bound to roll in!

Now, this website is a step above your typical small local business site—so I’m guessing it’s not their most popular post. Let’s check out the BuzzSumo data on their most buzzworthy site content:

Per this data, their top posts have achieved 1.5k-2.1k social shares. A reasonable guess for this website would assume that a typical post enjoys maybe 100-200 social shares. As the numbers typically take a few weeks to get up to speed (that’s how content works), the post you just read is likely an average post.

How to Use This Information to Determine Your Content Quality

Share numbers from your website won’t be nearly as high simply because you’re smaller and have a less expansive reach. There’s no shame in that—it’s merely a fact! For you, 50 post shares might be pretty decent.

You can also use BuzzSumo to research competitive sites to determine how many shares they achieve. And remember, as they may have built up a more extensive audience over the years, you can’t say your posts aren’t successful simply because they fall behind when it comes to the number of shares; but you can get an idea of which types of content work in your niche. Then, write your opinion on the same subject but dive deeper and offer a more helpful perspective. Add pictures and videos to clarify your meaning, and link to use outside sources.

You’ll then know you have great content, meaning you need only get yours in front of the right eyeballs. Great content comes from trying different approaches, studying data, and improving—with incremental improvements building slowly over time.

Armed with the correct data, you’ll know precisely whether your content stinks…or (hopefully) rocks!



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