What Exactly Is High Quality Content? How Do You Know?

High-quality content is a cornerstone of content marketing. As content marketers, you know that quality, relevance, and usefulness matter. But what’s the barometer for high quality? Is it completely subjective? Or does it include tangible metrics and best practices?

We’d argue the latter, and this post will go over exactly what equates to high-quality content.

Content Marketing Doesn’t Happen in a Vacuum

Content marketing doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s out there for your audience to find, and its performance is measurable. You can achieve solid proof of the content’s ability to attract audiences and convert them, via content analytics.

But does great performance equal high quality? In most scenarios, you can be confident that the answer is yes, but you can find out more by examining the specific attributes that make this content so strong. Let’s find out what performance metrics can tell you about quality and about the traits of high-quality content.

Data Defines High-Quality Content

Within your content performance data metrics, you have the elements you need to discern high-quality content from subpar. So, what metrics matter?

  • Pageviews: How many views does this content have? If this number trends up, it must be of interest to your audience.
  • Bounce rate: High bounce rates can indicate that the content doesn’t connect with an audience. The quality level could be why. Look at the bounce rate to determine how many of those pageviews were of substance. Just because a post ranks highly in organic SEO and brings in clicks, doesn’t mean it’s well written. While Google certainly takes into consideration many elements in ranking, sometimes the top organic articles are junk! You want the best of both worlds: optimized and high quality.
  • Time on page: In conjunction with bounce rate, you also want to look at time on page. Longer time on the page usually means the person read the entire article. You can provide context to this metric by comparing it to how long it takes an average reader to consume the material. If it’s a five-minute read, and time on page is around this, it’s an indicator that users finished the piece.
  • Social media metrics: Social media profiles are likely your largest content distribution channel. When a post has high engagement—likes, comments, clicks, shares, etc., this typically reflects that readers are intrigued by the subject matter. However, it can be misleading unless you examine it alongside the bounce rate.
  • Conversions: The goal of content marketing is to generate leads and conversions. The goals are different depending on the buying stage of the content and its format. Content with clear calls to action (CTAs) that are conversions, you can gauge the quality of content as a means of persuading or convincing. A content piece with high conversions did its job well.

Beyond metrics, what are other traits of high-quality content?

Your Content Has High Domain Backlinks

Backlinks are very attractive to content marketers, especially links from high domains, because they can boost your organic rankings. In an enterprise team like yours, you may have SEO experts that focus just on this discipline.

If they’re promoting your content as a backlink to other sites, then the content must be top-notch. So, you can certainly assert that backlinks from reputable websites to your piece signifies its quality. High domain websites aren’t going to link to trash content. Rather, they want ultimate guides, unique perspectives, and illustrations of expertise. Check out the video below for backlinking how-tos.

Your Content Ranks High Organically

Being on the first page of Google is an objective for every content marketer. How do you get to this place? Google has many things it looks for: appropriate keyword usage, technical aspects that are correct (metadata, alt tags, headers, etc.), and readability.

As noted, a post could be highly optimized but not provide much meat. Google absolutely wants to provide users with the best answers to their search queries. So, they keep tweaking away. The best thing you can do for your content is to follow best practices:

  • Use the keyword in the title, first paragraph, headers, and body. But not too much. It should be a balance.
  • Ensure the technical components are correct, including the meta title and description having the appropriate character length and use of the keyword. You’ll also want to add alt tags to images.
  • Readability: The Flesch score tells how readable a piece of content is. You can bolster readability by using short sentences and paragraphs, bulleted lists, lots of headers, and basic language. You should also always use active over passive voice. It’s not always possible to hit the 70 score (considered optimal readability) because sometimes the topic relates to “big” words. If you use an SEO plugin on WordPress like Yoast, hitting that green light for readability is easier, and it can even call out areas to improve. Grammar checkers like Grammarly do as well.

Image: Yoast

Your Content Should Have Depth

Surface content is a problem in content marketing. By “surface,” I mean it doesn’t go deep into the subject. It’s generic, not specific. You, of course, want to produce content that shows thought leadership and leverages data and examples.

For example, if you’re writing about cybersecurity threats, you should use statistics on the volume and increase. You should also highlight some specific incidents that illustrate the risk. Then you need to demonstrate your expertise by offering takeaways and best practices. These things bolster the quality of the piece. When content has these things, it’s more engaging and could provide more conversions.

Your Content Should Look Good

In the realm of high-quality content, you have to talk about design. Every piece of content has some level of design. In talking about blog posts specifically, the cleaner and simpler, the better. Images should be applicable and professional. The words are what really matter, but humans are very visual, so if they land on your website and find it outdated or too busy, they won’t stick around to read your awesome article.

High-Quality Content Also Needs the Right Tools

A big part of consistently publishing high-quality content is having a platform that streamlines workflows, fosters collaboration, and provides visibility. You can achieve all these things and more with DivvyHQ. See why so many enterprise content marketing teams love it!