Neil Patel recently wrote a great blog post for the Content Marketing Institute called “How Google Judges Quality and What You Should Do About It.” It’s a fantastic piece and, if you haven’t seen it yet, we strongly recommend that you check it out. In it, Neil explains that one of the reasons why content quality matters so much is because it’s critical to getting good search results. He makes the argument that one of the most important reasons why content quality matters is because Google says so.
As much as we like the post, here at Acrolinx we see an important way to expand on it. Specifically, we’re talking about what content quality really means. In the article, Neil’s definition primarily revolves around technical specifications such as making sure that keywords are used appropriately, referencing authoritative sources, and ensuring that the content is updated regularly. There’s no doubt that these and the other factors that he’s listed are important and that search engines will reward you with better rankings when you take them into account.
But let’s not forget an important point: Fundamentally, content quality comes down to how well your content is written.
Neil hints at this when he calls out the need to build credibility and to write at an expert level. However, he seems to be primarily focused on how sophisticated someone’s take is on a particular subject rather than how well they actually write. For our part, we believe that how successful you are at using language is equally important when it comes to building the credibility and authority that search engines are looking for. Specifically we’re talking about things as basic as your use of grammar and spelling as well as more sophisticated aspects of writing like style and tone of voice.
This is a point made in a recent article about SEO that was featured on the Huffington Post. In it Tyler Collins, the head of an SEO agency, explains that to rank well in search engines “the content on your website must be well-written, free of grammatical errors, and 100% unique and original. Content must read smoothly and give visitors the information they are searching for.” With this passage, Tyler gives the writing aspect of content quality the attention that we wish Neil had.
Further making the point was the news early last year from search engine Bing, which confirmed that spelling and grammar have an impact on their search rankings. Their logic, of course, is that all other things being equal, search engines are going to serve up content that’s easy to consume and that isn’t encumbered with typos, grammatical issues, or other factors that impede readability. It stands to reason that Bing isn’t the only one taking this into account with its algorithms.
So Neil, we hope that in your next post about SEO and content quality, you’ll include what we know is a critical piece of the equation: good writing. While it may never be the key driver of search, we believe that in an increasingly content rich world, it will increasingly become one of the factors that search engines use to determine what they rank well.
For anyone looking to increase their organic traffic, it’s an important reminder to always focus on good writing.