I really like Hawaiian pizza. Something about juicy chunks of warm pineapple on top of a smokey barbeque sauce, covered in cheese, is just delightfully unpredictable.
I realize that I am, statistically speaking, in the minority there, and that’s fine. You like weird things too. Everyone has unique preferences, right? And we all know that.
Which is why—especially as a writer and editor who specializes in SEO content—it is beyond frustrating when Google says, “Just create great content.” What does that mean?! Because I think pineapple on pizza is pretty great, but if Google disagrees, then what?
Fortunately I am not the only one frustrated by Google’s vague demands. The SEO community at large has been surveying SERPs and studying content strategies for years, and they’re always releasing new results and insight about what kinds of things users—and, thus, Google—favors.
Some of our more recent favorites include Searchmetrics’ annual Ranking Factors study, a Buzzsumo survey, and a study by Matthew Barby. Those are just the big ones, however. Smaller studies and lists get published every day. The problem with all this wonderful research is that we end up with a list of … lists. Just Google, “how to create quality content,” and you’ll see 12 elements, nine ingredients, five tips, five ways, etc.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just one list (… to rule them all … had to)? We thought so.
We combined all of the best lists with dozens of insights and best practices from our own years of SEO content experience. The list breaks down into the seven basic stages of content creation. Each of the 77 characteristics is explained, and most link to further resources and tools to help you really knock it out of the park.
Here are five of my favorites:
I can’t tell you how often I hear marketers talk about keywords as something that gets plugged in at the end of the content process. But modern keywords aren’t search engine bait, they’re foundational content strategy clues.
You can’t outperform the competition if you’re not checking out the competition. Clicking through some of the top-ranking content for target keywords can provide great insights and ideas for improving your own.
Because featured snippets. This is a relatively new digital writing technique that our editors are always teaching/reminding our writers to incorporate. You can’t do better than ranking before the first organic spot, so learn how to capture those boxes.
I know this is my editor side coming out, but please, just … please.
This is for all of the content, but especially the SERP snippet (which is also too often overlooked). Don’t tell me about your automatic scheduling feature, tell me about the 30 minutes/day you’re giving back to me. It seems like a fine line, but it’s amazing how much better snippets perform when they’re focused on the user rather than the product.
If your content marketing and/or SEO isn’t delivering demonstrable, bottom-line results, let’s fix it. The 77 Characteristics of High-Quality Content: The Complete SEO Content List PDF wraps up with a one-page checklist that you can pin up in your work space (and/or passive aggressively copy and leave lying around the marketing department), so it’s always ready for you.
Get your copy today, and start at the beginning by reviewing the strategy. And may the organic search results be forever in your favor.