What is a quality article?

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When in the SEO field you hear about quality articles or contents, almost immediately a doubt rises. We question everything and really cannot understand why our competitors’ contents – that we often consider inadequate or sloppy even – are getting every top position out there on Google.

So what we mean as quality article? What determines if a content is of high or low quality?

Reader’s idea of quality vs. Google’s idea of quality

A copywriter or journalist tends to evaluate his articles according to standards such as good writing, integrity and clarity of the info provided to his readers. And rightfully so.
This aspect is fundamental and must remain a best practice when producing contents both on printed paper and online but it doesn’t really determine, not even remotely, the article’s fate when we are dealing with its ranking on search engines or its organic traffic’s acquirement.

The objective text  quality gains value only in the proper moment in which a user is actually going to read it: he will then appreciate its writing style, the presentation, the clarity and value of the info provided but it is necessary to make it very clear that this is not the “kind of quality” search engines appeal to.

On this premises we can now approach our salient point: the process of contents’ evaluation by search engines is completely different from the one made by humans.
If 10 people would read the same article, there might be at least two or three different opinions based on subjective preferences and one’s topic knowledge level.
Some poorly expert readers might find the article terrific and rich in info, while other top specific field experts might find it extremely lacking and low quality.

Search engine’s evaluations

The subjectivity that characterizes us human beings is not really a thing for search engines. Google is still going to choose which contents might be better for all users. And that’s why your doubts and questions are skyrocketting right now.

As a matter of fact, to undestand how to write a quality article is pretty simple: you don’t really need to get how Google works, you just need to be a good observer and detect its “taste” about just any topic.

How to understand the Google’s idea of quality article

Search engines, before evaluating how to position every kind of acticle, always try to undestand which is its Topic and so how to categorize it. To do that it resorts to the study of every single article, in any single website, that ever used a group of recurring terms (we don’t really know which algorithm it is using, but we know for sure it does).

Once detected the topic, the search engine starts its evaluation of the specific article comparing it with already existing and similar-in-topic ones. The evaluation is mathematical, so forget every kind of speech about quality we did before, the factors are different and only based on numbers. This doesn’t mean you should overlook your writing quality, obviously, but you still need to do more: like hit the article Focus, i.e. stay on track with what the search engine is liking at the moment.

A quality article for search engines

To not beat around the bush, we can safely say that a quality content for Google is that kind of content that succeed to somehow satisfy some mathematical criteria for its algorithm.
Obviously, a proper mathematical approach it’s impossible as long as we are not aware of the used formula, but we can try to virtually match the kind of article that Google chose for a specific keyword.

In the past, when I hadn’t create SEOZoom’s algorithms yet, I used to follow a personal list to build contents: I will write that down for you to try and understand the pre-writing evaluation’s process.

  1. I used to open Google and search for an interesting keyword, the kind of keyword I would like to position with the article I am about to write.
  2. Then I am going to analyze the first 10 results and ask myself some questions:
    – What kind of pages Google chose? Are they commercial or informative pages? It could be useful to propose the discarded kind.
    – On average, how long are the articles shown on first page? If they are short, why write as the opposite of what it likes? Maybe users who are looking for this keyword expect for a direct answer rather than a very long and time wasting text.
    – Are first page articles deepening the topic with external links on subordinate topics? If further insights exist, maybe Google chose to show this article to give the user the straight answer and possibly offer the chance to explore more.
    – Which kind of topics have been deepened with dedicated paragraphs in the heading tags (H2/H3 etc..)? This is very important to detect every SubTopics that make sense with the article I am going to write
  3. Furthermore, I am going to create a schedule based on my article’s ToDo list in order to try and stay on track with anything Google likes at the moment. Every extras could pull my article the other way from what Google is actually expecting: I will not put this kind of limit to my work, anyway, and if I think any extra is important I would cover them but I still need to know that a failure might depend on this decision.
  4. Do competitors’ pages receive many inbound links? Generally speaking single articles don’t receive many links, but I have to know this because they will probably need a little nudge.

The moral of the story is that you can’t really decide what is quality, that  is a Google’s decision and it is different from keyword to keyword, that is why is not really possible for anyone to draw universal guidelines.
It is necessary to always analyze SERPs every time you are about to write an article to find out what is trending for Google right now, what your competitors did and what kind of strategy to use to try and be part of those kind of articles that, undergoing a mathematical analysis, could receive a green light and been chosen as possible search result.

Tools to write quality content

The writing process is complex and demands hours of study for every article: that is why in SEOZoom we basically automized the whole cross-cheking and analysis phase. With SEOZoom’s editorial assistant it will be possible to always write on-point articles, actually on focus with the kind of topic Google likes right now. That way the “Google’s idea of quality” problem is now solved, while the one concerning human’s idea of quality is all yours to tackle.

I hope I succeeded in clear your thoughts on the quality contents dilemma. We hear about it a lot and the questions are always the same ones: now you have some answers, too 🙂

I would like to leave you with a further insight link on SEOZoom’s  SEO oriented writing tools .

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