By now, everyone in the online marketing community knows that content is a good thing, and lots of content is a better thing. The more content you have on your site, the more opportunities you’ll have to appeal to your audience, attract new visitors, and get more material indexed in Google for search visibility.
However, there’s a critical distinction between the quantity and the quality of your content. While quantity is important (of two otherwise equal sites, the one with more content will generally rank higher and have more chances to convert), it won’t matter unless your content is of a high enough quality to accomplish your goals. In fact, producing bad content can be counterproductive, putting you in an even worse position than if you had no content at all.
These are only seven ways that poorly written content can work against you:
Google uses a variety of factors to calculate your site’s domain authority. The history of your domain, the strength of your titles and descriptions, and the navigation structure all play small roles. What matters most to your domain authority is the quality of your content. If your site is stuffed with keywords or content that was obviously written by a non-native English speaker, you can guarantee yourself a pitifully low domain authority. The higher the quality of your content, the higher your domain authority will be—it’s almost a one-to-one correlation. And the higher your domain authority is, the higher you’re going to rank.
Content is essential for attracting backlinks to your domain. If you publish and syndicate high-quality content, you’ll naturally pick up links from external sources. If your content isn’t worth linking to, your inbound links will be sporadic and few—even if people stumble by your site on accident, if they see you have low-quality content, there’s no way they’ll link to you on their external sites. Without a strong network of backlinks, your search rankings will tank and you’ll miss out on tons of referral traffic that could come your way. In short, bad content=bad backlinks.
Or, at the very least, you’ll be less likely to gain any new ones. A big part of growing and cultivating a strong social media following is engaging with individual users on the social platforms themselves, but it’s just as important to attract and retain followers through the syndication of strong onsite content. If you start posting links to low-quality pieces on your site, or if your followers explore your site to get a better idea of your brand and find low-quality material, you’re going to lose followers. The fewer followers you have, the less impact your content will have and the lower your domain authority will sink.
This is a given if your site is full of low-quality content. Any visitor who enters your site has a much higher likelihood of leaving after visiting only one or two pages. This means any traffic you receive—whether that’s from search engines, social platforms, external sources, or direct visits—is practically dead in the water. Without strong content to anchor those incoming visitors, you might as well not have any visitors at all.
Imagine you have a solid business model and you’ve met a potential new client in person. You explain your brand and your company, and the new client seems very interested in doing work with you. After departing, the new client visits your site just to do some additional research, but your low-quality content doesn’t match the level of professionalism you had in person. As a result, the reputation of your brand is significantly diminished and you’ll have a harder time closing deals even offline.
Content serves as a hub for multiple other marketing channels—you can use whitepapers to attract potential buyers with banner ads, blog posts to add value to an email marketing newsletter, and guest posts to improve your onsite authority. If your content is weak, you’ll have virtually no chance at succeeding in any of these peripheral marketing efforts. Content is a type of mortar that will hold your marketing structures together—if it isn’t reliable, your entire building could collapse.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, your visitors have no chance of converting, and without any reliable conversions, your site isn’t going to make money and your online marketing strategy will fail. High-quality content is your best shot at improving conversion rates; it can strike an immediate impression with new visitors, keep them on the page long enough to read other pages, and give them action-based instructions to proceed to the next steps of the process. If your content can’t perform, your users won’t convert.
There are many types of bad content out there. You could have content that isn’t relevant to your industry, content that isn’t original, content that isn’t new, content that isn’t written naturally, or content that has logistical mistakes in the body. Make sure you’re working with a great writer or great SEO team, and double check the quality of each of your posts before publishing or syndicating them. Writing great material takes extra time and extra effort, but it truly makes the difference between a successful campaign and a faltering one.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.