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  • Content Quality: The 15-Point Checklist You Need for Every Post

    Content Quality: The 15-Point Checklist You Need for Every Post

    You’ve heard it before—if you want to be successful in content marketing or SEO, you need to consistently produce high-quality content for your brand.

    But “high-quality” is a generic and ambiguous term that could mean a lot of things.

    Content quality is not binary—there’s a sliding scale of quality, and obviously, you want to get as high on that scale as possible.

    If you’re concerned or confused about the ambiguity of the term in relation to your own strategy, refer to this 15-point checklist, which I’ve used to define “high-quality” as succinctly and clearly as possible.

    1. Is your topic unique?

    If your topic is one that’s already been done to death, don’t bother writing it.

    It will fail to generate any meaningful momentum, and most users won’t even notice it.

    If you’re doing something that’s already been covered, you need to offer a new or unique spin on it.

    2. Do you have a compelling, descriptive headline?

    The headline is one of the most important parts of any piece of content—it’s what Google will use to interpret the intention of the article and what will form users’ first impressions.

    If your title isn’t descriptive, or accurate, or compelling and concise, users won’t click.

    clickbait headlines for blog posts and SEO
    But, your headline could be too much like clickbait and thereby tank the trust of your audience.

    Spend some time here or take a look at our post on blog title ideas.

    3. Is your content useful to readers?

    After someone reads your article, will they walk away with something of value? Will they have the means to accomplish one or more of their SEO goals? Will they have a better understanding of a certain topic? You need to offer some kind of utility here.

    4. Does your content exhibit your unique brand voice?

    If you don’t already have a thought-out, well-described idea for your brand voice, that’s step one. A consistent, unique brand voice is the only way to build a loyal audience over time. When completing your piece, make sure it keeps that brand voice showcased and consistent.

    5. Is your content an appropriate length?

    This can be subjective. Generally, lists and “bite-sized” forms of content need to be short—under 1,000 words in written form or under 5 minutes in video form. More comprehensive, research-based pieces need to be longer—over 1,000 words or over 5 minutes.

    average content length of top 10 results in google
    The average content length of the top 10 SERP results in Google is ~2,200 words.

    No matter the length, make sure every word (or every minute) is used to add value.

    6. Have you included proper background research?

    No topic exists in a vacuum.

    Even if it’s never been explored exactly before, others in the industry have written about similar or related topics.

    Be sure to do your background and keyword research before writing the piece, and include that information in your finished product.

    7. Do you have internal and external links embedded?

    Good pieces rely on others to bolster themselves.

    Your article should feature links to other pieces in your own archive (to support your own site structure and add information when necessary), and high quality backlinks to outside sources that support your claims.

    8. Do you take advantage of multiple mediums?

    Few modern content pieces are successful in only one medium.

    different mediums for marketing
    Source: MarketingCharts.

    If you write an article, for example, it’s a good idea to include an image or embedded video.

    If you do a video, include still images, written phrases or backlinks to compliment or supplement the video.

    9. Are you adding something original to the discussion?

    There’s already a discussion around this topic, even if your topic is somewhat unique.

    Are you adding something original to it, that’s never been mentioned or described before?

    10. Is your content easily readable (or understandable)?

    This is a subjective measure, but it’s an important one.

    Consider your audience; are you using words and terminology that are too complex for them to understand?

    Are you writing in a way that’s difficult to decipher or confusing?

    Be as simple, clear, and concise as possible.

    11. Is your content organized logically?

    Like a good novel, content should have a beginning, middle, and end, with well-structured parts in between.

    If your content isn’t organized logically, it will throw users off.

    12. Is your format aesthetically pleasing?

    Modern web users have little patience for unorganized or strangely formatted content.

    Your articles should feature numbered lists, bullet points, or subheadings to make themselves scannable and easy to follow.

    13. Does your content actively engage an audience?

    It’s not enough to talk to an audience; you have to invite the other side of the conversation.

    Encourage users to rebut or comment, and encourage them to follow your advice and report back with results.

    Keep your audience engaged.

    14. Is your content generally comprehensive?

    Have you explored everything related to your topic?

    If you don’t have enough room to do this, you can mention side topics in passing along with a link so users can do their own supplementary research.

    15. Will other people cite your content?

    This can be a hard question to answer, but think about how other authorities in your industry will receive this content.

    Will they mention it in their own posts?

    Will they use your information as research for their future content?

    In other words, is your content link-worthy? 

    The more likely you are to get citations, the better.

    Conclusion

    Follow this checklist, and you should have a high-quality piece on your hand.

    Google will see this content as more authoritative than others, and your readers will appreciate it too—that means you’ll earn more loyal readers, more brand enthusiasts, more followers, and of course more links and shares. Keep your standards high, and your SEO, content and/or link building strategies will reward you.

    Did you know we offer a custom blog writing service for your SEO and content marketing needs? Contact us for more information!

    Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here.

    Chief Revenue Officer at SEO Company
    Industry veteran Timothy Carter is SEO.co’s Chief Revenue Officer. Tim leads all revenue for the company and oversees all customer-facing teams for SEO (search engine optimization) services - including sales, marketing & customer success. He has spent more than 20 years in the world of SEO & Digital Marketing, assisting in everything from SEO for lawyers to complex technical SEO for Fortune 500 clients like Wiley, Box.com, Qualtrics and HP.

    Tim holds expertise in building and scaling sales operations, helping companies increase revenue efficiency and drive growth from websites and sales teams.

    When he's not working, Tim enjoys playing a few rounds of disc golf, running, and spending time with his wife and family on the beach...preferably in Hawaii.

    Over the years he's written for publications like Forbes, Entrepreneur, Marketing Land, Search Engine Journal, ReadWrite and other highly respected online publications. Connect with Tim on Linkedin & Twitter.
    Timothy Carter