The world of SEO is never static: the metrics that Google uses to promote its search results evolve over time, and it is our duty as diligent marketers to stay on top of that change.
Over the last year, Google has released guidance that helps us understand which content is deemed to be of high quality and thus recommended more broadly. Gone are the days of unchecked keyword pumping; the time is now for authentic, high-quality content creation! The most successful content is written by trustworthy and authoritative experts, with enjoyable and informative articles.
But why shouldn’t you keep creating content that hits the juicy keywords your customers are searching for, and why should you invest time and energy into making the highest quality content possible? It can be daunting but have no fear (seriously, it’s just an article). Immerse yourself into the complexities of SEO - here’s what the experts at Beyond Blue Media have to say about high-quality content in 2024.
What is High-Quality Content?
Tangible metrics for high-quality content anchored themselves in 2018 when Google released its E-A-T acronym and in 2023 when they released the revised E-E-A-T acronym. E-E-A-T stands for “experience”, “expertise”, “authoritativeness”, and “trustworthiness”, and it is a general guideline to what type of content Google wishes to promote in its search results.
This doesn’t mean that an article should merely be technically sound, nor, if it is, that it will receive a high ranking on Google. For content to be considered high-quality, it should be written in merit of the E-E-A-T acronym, but it should also be written in a way that people want to read and will find useful.
What is Keyword-Driven Content?
As previously stated, SEO doesn’t tend to stay the same, and over the years, the power of keywords has shifted dramatically. Keywords are specific terms or phrases that are commonly searched for, and traditionally, there was a “golden number” of about 0.5 to 1 keyword use per 100 words in an article - using the right amount of keywords was very effective at boosting the content within Google’s search results. This led to a period of time where articles rose in rankings purely because the writer squeezed in as many uses of a key term as possible.
The result was cookie-cutter, unhelpful, and generic content across all industries as businesses vied for customers. There was no incentive to be creative or original; content was thrown together with the best keywords acting like Elmer’s glue.
Over time, however, the inorganic use of keywords became less potent, and strategically using keywords became much more effective. Perhaps this resulted from Google’s changing goals, shifting to promote results that match better with general topics. Regardless of the reason, the end result was that keywords held less weight, and search results were prioritized so that people had an easier time finding what they were looking for without knowing exactly what to type into the search bar.
Today, keywords (and keyword synonyms) are still helpful in boosting the rankings of a particular article or website, especially if the keyword is used 1-3 times in an organic, intentional, and effective way. They are no longer as beneficial as they used to be a few months ago, though, and even less so every month.
The true way to boost SEO in 2024, according to Google, is to create content that is high-quality. The E-E-A-T guidelines are, of course, central, but just because a writer is not an expert on their clients’ products (such as biomedical devices and HVAC systems) doesn’t mean they can’t write a successful article.
On the contrary, this acronym is used to highlight content where the writer is not spreading misinformation, intentionally or unintentionally, and where the writer does their due diligence to be as accurate as possible. Rumors, fake news, and gossip are rampant, so let’s do our part to create content using credible sources and check with experts when clarity is needed on certain topics.
Quality in Practice
So, how does it look to put quality into practice? In essence, everything from the article's title to the conclusion should be written in an interesting way for a human to read. Overtargeting keywords, on the other hand, will only lead to a lower ranking compared to organic, useful content.
For example, someone may find that they are interested in learning more about how to eat the right food. One could create an article titled, ‘10 best foods that are right for you’, but this would only target keywords and would not be very interesting. Instead of that title, perhaps going with ‘Eating a Balanced Diet’ or ‘10 Tips for Eating Healthy’ is more natural and organic in providing the information customers need, all the while avoiding excess keywords and helping individuals find the answers they’re looking for without actually knowing what to look up.
Similarly, with ‘10 Easiest Ways to Read Dry Cleaning Icons’ vs. ‘What do the different dry cleaning icons mean?’. The first title reads like clickbait or something a robot would create. The second is far more human in how the article title is posed and more closely resonates with how a human would actually look up this information.
The Bottom Line
There’s no doubt about this: high-quality content is the best type to produce in 2024. By investing in quality over keyword-pumping, you can guarantee more impressions and engagement because Google will give your content a higher rating within its search results (in theory), but also because humans naturally gravitate towards educational material that is straightforward, accurate, and useful.
High-quality content is here to stay. Do you need a helping hand to get your brand started in the right direction, or are you nervous about what it takes to create high-quality content instead of quick impression-farming? The good news is: Beyond Blue Media is here to help. For all SEO questions or to take your content to the next level, contact our team of experienced professionals today!