Quality Versus Quantity – The Content Challenge
To rank #1 on Google, it takes more than just cramming in as many keywords as you possibly can into your website content. In fact, that’s exactly what you don’t want to do. Filling keywords into your content affects your search engine optimization ranking and will give you a bad one at that. Google can now recognize when you’re keyword stuffing, as opposed to writing good, quality content. The amount of keywords you use isn’t nearly as important anymore. It’s the quality of your content and the quality of your user experience that takes precedence. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be mindful of the amount of content and keywords that you put out there. Google is constantly growing and changing its algorithms that influence the way websites are ranked. It’s vital that you pay attention to these SEO updates and update your websites appropriately.
Google ranks pages based on the quality of the content, links, structure, its sitemap and the user experience of your website. This is where you need to bear in mind that just because you cram a lot of something into your website, doesn’t mean that your page will rank higher on the SERP’s. Google wants to improve the experience for all of its search users. You can’t just have 1000 spammy backlinks or cram as many keywords into your content as you can on your site anymore.
The old method was more is always better. That’s not the case these days. Today, quality is always better. If you try it the old fashioned way, you aren’t going to make it very high on SERP’s. Search engines will assume that your site is of a lower quality and may even consider it spam. If you look at Google’s updates throughout the past years, you’ll realize that they’re pushing quality precedes quantity. Search engines want to give its users the most relevant quality content possible.
Google likes high quality content and knows that high quality will sell. In this case, quality means focusing on what your users want. This isn’t an easy task. You can’t just create a website and instantly bust out the best quality content. You, yourself, can’t determine if your quality is good or not; your consumers will be the ones that determine that. If you’re creating high quality content, obtaining high quality backlinks, and creating content that is unique to your users, then you will greatly be rewarded. Search engines will be able to detect that you’re content is quality and will credit it as the type of high quality content that it wants to give to its users. Quality is a long-term investment but it’s the most effective strategy in the long run.
Quality versus quantity for blogs, specifically, is something I think most companies are having a difficulty grasping. They want to produce a lot of content to reach their audience, but that content won’t mean anything unless it’s good quality. Which is more important? The quantity of blog posts you post in a given time period or the quality of the content you’re providing? What if you provided the best of both worlds and presented your readers with a lot of great quality content?
According to ContentPlus, blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links. The more blogs you have, the more indexed pages you benefit from. Unfortunately, Google doesn’t necessarily reward more indexed pages and indexed links. Algorithm changes like Penguin put less emphasis on the number of links and pages, and more focus on the quality of the links and shares a page receives.
On the other hand, content length will also affect SEO. On a blog post by blog post basis, quality will win against quantity. However, in order for your content to consistently reach the top results, you need to maintain a consistent posting schedule. Either way, both quality and quantity are important. According to HubSpot, companies that increase their blog posts from 3-5 times a month to 6-8 times a month will generate double the amount of leads. Companies that blog over 15 times a month, generate nearly 5 times as many leads as those who only blog 3-5 times per month. That being said, it’s clear that the amount of blogging that you do has a large effect on your success.
The more often you post, the more likely it will be that you gain enough of a reputation with your audience to convert them into customers. Additionally, readers will go to your blog more often because they know there will be consistent updates weekly or even daily. The catch is that your content has to be good. Unless the content you’re creating has any value to your audience, it’s not going to make a difference how much traffic your blog has. In order to convert leads, you need to create valuable content. The point is, it IS possible to create too much content and also it IS NOT possible to make your content of too high a quality.
One thing to keep in mind is that your goal when writing for your blog should not be to rank high on Google. Your main focus should be to solve your customers’ problems. That’s where the quality of your content will shine. Quality content is content that answers your customers’ questions before they even ask. It is also important that you are writing based off of what your customers are curious about and to not make the content too opinionated.
If you are giving your opinion on a product you think is good or bad, you could be giving too much of a biased opinion which potential customers will sometimes consider a turnoff. It’s better to stick to the facts and take external reviews to show that previous buyers are actually benefitting or not benefitting from what they have bought. Of course, you still need good SEO for organic search results. In order to achieve that, you need to provide fresh content on a regular bases. The more pages you have indexed, the more likely your site is to show up in search results, however the quality of those pages is paramount to such success.
Moz, an SEO marketing company, conducted an interesting experiment tracking to see which would be more beneficial for their company, quantity or quality. Posting daily since their start in 2004, the thought of changing it up even slightly would throw off their opportunities for increased traffic and they’d lose some of their audience. In May and June, Moz has decided to throw away their out dated approach and raise the bar. The all of a sudden change of mind happened because of a simple tweet from Rand Fishkin.
The tweet caught the attention of Joe Chernov and Ginny Soskey over at HubSpot and, together, they collaborated on some experiments to test with their blogs. They monitored the effects of increased and decreased volume on overall traffic, if engagement would thin as the volume grew, if the subscriptions would slow down, if the community would have complaints or backlash and the general trading of quantity for quality. The overall conclusion given the data they were shown was that a day without a blog post wasn’t as bad as they had feared it to be. They no longer had to scramble to meet a post deadline if there was an unforeseen problem with the original post. With this experiment, they were able to really focus on the posts that provided the greatest value to their audience. The main conclusion is that if they posted half as many posts as they normally would but each of those was a high quality post, then they would still see great results. They’ve decided to still post as they normally would but they loved doing the experiment and were happy with the data they collected.
So what’s the takeaway?
When it comes to your site ranking high, quality is always more important than quantity. When it comes to being exactly what you need for your consumer base, quality and quantity are both important. You need to find a balance of both.
Creating quantity and quality will take time. There’s only so much you can do by yourself. Outsourcing content to freelancers can help with the issue of quantity but you need to make sure that you find someone that knows your brand and industry well enough to provide good quality content. Don’t be afraid to reuse content that has worked best for your business. If lifestyle posts get great traction, then keep creating lifestyle posts. Why try and reinvent the wheel? Practicing creating the content on one or just a few genres may also increase your blogging speed without sacrificing the quality!
What do you think? Is quantity more important than quality?
If you want to learn about Google’s Search Quality Raters guidelines, they’ve just released the in-depth, 160-page, full version PDF document written to help search quality raters understand how to rate the search results they’re testing!