When I started my content writing career back in 2005, the web (read Google) used to be inundated with information that wasn’t quite as useful to the web surfers, especially Google users.
Anybody with a bit of knowledge on SEO could manipulate Google’s search criteria to produce thin content and actually rank for it. It was not only frustrating for the information seekers on the web but quite a headache for Google as well.
Fast forward 2012, Google released Panda, a sophisticated algorithmic update that devalued and even deindexed webpages replete with thin and spammy content.
The Panda update was designed to penalize websites resorting to low quality content, and improve the results across Google Search index.
Since its first rollout, Google has further fortified the Panda algorithm by releasing comparatively smaller updates at regular intervals that continue to devalue thin content across its index.
It’s not surprising then why webmasters emphasize on quality content today.
But the definition of “Quality Content” can be different based on the audience’s perception. Sure, there’s no absolute definition of quality content. Thankfully, Google has some pointers on how it determines high quality content on a web page.
With all these events unfolding in the SEO industry, the focus of Webmasters has shifted from the old-school SEO to content marketing.
Writing an article/blog post just for the heck of it can no longer help your website rank higher. Therefore, the solution clearly lies in building Authority Content that is useful for your target audience.
But what is exactly Authority Content and how do you build it?
Authority Content is not merely an SEO buzzword used by popular bloggers and thought leaders. It is a real entity that drives the web today, and influences your success in SEO.
As the content manager, I harp on the quality aspect and constantly guide my team of writers to prioritize value creation over keyword-richness and word count when they build content for our clients.
Tips for Building Authority Content
As a content writer, you may not always be a subject matter expert in every field but what can actually set you apart is whether you have the passion to explore the field and curate the information relevant to the specific niche you’re going to develop the content for.
Authority Content is a matter of practice and passion to curate high quality information and present it to your audience in a relevant and useful manner.
In other words, Authority Content is the combination of in-depth topical research, high quality content curation, and referencing authority resources on web.
Here are a couple of things you can do to create Authority Content:
Read Authoritative Resources
Writing content is not merely about creating a unique article from Google bot’s perspective. It’s about creating value for the target audience and answering their queries to their satisfaction.
But this isn’t always easy. And, it doesn’t have to be. Authority in any field is built over time with in-depth research and acquisition of knowledge.
This is exactly why you should read authoritative resources regularly. Learning from them will help you develop your knowledge on a given topic and build your own resources as well.
If you are in the SEO industry, for example, you should invariably follow Moz Blog.
Conduct Your Own Test
Just because you’re a content writer doesn’t mean that your scope of operation is limited to just writing.
If you are working in the core SEO industry dealing with technical content on a daily basis, it is imperative to learn new techniques and testing them for real rather than just write something based on your assumption.
Research and testing not only help you learn things faster but develop deeper understanding on the subject as well.
Eventually, it helps you better understand the subject at an advanced level and analyze the perspective of an authority blogger.
There’s a great tool for measuring the quality of your content, it’s called Atomic Reach. It helps you measure the quality of your unpublished content based off a number of parameters and then suggests ways to improve upon those areas so you can achieve the highest possible quality for your content.
Authority content sources are often based on high quality research and curation.
As a writer, you are essentially a source of information. However, to be a credible source, you need to provide evidence for your information or claims, if any.
This is where curating high quality content can help you. The web is full of high quality resources; all you need to do is find the relevant and authority resources that lay credence to your claim or information.
The quality of your content is equivalent to its curation.
Listen to Thought Leaders
There are a lot of conversations happening on the web, especially on social media platforms. But most of them are downright sensational and often driven by rumors.
For your content to be authoritative, it needs to stay current.
By following industry thought leaders across social channels such as Google Plus, Facebook and Twitter, you can have access to the most current information and even reference their opinions while developing content for your audience.
Mashable, for example, often embeds tweets in its articles while reporting on an event.
Aside from social channels, you should also be quite active on the authority blogs, participate in the discussions by contributing your views. Done regularly, this helps you build your authority across the Web as well.
Adopt Best Practices
The latest changes in Google’s search indicate Google’s increasing inclination towards websites that follow best practices.
Compliance to Authorship and Schema markups is on its way to become almost mandatory for webmasters.
By adopting content writing best practices from Google’s spider’s perspective will help you content rank higher, improve visibility and establish your authority.
Moreover, learning what constitutes low quality content can help you improve the quality of content as well. Be sure to bookmark this list of quality guidelines mandated by Google.
What are your thoughts on building authority content? Please, let me know in the comments. Thanks for the read!