5 rules of high quality content: The holy grail of search rankings

  • High quality content is more than just inserting a few SEO keywords in your blog post to try and game search ranking algorithms

  • Follow the 5 rules of high quality content: Solid research with credible links, correct spelling and grammar, originality, structure, and valid information people will want to share

  • At Scribe, our editorial process aims to meet these 5 rules and more. Our rigorous editorial process and understanding of regulation-heavy financial industries ensures compliant, high quality content


Today’s online marketplaces make it easy to find writers of every shape and size — and often on the cheap.

While it can be tempting to hire a writer for $100 or even $5 (we know), in the end, we believe you’ll get exactly what you pay for.

 
 

We’ve tested and seen it for ourselves. Top digital marketing leader Neil Patel shares this sentiment.

Ultimately, if you want high quality content, we think you’re going to need a robust content service provider.

But let’s just back up a second. What is high quality content, and why does it matter?

What is high quality content?

High quality content is the holy grail of search rankings.

The more organic, credible content that you publish to show your authority on a particular subject, the higher you’ll rank in web search results.

The better your web search results, the more visible you are to the public and your prospective clients.

5 rules of high quality content

We’ve narrowed down these five rules, which state that high quality content (which could really cover the gamut of blog posts and even marketing copy) must include the following:

  • Research, with links to credible sources

  • Correct spelling and grammar

  • Valid information that encourages sharing and engagement

  • Originality

  • Cohesiveness and structure

Let’s dive into these a bit more.

high quality content Rule #1: Research, with links to credible sources

Known as substantiation, it’s the evidence or proof needed to back up qualifying statements or numbers by attributing credible sources.

Sourcing is journalism 101, and it’s necessary if you’re not a well-known authority on a topic.

In high quality blogs, you’ll see links to sources and credit where it is due, particularly in cases of qualifying statements.

For example, here are qualifying statements that could use substantiation to back up their claims:

  • The economy has seen an upswing since 2008.

  • Median housing prices in March 2019 have gone down from where they were a year ago.

  • The world’s biggest hedge fund oversees more than $100 million in assets.

Each of these statements alone may be true.

But why should an audience believe them on their own merits, without proof?

 
 

Even if these statements are common knowledge or anecdotal based on the writer’s expertise, they would be better received if backed up to actual market data or research from external, credible sources.

Here are some possibilities:

  • The economy has seen an upswing since 2008.
    Here, we’ve linked to data provided from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan research and policy institute. If we really wanted to go deeper, we may even cite the article itself and add this sentence after our qualifying statement:

    “According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, ‘Economic activity as measured by real (inflation-adjusted) gross domestic product (GDP) was contracting sharply when policymakers enacted the financial stabilization bill (TARP) and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The economy began growing in 2009, and has averaged 2.3 percent annual growth since then.’”

  • Median housing prices in March 2019 have gone down from a year ago.
    Here, we’ve linked to Census data provided by the government. This shows that the median house price in March 2019 is $302,700 compared to $335,400 in March 2018.

  • The world’s biggest hedge fund oversees more than $100 million in assets.
    Here, we first found this report from a trade publication called “Institutional Investor.” While they may be a credible trade publication and this citation may be good enough for most blog writers and clients, we like to dig a bit deeper and look to who the report is crediting with the data.

    In other words, high quality blogs always look for the original source.

    Mid-way through the article, at the bottom of their data chart, they credit LCH Investments NV. While we couldn’t find a final version of the latest data, we did find a version from LCH Investments NV in January 2019 here, which is consistent with their 2018 findings as well.

    This is the source we’d link to in our statement for the facts, but if we were to use or cite any interpretation of the data from “Institutional Investor,” then we’d attribute them, too.

One final note on original sources

You may find that lots of journalistic articles, news reports, bloggers, and blogs will discuss or interpret survey and study results.

That’s great but they aren’t the original data, survey, or study providers; they are reporters of that information. They are aggregators of information on a certain topic.

Seasoned writers know this and make this distinction when citing data, by trying to link to original sources rather than aggregate reports or sources.

While a great Forbes contributor may have an interesting opinion on a study, if we write about the same study results we’d rather cite the study than the Forbes contributor’s article.

At Scribe, rest assured that we’ll always try to find original sources and data providers. We make it as apparent as possible where our numbers and facts come from.

rule #2: Correct spelling and grammar

This rule doesn’t require much explanation.

All writers need editors. All editors need editors. Also, how many times have you visited a mobile page or website, only to find plenty of spelling and grammatical errors? That’s a turnoff.

If a business can’t be bothered to check its spelling or grammar, then it’s likely those prospects won’t trust them to be as detailed with handling their business and information. We’ve found this to be especially true for international financial companies who seek credibility in global markets outside of their own.

At Scribe, all content goes through our editorial wringer (a 5-step process) and is subject to rigorous in-house editing rounds before we deliver client work. This ensures we catch spelling and grammar errors, among other major issues.

We know that many writers may use services such as Grammarly to weed out common mistakes.

While these services are great during the drafting phase, we believe in the power and value of human editors to review each article’s overall context, structure, subject complexity, flow, style, and tone.

rule #3: Valid information that encourages sharing and engagement

Content is also deemed high quality when others find it to be useful, practical, and insightful enough to share with others.

Amplification is the reward — a hallmark of high quality content. According to internet marketer Larry Kim, your content is validated when you and others share your content. The more that you write on the same topic, perhaps by exploring different and fresh angles, the more you’ll solidify yourself as an authority and encourage others to view you as such.  

rule #4: Originality

There’s really no point in plagiarizing or even reproducing others’ work. High quality content should be original, period. Even if you aggregate info or cite lots of sources properly, your end product should still be original, not someone else’s reproduced work.

Also, using someone else’s work or duplicating too much of your own content on your site negatively influences your search ranking, according to #27 on this in-depth list of Google’s 200 Ranking Factors, and according to the masters themselves.

rule #5: Cohesiveness and structure

Finally, there is cohesiveness and structure.

Great content presents ideas, arguments, evidence, and answers to questions in a logical flow.

When an article jumps all over the place, is repetitive or inarticulate, and doesn’t really answer or explore a question, then what is its purpose, really?

Why high quality content matters

High quality content is crucial if you want credibility and a higher Google search ranking.

The credibility of your content comes from following the five rules of high quality content.

In time, you’ll gain more awareness, which will eventually result in higher content search results, too.

The higher your position, the more you’ll be perceived the authority or best company to provide a certain product or service.

Get your act together

If you’re in an industry that is subject to rigorous compliance standards, such as banking, lending, or insurance, then it’s even more important to ensure your content is high quality and produced by writers with skin in the game.

Perhaps they are seasoned writers who are familiar with your industry’s regulations. Bonus points if said writers have worked directly in those industries.

You probably shouldn’t write it yourself

You may think, “Well, I’m a good writer and I’ll just write it myself,” but let us stop you right there.

 
 

If you’re a successful C-suite businessperson or business owner, you’re simply too busy running your organization to try to write compelling marketing copy or blog posts.

While your writing may truly be decent, the chances of you executing and taking time to type up your ideas are slim.

You and your team may be sales and ops superstars, but writers you are not.

It’s also costly to recruit, hire, and manage full-scale, in-house editorial teams.

Have you ever seen this chart, from Mike Michalowicz’s book, “Profit First”? This is the “Survival Trap” that he explains mars many business owners and companies.

You want to avoid the bottom right-hand corner point: “Do the work yourself.”

The Survival Trap.png

Don’t make the mistake of trying to do it yourself, or delegate writing work to team members who aren’t writers.

If your company is a mid- to late- stage fintech startup or you work in the financial services or financial industries for a large financial organization, leave the high quality content generation to Scribe.

We’ll make sure your ideas are executed in the manner they deserve, and efficiently, too.

Looking for your dedicated content partner? Get in touch with us. Schedule a Scribe Discovery Call today.