What Is Quality Content?
Quality content is content that is relevant, engaging, and useful to your audience. It helps you attract users, convert them into customers, and increase retention.
To create high-quality content, you must understand your audience and industry.
When talking about content, it’s common to think about blog articles and SEO.
However, good content can take many shapes and forms, like:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts
- Interactive tools
- And more
You just need to find the perfect format (or formats) for your customers.
Why Is Quality Content Important?
Quality content helps your business in many ways:
- Improves your SEO rankings: Google prioritizes helpful, original content that addresses the reader’s search intent. That’s why creating high-quality content is key from an SEO perspective.
- Strengthens your brand: Good content improves your brand reputation, generates conversations, and helps you to be seen as an industry expert
- Generates high-quality leads: With content, you can “educate” your audience and generate high-quality leads that are closer to becoming paying customers
- Increases conversion: Content is a great way to introduce users to your product or service. And “guide” them until they become customers.
- Reduces churn: High-quality content improves the customer experience. It facilitates onboarding and helps your customers get the most out of your products.
- Engages users: Good content keeps people coming back. It’s key for businesses looking to generate more returning visitors, like media sites.
Bear in mind, though:
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to creating good content.
Each business and industry has specific needs. And you’ll need to customize your strategy.
However, all high-quality content pieces share some traits.
Let’s examine some things you should do to create best-in-class content.
7 Ways to Create Quality Content
1. Address Your Customers’ Needs
High-quality content addresses and solves customers’ problems.
To do this, you must understand your audience, their problems, and the questions they ask.
These three aspects about your customers are essential:
- Their motivations: Their final goals. What they want to achieve.
- Their pain points: The problems they experience
- Their preferred channels and platforms: LinkedIn, blog posts, newsletters, etc.
With all this information, you can define your buyer personas: in-depth customer profiles.
This is key to choosing what topics your content will cover. And where you’ll post.
(Don’t worry: We’ll explain more about performing audience research in the next section.)
But we can’t talk about addressing customers’ needs without first explaining search intent.
Search intent is the underlying goal behind a search query.
Take a keyword like “best email marketing tools.”
Say someone types it into Google. That user probably expects to find a list of email marketing tools, with their features, prices, and other relevant information.
Satisfying search intent means understanding what the user really wants. And crafting a piece of content that delivers exactly that.
No unnecessary sections, no fluff.
Understanding search intent is key to creating blog posts that rank well in Google. (Check out our on-page SEO guide to learn more.)
But it’s also important if you’re creating YouTube videos, podcasts, or any content that can be found using a search bar.
Because platforms like YouTube and Spotify will always prioritize high-quality content that gives users what they’re looking for.
Learn more about search intent and how Semrush can help you identify the intent behind a particular keyword.
Perform Audience Research
To perform audience research, you can collect information from your own company and external sources. This is an ongoing process.
Let’s analyze how to perform audience research, step by step.
1. Rely on Your Expertise
Most businesses have in-house experts who can help you create customer-first content.
Reach out to folks in customer service, sales, and so on. Anyone who regularly talks to customers.
They can share common customer questions, concerns, and frustrations.
Say you own a Spanish language school in Barcelona.
You could ask teachers, a colleague at the front desk—basically, anyone who has a direct relationship with customers.
By talking to them, you’ll get ideas for your content. For example:
- How long does it take to reach an intermediate Spanish level?
- What are some formal and informal ways to say “Thank you” in Spanish?
- How’s your language school different from an online language school?
Any of those topics would work perfectly as a blog post, an Instagram post, or even a newsletter.
Learn more about the content creation process.
2. Ask Your Customers
The most useful way to understand what content your customers would find valuable? Ask them.
Of course, a one-on-one conversation is the best way to get nuanced replies.
However, these conversations take time and resources.
Interview a larger sample size with less effort by sending a survey.
Use free survey tools, like Google Forms or Typeform.
Remember to keep it easy for your customers: Ask as few questions as possible. And make the questions simple.
Let’s revisit the language school example. You could ask questions like:
- What are the biggest problems you face when learning Spanish?
- And your biggest problems as an expat living in Barcelona?
- How do you prefer to consume content? (Blog posts, videos, social media posts, podcasts, etc.)
Questions like these will help you find topics and define the best formats for your content strategy.
Tip: Add open-ended questions (questions without “yes” or “no” answers) to get the most details from your customers.
3. Research the Market and Your Competitors
You’ll also need to look for relevant topics in your industry and analyze your competitors.
Semrush’s Topic Research tool is a great place to start.
Go to the tool, add a broad topic, and click “Get content ideas.”
The tool will generate a list of related topics:
Pro tip: Organize the cards by trending subtopics to get popular content ideas. Cards with trending subtopics have red “trending” symbols in their top-right corners.
Click on a card to see the following information:
- How many times per month users look for that keyword on Google (“Subtopic Volume”)
- Headlines of related articles
- Related questions
- And more
Semrush collects these results by analyzing pages ranking on Google.
Which means you can see what topics people are actively searching for.
Use these ideas as starting points for creating other content formats, like social posts, newsletters, or podcasts.
If you’re looking for more ways to research the market and your competitors, try these Semrush tools:
- Organic Research: See the keywords your competitors rank for on Google
- Keyword Gap: Find the keywords your competitors are missing
- Social Tracker: Track your competitors’ social media activity
2. Align Content with Your Business Goals
Content must generate business outcomes, such as sales or leads. If it doesn’t, there’s no point in creating it.
First, you’ll need to know your goals. (This is a key step in any content strategy).
These are some examples of content marketing goals:
- Generate more leads or sales
- Improve retention
- Increase social media engagement
Businesses don’t have unlimited resources, so you won’t be able to do it all.
So you must look at content marketing ROI and prioritize the pieces with the highest potential.
How do you identify the best opportunities?
The content marketing funnel is a good place to start.
If you’re unfamiliar with it, the content marketing funnel represents the different stages someone goes through to become a customer.
This is what it looks like:
The lower in the funnel, the closer to conversion someone is.
Here are some general guidelines:
- If you’re on a tight budget and need to increase conversions: Prioritize pieces lower in the funnel, like product comparisons or case studies
- If you want to reach more users, generate awareness, and strengthen your brand: Prioritize pieces higher in the funnel, like studies or more generic, informative articles
Read our complete guide to the content marketing funnel for more guidance.
And bear in mind:
Ideally, your content plan should include pieces covering all three stages in the funnel. But this framework can help you allocate resources more efficiently.
3. Showcase Your Expertise
In many cases, high-quality content is content created by (or with the insights of) subject matter experts.
Having someone with real experience on the topic you’re talking about adds depth and trustworthiness to your content.
It’s common to find content pieces created by people with no real experience in the topic.
They read articles or watch videos about the subject. Then they create something that is merely a combination of what’s already out there.
No added value, no originality.
By involving subject matter experts in your content creation process, you differentiate yourself from the overwhelming amount of content published every day.
To do so, you have two options:
- Finding subject matter experts who can “transform” their knowledge into good content pieces
- Interviewing subject matter experts and creating good content with their insights
It’s difficult to find people who are experts in a particular area and also good communicators.
That’s why, most of the time, you’ll find that the second option is easier.
(Of course, in many cases, you’ll be the subject matter expert! Or someone in your company.)
Finding subject matter experts is especially important if you’re creating content to improve your SEO rankings (like blog posts).
Because of E-E-A-T (previously known as E-A-T).
E-E-A-T is a term Google uses that stands for Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trust.
Google uses these four elements to evaluate the quality of a page. They’re part of their Search Quality Rater Guidelines.
E-E-A-T is not an official ranking factor, but it’s important from an SEO perspective.
To identify content that follows E-E-A-T guidelines, Google looks at aspects like:
- Content quality
- Credible sources
- Quality of backlinks
- And more
E-E-A-T is especially important if you create content about YMYL (your money or your life) topics.
These are topics that, if explained wrong, can negatively impact a person’s life. Healthcare and finance are two good examples.
Does E-E-A-T only impact SEO content?
Yes and no.
Let us explain:
E-E-A-T is a Google principle. But you can use Google’s general guidelines to create quality content on other platforms.
Say you own a flower shop. You want to create an Instagram Reels video sharing tips to keep a flower bouquet fresh.
Instagram doesn’t have strict E-E-A-T guidelines.
However, the underlying idea still applies: Users want original content, created by subject matter experts.
You could put together a list of basic tips taken from Google.
Or you could use your own expertise to create insightful, valuable content. It will take more time, but it will differentiate your content from everyone else’s.
If you want to learn more about E-E-A-T and YMYL, check out our article.
4. Find the Right Formats
Once you know the topics you’re going to cover, you must select the perfect format.
There are many options:
- Blog posts
- Social media posts (photos, videos, custom designs)
- Downloadable assets, like ebooks or white papers
- And more
(Learn more about different types of content marketing formats).
Choosing the perfect formats for your content is not an exact science. You’ll find them by trial and error.
However, with proper research, you can speed up the process.
Performing a competitive analysis is a good starting point.
If you understand what works for your competitors, you can do the following:
- Create something similar
- Find content gaps and create something new
Here are a few tips to analyze your competitors’ strategies:
Use Semrush’s Organic Research tool to analyze your competitors’ sites and identify top-performing pages.
This is how it works:
Go to the Organic Research tool, enter your competitor’s URL, and click “Search.”
If you want to inspect a particular section of their site (like their blog), enter that specific URL.
The tool shows relevant information, like traffic or the keywords they’re ranking for.
The “Pages” tab is a quick way to find content ideas.
It lists the URLs under that domain, subdomain, or subfolder—with its organic traffic, the number of keywords it’s ranking for, and more.
When you’re looking at this data, it’s easy to detect the best-performing content pieces.
Once you do so, ask yourself:
Are they blog articles? Maybe informational pages?
Let’s say they’re blog articles: Are they complete guides? How-to articles? Interviews?
Use what you learn to choose the best format for your own content.
Of course, there’s a lot more to quality content than pages on your site.
Let’s say you want to create high-quality content for social media.
Use Semrush’s Social Tracker to analyze your competitors’ social media presence.
Add your competitors’ social profiles. The tool will collect data from the previous 60 days (30 days for YouTube).
And there’s more: The “Top Content By Channel” section displays top-performing content in your niche.
Look at the data to detect the top-performing posts.
Let’s say they’re videos.
What kind of videos? Interviews? Tutorials?
As you can see, you can learn a lot by looking at what your competitors are doing.
5. Ensure Content Readability
If you’re creating text-based content (like blog posts, ebooks, or social media posts), content readability is key to engaging users.
Here are some ideas to improve content readability:
- Write short sentences: Whenever possible, divide long sentences into two or three shorter ones
- Include one idea per paragraph: Use short, simple paragraphs
- Add images: Use images to “break up” long sections and make it easier for readers to stay engaged
- Use lists: When possible, use bulleted or numbered lists
- Share relevant information first: Don’t force users to read your whole piece to find what they’re looking for
See some of these tips at work at this LinkedIn post:
Four simple paragraphs, one idea in each of them. No blocks of text, no fluff.
Looking for an example of a blog article that puts these tips into use?
You’re reading it right now!
We work hard to make our articles as easy to read as possible.
If you also write blog posts, Semrush’s SEO Writing Assistant is a great tool to improve content readability.
This tool scans your piece in real time and provides readability recommendations.
It will rank your text’s readability and recalculate your rating as you make changes.
You can use it directly in the Semrush platform. Or in Google Docs, WordPress, or Microsoft Word.
Just start writing the article, add your target keywords, and click “Get recommendations.”
6. Update Your Content
Outdated content is less relevant to users and search engines. And therefore less likely to generate sales, leads, or other business outcomes.
That’s why updating your content regularly and ensuring content quality is important.
(This doesn’t apply to social platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn. Posts on these platforms tend to get buried in your feed, and users are less likely to return to them.)
Some topics have a longer life expectancy than others. But decay impacts almost all types of content.
However, tracking content decay is especially important if you create blog posts.
This is due to two reasons:
- Content freshness is important for Google. It’s a confirmed ranking factor for time-sensitive queries.
- You can easily improve a blog post without deleting it. This doesn’t apply to other types of content, like YouTube videos, social posts, podcasts, and more.
This is what the life cycle of a standard blog post usually looks like:
Let’s see an example.
Say you own a travel blog and publish an article listing the best insurance options for travelers visiting Japan.
You include affiliate links so you get a commission each time a user buys insurance through your link.
A few weeks after you publish your article, Google ranks it at position 30.
After two months, it’s at position 15.
After eight months, it peaks: Google ranks it at position three. The article generates thousands of organic visits per month. You earn $400 per month from affiliate commissions.
But after a year, your article starts to become outdated.
You haven’t updated the prices or added new insurance options. Google prioritizes other articles with more up-to-date information.
When content decay starts, you lose rankings and generate less traffic. And related income decreases.
In the next section, we will explain how to measure the performance of a piece of content (and how to detect content decay).
7. Learn from Content Performance
Measuring performance is key to creating high-quality content.
Analyzing your content’s performance helps you:
- Detect underperforming content and improve it
- Identify top-performing content and apply what you learn to future content
To track your content’s performance, choose metrics based on your goals.
Your goal might be to generate leads, make more sales, acquire new users, etc.
And depending on your goals, you’ll choose different key performance indicators (KPIs). Measuring KPIs allows you to see if you’re meeting your goals.
Here are some common KPIs to measure for different content formats:
For blog posts
- Average ranking position
- CTR (click-through rate)
- Organic traffic
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rate
- Watch time
- Average view duration
For social posts
- New followers
- Number of listeners
Tip: If you create blog articles, Semrush’s Content Audit tool is a great way to monitor their performance.
This tool automatically analyzes your site and lists the content pieces you have to update.
To use it, go to Content Audit, enter your domain, and click “Audit Content.”
Or, if you already have existing Semrush projects, click on “+ Create project” in the top-right corner of your screen or “Start Audit” beside an existing project.
Fill out the necessary details in the form that appears. Click “Create project.”
Then, select the subfolders you want to audit and click “Start Audit.”
Finally, connect your Google Analytics and Google Search Console accounts by clicking on the gear button in the top right corner of the tool. Or the “Connect GA” button in each of the sets.
When your accounts are connected, the tool will display more information in the four categories:
- Rewrite or remove: Old pieces that are getting a small number of views
- Need to update: Old pieces that are receiving some traffic
- Quick review: Relatively new pages getting some traffic
- Poor content: Pieces of less than 200 words
Customize these four categories by clicking on the gear button. Then select “Edit set.”
You’ll be able to define the following parameters:
- Word count
- Page views
- And many more
The tool will classify your pages into the categories that we mentioned earlier (“Rewrite,” “Need to update,” “Quick review,” “Poor content”).
Collaborate with your teammates by clicking on any button beside the workflow statuses.
Then go to the “Collaboration” tab. From there, you’ll be able to assign tasks to your team, check each page’s status, and more.
Learn how to use our Content Audit tool.
Looking to learn more about tracking your KPIs? Check these articles:
Start Creating High-Quality Content
Now that you know how to create high-quality content, it’s time to start putting together a great content strategy.