What "Unique" and "Great" Content Really Mean
Have you heard this one before? "The key to ranking well in Google is to write great, quality unique content!"
That's the go-to line for most SEOs who really can't qualify a true SEO strategy. There's this idea of pushing out unique content (which remains undefined) in a sort of 'if you build it they will come' mentality.
If your SEO strategy is to write content -- and I'm not saying that's a bad strategy -- then you should first understand what unique and "great" content really means.
What is "Unique Content?"
Unique content is one-of-a-kind content that can't be found anywhere else. This DOES NOT mean that the content is simply original and unplagiarized. This is the trap! Unique content means that it provides a unique value in your space -- emphasis on value.
What void is your content filling? Is there a searcher need that has yet to be filled, an itch yet to be scratched, or a question remaining unanswered? These are the keys to "unique content."
Simply writing an original piece of content each week/month does not satisfy the "unique content" strategy.
What is "Great Content?"
Simply put, "great content" is content that is better than anyone else has published on the subject. When a search is performed in Google and the first page results are shown, great content would be better than any of those search results.
Then, and only then, can you hope to achieve lasting first page results. Why? Value. If your content is truly better than the rest, your content will be given the priority.
What determines which content is best? After all, the answer can be subjective. Part of that will remain subjective and nebulous. Part of it will remain up to the algorithm to decide. You can do your best to promote your content and get links, and a lot of links and attention will be determined by how "great" you've made your content.
Simple ways to out perform the competition include:
- If they write "10 ways to do XYZ" then you can write "101 ways to do XYZ"
- If they've written "The Complete Guide to Stuff" You can write "The Even More Complete Guide to Stuff"
- If someone is charging for something, give yours away for free and then some.
We are all fighting a battle of out-doing the others in our space. No magical tricks or optimization can make poor content great. You're going to stand out and shine based on merit and merit alone.
Why Does Content Help in SEO?
The main reasons why many SEOs and agencies will tell you to write content (in addition to being an easy deliverable for them) is because it does satisfy a few technical merits Google places upon our websites.
#1 - Relevance - Google needs to understand what your website is about. The more relevancy signals you have, the more confident Google will be that your website has the answer to a search query. Content is not the only relevancy signal (links being perhaps even the greatest), but it's certainly the easiest.
#2 - Engagement - If you can continually create engaging content -- meaning content that people will comment on or in some way react with -- then you can drive the "I want to return to this website" factor which truly does help with SEO.
These drive links, sharing, and signal the algorithm that your website will provide Google's users with the best 'experience' possible.
Content is indeed king because it satisfies both the qualitative and quantitative requirements for a website's SEO. Writing content for the sake of writing is simply not enough, and in many cases ineffective or even counteracting your success.
More content is not always key. There are plenty of examples out there where people publish only a few articles every year and dominate the search results. That's because these individuals have mastered the "unique" and "great" content requirements.
If you're sitting there thinking that your industry or vertical can't possible have any more "unique" or "great" ideas then you're not thinking outside the box. Leave a comment and I'll be happy to brainstorm some ideas with you.