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We're always thinking, discovering and sharing our knowledge of how to connect with customers in the digital age. Here we share some of those thoughts.

Stand Out in the Content Marketing Crowd: Defining Quality Content in the Digital Marketing Space.

Stand Out in the Content Marketing Crowd: Defining Quality Content in the Digital Marketing Space.

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Every day, internet users find their inbox inundated with marketing emails, their surfing peppered with ads, and their searches interspersed with branded blogs and web pages. It can be difficult for a brand not to get lost in the noise when the average internet user is already primed to skip right over this kind of content (be it a blog, email, ad, or any other piece of marketing).

You need great content to stand out from the crowd.

But what is great content?

It takes more than a cool creative concept or inspired design to create effective digital content. When it comes to digital marketing, value is the name of the game, but it can be difficult to define criteria for what consumers consider valuable.

To get a good definition of value, you need to think like a search engine.

How do search engines define good content?

The criteria a search engine and its crawler bots use to determine whether a web page is high-quality, and thus worthy of a higher ranking, is exhaustive. Every minutia from how fast the page loads to how visitors interact the content is scrutinized. This is true for both your blogs and your regular website pages. But it can be summed up like this: how well does it answer a searcher’s question?

Is it accurately answering an inquiry?

Web crawlers are able to glean quite a bit of information about the content of your page (be it a web page or a blog) to a searcher’s inquiry directly from the words and phrases used on the text of a page itself.

But even if your copy is written to consciously mirror the language of your target audience, you’re not going to get results if your content isn’t accurately speaking to the intent behind those words.

To a search engine like Google, your content only has as much value as searchers give it.

Google takes note when a searcher hits your page, then immediately backs out to find another option on the search results page.

To the search engine, which has initially determined that a page has fulfilled a set of search parameters, these bounces are an indicator that the page it has just served up (i.e. your content) isn’t actually a good match for the searcher’s inquiry — no matter how well-crafted the copy or what your metadata may say to the contrary.

Search engines recognize that digital content doesn’t exist in a vacuum, and how visitors and the world at large interact with your content is a sign of your relevance to a topic and its related searches. So, it doesn’t hurt to cultivate high-quality links as well: hypertext that link out to authoritative pages (whether to other relevant content on your own site or to another recognized expert) and inbound links from credible sources citing your content as authoritative.

Does it offer searchers something that is uniquely valuable?

It’s not enough that your content answers a searcher’s inquiry. Google and other search engines are looking for content that is uniquely valuable to searchers.

While the uniqueness of content is key, it doesn’t mean that you have to introduce ideas and concepts that have never before been seen online — though kudos to you if you can. What a search engine is looking for is a unique take on a topic. Something that provides a serious improvement (think content that’s easier to understand or better designed) over alternatives or a one-of-a-kind experience that resonates with those who view it.

Is it providing a satisfying user experience?

Convenience is key to good content.

The speed a page loads, the placement of elements on a page, the distribution of text — each one works together to determine the kind of experience a visitor has with your content.

Cramped text on a page, images that never show up, pop-ups that overtake the screen, or a page that takes more than a few seconds to load are all factors that can visitors away. Customers and engines alike look for content that has a structure that is easy to follow and is laid out in a way that makes copy easy to read and the page quick to load.

Need help creating clickable content?

If you’re looking for more ways to take your content marketing game up a level, check out our infographic on 4 pieces of supremely shareable content that can work in any plan.

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