Are you posting good content on your blog? Or does it just look like good content?
Appearances can be deceiving. Good content often follows a visual formula, such as short paragraphs, headers, line breaks, bullets, numbered lists, and a few images sprinkled in. But this formula isn’t exactly secret, which makes it harder to judge whether content is good or just looks good.
That doesn’t mean you have to read the whole article to tell whether it was worth it.
4 Tell-tale Signs Blog Content is Worth a Read
Look for these four easy-to-spot signals to separate good content from worthless words.
1. The Content Cites Facts and Stats from Reputable Sources
Everything in this header must be true for content to qualify as worthwhile. If a post doesn’t include links to sources to support their claims, you can’t verify its validity. This is a clear signal that someone either didn’t do their homework or invented facts to fit the article.
If the post does include a link to the source, it better be one that’s well-trusted. Citing research from a popular website like Hubspot carries far more credibility than, say, a freelance blogger writing only from their own experience.
Find a few links and see where they lead. If the sources look plausible, the content might be, too.
2. The Anchor Text Makes Sense with the Backlink
Credible, helpful links within an article = good.
Links attached to text that has nothing to do with the subject = bad.
It takes more than including links from trustworthy sources to strengthen content. Rather, the text you choose to anchor your link is every bit as important as the link itself.
Links should be used to provide more information about a particular point in the article. In addition, anchor text should be chosen to signal to search engines what the site is about. But bad content will toss in a few links with no regard as to where they land.
See if you can tell which examples meet good content criteria:
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The answer? None of the above would qualify as good anchor text.
Linking to “here,” “get in,” or the NoStop URL does nothing to communicate to search engines or readers what the link is about.
If you want to verify worthy content within a few seconds, look at the anchor text of the links and see where they fall short.
3. The Content Delivers What the Title Promises
If you’ve ever been a victim of click bait, you know the disappointment of ending a once-promising article with an empty feeling.
- Titles that add shock value but don’t deliver in content
- Titles that guarantee a secret discovery only to find out that you already knew the secret within
They’re everywhere, and when used for attention over context, click bait can damage reputations faster than your personal business can be shared on Facebook.
Skim the headers (good content has headers) and make sure the outline makes sense with the title. If the title trumps the content of the post, either change the title or change the content. Click bait runs rampant in the digital landscape, but content that truly provides value can do so without a shifty title.
4. The Content Doesn’t Rehash What’s Already Been Said
Do a search for “the importance of content marketing,” and you’re likely to find a slew of articles that quip “Content is king” somewhere within their paragraphs.
This is a phrase Bill Gates famously wrote in 1996. And while it remains true, it doesn’t need to be revisited in every article about the importance of content marketing.
Instances of originality can seem few and far between online. Writers who struggle to come up with ideas of their own think it’s easier to scrape thoughts from others and put their own spin on topics. But this form of content “curation” translates as a me-too strategy that offers no value to the readers that they couldn’t have gotten elsewhere.
Looking at how citations and links are used can help you determine the originality of the ideas. You can also do a search on the topic and see how many similar articles appear. If the first page of your search results looks like each article discusses the same points, yours probably won’t stand out.
But the Biggest Indicator of Good Content is…
After reading the blog post, the viewer feels enlightened.
If you make it all the way to the end of an article and leave with actionable insight or newfound knowledge, the content has fulfilled its purpose. Good blog content will never leave you feeling as though you wasted your time or leave you wondering what to do next.
The internet is filled with terrible content disguised as insight, originality, and usefulness. But now that you know what good content looks and sounds like, you’re better off than those who are willing to settle for just “good enough.”