What is Meant by “Quality” Content?

Thoughts from the paidContent Conference

The most recent change to the Google algorithm focused on rewarding high-quality content.

Websites providing low-quality content have lost rank in many instances.

When Matt Cutts and Amit Singhal of Google announced the algorithm change last week, they specifically mentioned the importance of finding high-quality sites in search queries.

So how does one define the term “high-quality content”.

An article from Columbia Journalism Review focuses on the recent paidContent Conference where the session entitled “Quality, Quantity, and Mass Content” took place.

The panelists for the session included Lewis Dvorkin, CPO at Forbes; Chris Ahearn, Reuters President; Jason Rapp, President of Mahalo; Luke Beatty, head of Yahoo’s Contributor Network.

Larry Dignan, ZDNet Editor-in-Chief and the moderator for the session, asked the panelists to define “quality content”, here are their responses.

Yahoo’s Beatty responded by saying, “I think quality has to rest in the hands of the consumer, and in the editor that’s reviewing the piece.”

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He continued by saying there is a difference in quality expectations between news content and evergreen content. Consumers will decide is the content has value for them and editors will determine if the content meets their standards.

Mahalo’s Rapp said he believes “quality” is synonymous with “expertise” and if a viewer learns something from the piece is can be considered as high-quality.

For Reuter’s Ahearn, if a reader can act on a piece of news, or if they trust its accuracy and ethics, then it can be considered high-quality content.

Forbe’s Dvorkin supplied two different definitions of high-quality content, one for digital and one for print. For online content, he said the value resides in “timeliness, constant updating, relevance to the audience for the topic you’re trying to build, aggregating, your expert voice, and…getting contributors and staffers engaged in the conversation. They need to react and talk to their audience.”

For print content, accuracy is the focus since changes cannot be made after the article publishes.

I can agree with some of these statements, especially Rapp’s comment that “quality” is synonymous with “expertise”.

For me, the test of high-quality content is seen in your audience’s reactions and participation to it. If your audience takes the time to share your content via social networks or positively comments on your blog posts, there is a sense of high-quality since it was of value to them.

What do you think constitutes high-quality content?

For more on this topic, take a look at this article from Columbia Journalism Review.


    We should see the ultimate purpose of SEO, that is, to optimize our contents for the people who use the search engines. Whatever Google will do, they should follow what the searchers/users need.

    Don N.

    Google can only modify the Google visibility scoring based on what they can see…

    1. Structure, density and proximity of related phrases…
    2. Internal links to and from related content
    3. External links including those from social networks
    4. User comments and ratings

    When we are talking search engines, the beholder views quality content as a math problem.



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