Why Good Content Can Sometimes Fail: How to Make Sure You Don’t Fall Into the Trap

Jul 30, 2012   //   by AmandaDi   //   SEO Blog  //  32 Comments

It’s hard to believe that good content wouldn’t always help your website grow and mature. After all, writers, blog owners, and even Google are always talking about the importance of great content. Above all else, a website must have quality content to really thrive. It’s the first piece of the puzzle, with SEO and promotion to follow. So what happens when good content doesn’t work? Is there something wrong with this good content?

In the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Although something might be well written, it may not be ideal in terms of drawing in visitors. In other words, good content means more than just a well-written article—it means choosing a great topic, choosing the right tone, and marketing that content in a specific way.

How to Look Past the “Well Written” and Focus on Content Success

The first step when analyzing content to put on your site is always whether or not that content is well written. Check for grammar errors and coherence and organization to decide whether or not that article is something you want to put on your site. Once you’ve decided that the article is easy to read and free of any errors, you need to ask yourself three questions that are so often missed:

  • Is the article bias or leaving out varying opinions?

This can sometimes be hard to miss when you’re agreeing with the opinion of an article. Even if the article is throwing out facts, they always seem to lose credibility if the article isn’t showing both sides to the story. On that same note, those who disagree with the article will likely not feel the need to share the article; thus cutting your promotion in half. The best thing you can do to solve this problem is to consider why someone might disagree or why someone may like something done the opposite way, and then addressing the issue.

  • Does it sound like you’re trying to sell something?

There is certainly content on a website that is designed to sell something, but the bulk of a good website usually has articles that aim to educate or spark a discussion. If you write a great piece of content that does nothing but sell your product, you might lose readers after a paragraph or two. The same can be said for those who focus too much on keywords. Make sure that what you’re writing is relevant, and try to avoid lots of advertisements and flash pop-ups surrounding your content.

  • Is the article easy to find on your website?

Great content doesn’t mean much if you can’t find it. You want to make sure that a link to your blog is clearly visible on your homepage, and you want to make sure that you’re sending this content out to those who can help. Make sure that you have an option for people to subscribe to your content so that each week these subscribers will get the content right in his/her inbox.

The greatest thing about good content gone wrong is the fact that you can fix this content. You don’t need to start over or completely re-write an article just because it isn’t generating a lot of clicks. If the article is already well written, it will be easy to make these few adjustments.

Have you ever found that you’ve written great content that didn’t seem to get you anywhere? What did you find to be the problem and how did you fix it? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo Credit: hubspot.com

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AmandaDi

Amanda DiSilvestro is a graduate of Illinois State University. Although she graduated with an English Education degree, she found herself working as a full-time blogger in the SEO/social media department at HigherVisibility SEO, a leading franchise SEO company.

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  • abhishek says:

    Amanda, nice post…i think these days its also very important to share the content on social networks as well…..

  • Becca says:

    Thanks for the good tips provided here! I think that we have to have an action plan in place so it doesn’t sound your selling and before making the offer and we should be sure about it…
    Presell is essential when writing content.

  • David says:

    I laugh at how often someone tries to sell me on their guest post by the “quality” of the writing. Or how it is “original” just because the words were not copied from elsewhere. Yes, the writing needs to be good, but it is the ideas that are presented – that’s what really counts.

  • AmandaDi says:

    I’m glad you all agree with me! I started writing this post and was afraid it was to obvious or general so I set it aside for a while, but the more I thought about it the more I thought that it should be written! Understanding content is so important. Thanks for reading!

  • Joy says:

    These are valid factors to consider when determining whether a post is outstanding or not. I completely agree that over and above all, it must be visible for it to be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Great post, Amanda!

    I think it’s important to reiterate your point about focusing the content on educating and engaging verses trying to sell something. Often times I will use social media trends, search engine top searches of the day, Q&A sites and forums to see what information people are talking about, or looking for, to help generate ideas for content.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • AmandaDi says:

      Great point. I also check out social media trends to get ideas for content. I really believe that if someone visits your site and sees great content that isn’t trying to sell something, they will eventually make their way over to a page where they will convert. It seems like a company can really be trusted when they are confident in their knowledge and not just confident in their ability to sell you something. Thanks for reading!

  • craig says:

    I get an awful lot of guest posts request claiming to be “100% original” which is great but the quality is usually somewhat lacking and the few I have taken on that have been below average have taken me a couple of hours to “Fix”

    An interesting read thank you for sharing

  • Publishing great content in raw form is actually a big mistake. Apart from creating something that’s well written, one needs to tweak it from the target audience’s point of view. Unless your readers are able to derive real value, a specific piece of content is not great.

    Thanks for the tips.

  • Marbella says:

    Hi AmandaDi,
    If you’ve written a good and interesting article with the right keywords in an interesting title and text, the H1 – H2 – H3, and all other seo so can you not fail.

  • Travis Brown says:

    “Avoiding sounding like you’re selling something” can be really hard when you’re in some very niche topics. Sometimes, it feels like there is so much information about that one thing, and you’ve just nailed it into the ground. Writing in a more editorial manner is something that I would like to practice. What I like to keep in mind is the traffic and user. That tends to keep my writing in line with what people like.

    Also, looking through Analytics to find content that is already popular on the site has helped me shape my future content plans because I already know what my past users liked. Thanks for the post, Amanda.

  • AmandaDi says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I completely agree with Faissal that content really isn’t great if you’re not tweaking it from the point of your target audience–and this actually isn’t that difficult to do! If you have a good writer on your hands, tweaking the way something is written should not be an overly difficult problem (and even if it is, it’s important so you have to make it work!).

    Also a great idea to look at analytics. I’ve used that strategy in the past and it has worked quite well. Thanks for commenting everyone :)

  • Felicita H. says:

    If I have a post that doesn’t seem to be drawing in many comments I will review it and tweak it in different ways to see if that helps, which typically works. Sometimes people just aren’t interested in certain topics, even if it’s related to your niche.

  • Atul Dogra says:

    I think bloggers must stay updated with latest info into their niche and provide something unique and useful to readers. SMO can play an important role for promotion purpose and better stay connected with social sites related to your blog niche because it will help you to grab some quality readers. It doesn’t matter how good you are in writing but you also need to promote your content and get noticed by others to build a good readership.

  • AmandaDi says:

    I think you’re both completely right. Many website owners and writers put up an article and if it doesn’t work, oh well–but the truth is that you can still change it! I think making little tweaks is a great way for an editor really stay on his/her toes and put out the best article possible.

  • Derek Maak says:

    Hey Amanda,

    I think good or great content is an ambiguous term that means different things to different people. Like you have mentioned, a well written article doesn’t necessarily qualify as good content.

    I think this is something that Google will always struggle to define and rank as well. I don’t agree with certain parameters that are often talked about in terms of determining quality content on a site (things like bounce rate, time on site, number of pages viewed per visitor, etc.) because these things don’t necessarily indicate good content.

    A great website that gives a visitor exactly what they are looking for the second that person lands on the site could very well have a high bounce rate, a low time on site, and a low number of pageviews per visitor not because the site has poor quality content, but rather because it gives people exactly what they are looking for and the visitor doesn’t have to spend much time on the site or visit multiple pages to get the information they want.

    Do I know of any better parameters? Nope. I think quality content is really hard to define without having an actual human reviewing it. It will be interesting to see what parameters Google focuses on in the future.

    I think percentage of returning visitors and things like that are better indicators than things like bounce rate.

    • AmandaDi says:

      Thanks for such a great comment Derek, and sorry it took me so long to get back to you. I think you make some great points, and I think that the topic of Google’s view of quality content could be an entire article (and in fact, I’m sure it is somewhere!). It is tough for Google to really define what is “quality,” and this term definitely means something different to different people. I have seen plenty of articles that I would write-off and poor quality, but there are tons of comments that love it! It’s really quite interesting.

      The bounce rate is a hard one. I have always thought bounce rate was a pretty good indication of your site’s quality, but I do see your points. We shall see what makes the cut as Google continues to evolve. Thanks for reading!

  • Elena Anne says:

    I agree, sites that are only about selling something can be off-putting. The internet is after all, best used for the sharing of knowledge and information, which people can use for the benefit of the community. Use it for this!!!

  • richa says:

    This is a wonderful insight into the topic. Providing unique and engrossing stuff is better than only just offering good content. A good but outdated content will do no good. The readers should derive some value from the content.

  • Shruti says:

    Completely agree with you AmandaDi, it happens many times that good content could not be able to increase the website’s PR. Your post is really worth reading.

  • Adeline says:

    I often write a lot of reviews on my blog, and these pointers do come in handy. I’ve bookmarked this so that before I publish my posts, I can compare it against the questions you’ve asked here to make sure that the content I publish will be considered of good quality. Thanks so much for sharing this.

  • Hafis says:

    Agree with you, Content is the King..

  • AmandaDi says:

    Great to hear that you all agree! I like the line “good but outdated content will do no good.” For some reason it’s sooo easy for people to ignore this! The Internet is about offering information for education, not just selling. Thanks for reading everyone!

  • biobank says:

    I will create an apraisal of it and tweak it in different ways to see if that helps, which typically works. often people just aren’t keen on certain topics, even if it’s related to your niche.

  • mathew says:

    People always tell me success comes from original content, but i then say to them if no one is searching for it in Google then why bother creating original content? If you check out what is being searched for you can be rest assured someone else has already written on it. Anyway i never get an answer when i say this i just get a blank face LOL

  • Mohammad says:

    Hey,

    Content means a lot in the blog.The factors you have mentioned are true.Sometimes good contents fail to work.

    Thanks,
    Mohammad

  • Mark Brook says:

    Yes I am agreed content link must be visible on home page and also I think we need to optimize blog or that content with the site also and also we have to use social elements for this like facebook and twitter as I have seen digg lost some reputation but there are still much to have.

  • Hello Amanda,

    Thanks for this thoughtful post. Many out there probably are not aware of the various why there are not takers to their content which is impressive though. I agree with all your points. One big reason why people do not like a content is, if it is biased. I myself do not cherish the idea of reading posts which are just a result of momentary and harsh conclusions. Present ability and focus are other vital aspects which need to be maintained while writing.

    Thanks and Regards,
    Vijay

  • The most important point for me here is not to be bias about the topic being discussed. As a blogger, you need to think about your audience/readers that they will have different opinions about the topic so you need to convince them that you’ll be listening to the voice of both sides.

  • Emilia says:

    Thanks for sharing your insights, I think that credibility should always be considered when writing an entry on a general topic; as you have mentioned it is better to present both sides instead of one.

  • LOJO says:

    Content, fails when misleading the concept, providing non-relevant information and/or non specific, not understandable information.

    These are some causes which fails content importance.

  • Jay Aar says:

    You are right. Content in not enough, URL (SEO part) and socila media (SEO) are most important.
    You must should be careful about your header text, because that is also an important as other part.
    While you don’t care about Header, means you have to do more struggle.