What is Content Evaluation? Why Do I Need It?

Creating high-quality website content is paramount for success. And for long-term success, frequent content evaluations should be part of every process. 

Content evaluations are important for many reasons. They help:

  • Improve the quality of your content
  • Make you more efficient at creating content strategies
  • Lessen the anxiety that arrives with questioning if your content is good enough

And of course when done right, high-quality content can help your website rank better. With this many pros, you’ll be wondering why you weren’t evaluating your content already.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy? content

What is Content Evaluation?

A content evaluation helps you determine if your content is high quality and if it will serve its purpose. This can mean different things to different people. You will have to learn when and how to personalize your methods, but a simple series of questions can help make determinations.

Before the internet writers reviewed their content using similar methods, but now we have the ability to share content and gather data more efficiently. Two parts of effective evaluations now exist: before and after posting. If you are interested in content marketing, you need to build an understanding of both – they can help you define the strengths and weaknesses of your content strategy.

How to Effectively Evaluate Content

Use the content evaluation whenever you have fresh content to post or old blogs to review.

First, select the questions that you find most important, then create a checklist or scorecard to keep track of the answers. I prefer to use an excel sheet because it allows for organization, easy updates, and color coding. Some people prefer to print out their articles and evaluations and use the old-fashioned red pen method.

Find what works best for you – and make it a continuous process.

Pre-Post Evaluation

If you have already included keyword research and optimization in your article, the evaluation is very similar to how content evaluations have been done for years. Following are some simple steps.

  • Step 1: “Classic” Editing Evolved

Step one will always be to edit your content for grammar, spelling, and other simple errors. For online readers, you have to take this one step further and ensure that your content isn’t merely readable, but that it is scannable. Most people do not read blog posts in their entirety anymore, but skim through to find the information they are looking for and then hone in on the specifics. This is important to remember because if they can’t find what they are looking for, they move on. Keep people on your page longer creating content that’s easy to skim and digest.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?- relevant audience

  • Step 2: Determine Purpose

What do you want the audience to “get” when they read your work? Does that point stand out? Is any of it unnecessary or confusing?

  • Step 3: Is It Audience Appropriate?

Who wants or needs this information? Is there any in-group jargon you should be using? Is it written at the level of the audience? You don’t need to sound like a Ph.D. candidate for a joke website, but you should sound professional for business-related sites and publications.

  • Step 4: Are You Providing Valuable Information?

Is your content useful to your audience? Is there information that can’t be found elsewhere or written in a way that clarifies complex ideas? Does it update or correct old information? Is it practical?

  • Step 5: Organization

Is the content displayed in an easy-to-understand way? Does the organization make sense for the purpose? If it’s history, is it chronological? If it’s selling something, can you easily find the pitch or is it cluttered? If it’s scientific, does it properly explain the progression from theory to conclusion? Can your audience find the main points at just a glance? How about the important keywords, concepts, and links? If not, you need to consider editing and organizing your piece of content.

Content-Based Search Engine Optimization

If you have not included any optimization, this section will get you started. For more, please check out our blog for more in-depth articles.

  • Live Links

It’s important to make sure all of your links are working. Too many dead links can affect the page’s ranking. It’s off-putting to users, because broken pages, even on other sites, reflect poorly on your own. This is something that needs to be reviewed consistently as websites are constantly crashing and pages are constantly being reformated. 

  • Don’t Keyword Stuff

This is advice that every SEO knows, but sometimes it’s easily overlooked. Even if you researched dozens of keywords and variations to use, you shouldn’t repeat the same ones more than a few times in your content. It reads as spammy to crawlers and it reads as unnatural to humans.

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?-seo-content strategy

  • Be Natural

Another “obvious” suggestion that keywords don’t stand out in a sentence. If you write an educational blog post on Bengal tigers and determine “Bengal tigers eat” to be a highly searched term, you shouldn’t force that exact keyword into a sentence. In this case, you can slightly alter the term to make it more natural, such as “Bengal tigers like to eat…”.

  • Headers and Subheaders

You want to use headers and subheaders to make your content easy to read for humans and bots. Headers help with this by highlighting key parts of your post and separating the sections. Your blog post should only have one header one (H1) on the page and use header two’s and three’s (H2 and H3) to subdivide information.

By using keywords and other important terms in your headers, you can highlight them.

  • Front Load Important Information

Put the most important topics near the top. Once again, this benefits crawlers and humans alike. Crawlers put more value on the content that comes first and humans tend to skim, so information that is readily available will be read first. By bolding, italicizing, or highlighting important words and phrases, you can make sure your audience finds what they need – and quickly.

After Your Content has been Posted

It’s difficult to judge content by views. Multiple factors that can lead to someone clicking on to the page, many of which are not affected by the content itself. Even the average time on page function in Google Analytics isn’t infallible. The time is measured when the user clicks onto another page, so the last page is not measured accurately. Links provide a decent overview – but earning links is difficult even for fantastic content. Here’s what else you can use.

  • Comment Section

One of the most direct ways to tell if people are engaging with your content is if they comment on it. Reading through the comments, you can tell if people are reacting positively; if there is any negative feedback that you can address; or if your website attracts mainly trolls and needs a revamp. Don’t forget that you can increase engagement by interacting with the comment section!

  • Social Media Shares

Social media shares are also good for showing audience engagement and purpose. There are many reasons people choose to share content and they will often write that reason right in the post, which makes it easy for you to discern the popular opinion and level of engagement. People share content that they are interested in; that they strongly agree or disagree with; that they find matches their own personality; or content that amuses them. Only you can decide which types you find acceptable for your brand. Even negative feedback has a place, particularly if your website deals in controversial opinions and stirring the pot.

You can utilize what you learn from the comments section and social media as inspiration for your content strategy.  

What is a Content Evaluation? Should it be Part of Your Strategy?-share your content

  • A/B Testing

One of the great perks of internet content is that it is easier than ever to find out what works for your audience by using multivariate testing of your content. Simply put out two or more versions, tweaking the content or design of the page, and use Google Analytics or other SEO tools to determine which version is more engaging. If you ever watched The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, she tests out different punchlines to jokes to see which gets the most laughs. This is the online version.

  • Updates

Finally, make sure to check back on occasion to see if your content could use an update. Updating your content makes it more valuable to your audience and can increase their trust in your website. Furthermore, fresh content gets a boost, so if you can add in an update and repost, you can give that piece of content a boost.

The Value of Content Evaluations

While good content is rewarded for simply being good content, there is even more value to it than that. The Hummingbird update didn’t make the biggest splash, but it did implement some changes to favor quality content, which is easier to read and more engaging. Engagement can also help the SEO value of your content and the social value, both of which get more eyes on your blog posts and users to your website, which can quickly translate into stronger sales and a stronger bottome line.


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