March 27, 2015
You know that you need to write excellent, engaging content to help bring in more clients and clicks, but did you know that accurate content is just as important, if not more so?
It is incredibly vital to your site, and can help set you up as a great, trustworthy source within your industry. It is also going to be part of a new Google algorithm, and you need to make sure you are already creating accurate content before it hits. I am going to look at why you need it, as well as how you can achieve excellent, accurate content.
Why is it Important to be Accurate in Your Content?
When you write your content, you always want to make sure you write something that is accurate to help set your company up as a trusted source. Accurate content is a great way to create something that reflects your company in a great light while also helping you create engaging content. However, there is something new coming down from Google, which means that accurate content won’t just be something you want to create for your clients when it comes to engagement; you’ll want to be trustworthy for Google, as well.
It hasn’t happened yet, but it is being reported that Google is aiming to create an algorithm to judge the trustworthiness of a website by how accurate the content is. Their goal is to match content to others around the web to see if the subject is truthful. You should always create accurate content no matter what, but if you do think about fudging the details every now and then, this should stop you in your tracks. You want to start or continue creating accurate content to be well ahead of the Google game before the new algorithm is implemented.
Top Nine Ways to Make Sure Your Content is Accurate
Since you now know why it is important to create accurate content, I am going to take a look at a few ways you can achieve this. These tips are great to help you start creating accurate content or they can help you rest assured that your content is definitely truthful. Let’s take a look at these tips to see which ones can benefit you and your site.
1. Always Verify Your Research. Verifying research is something that can take quite a bit of time, but is well worth it in the end. This helps you make sure you are reporting on something that is factual, instead of something that sounds right, but didn’t happen. You can see this regularly in the media when reporters will discuss something they overheard and it later turns out to be false, putting the reporter and news source in the Spotlight of Shame. While major news sources can easily get out of it through various methods, a small business will have a harder time, and you might have a permanent mark of being untrustworthy, which is something you don’t want. A great way to verify is to find out if the source you are using is reputable, and to follow their research links to see if their resources are high quality and reputable, as well. Just take time, and cross-reference everything to help you verify your research.
2. Make Sure to Confirm the Claims You’ve Read or Heard Before Writing. Did you hear a claim about something in your industry? Does it sound likely, but you don’t have any research to back it up yet? Then you need to make sure you confirm before writing and publishing it. The best way to do this is to follow step one and verify your claim and cross-reference it with other research. Make sure you not only confirm it for your blog and web content, but that you don’t send it out on your social media profiles either! Just be patient, research, and then state what you’ve learned if there is enough to back it up.
3. Back Up Your Claims With Legitimate Resources. Earlier, I mentioned that, along with confirming your claims, you need to make sure you back them up with legitimate resources. This will help set your site up as trustworthy, and those legitimate resources are what Google will look at to compare your statements to deem if they are factual or not. Some examples of legitimate resources are Moz, Huffington Post, Hubspot, and Buffer. It is also a good idea to look at the domain authority of a website to know if it is high quality or not. I love suggesting the MozBar because it really does help me find great resources to share with you!
4. Write Naturally, Avoiding Sales-Speech. Writing naturally is another great way to create accurate content. How is it great? Because, when you write on a topic you truly know about, with excellent resources to back you up, you start to write your content naturally. If you don’t know much about a topic, it comes out stilted and forced, and it can even come out sounding sales-like. I’ve read a few blogs where people try to write on a specific topic, but in the end it just comes out sounding way too sales-dominated with little to no information on the topic. Write naturally, and you will not only create accurate content but you will also help bump your site up on the SERPs.
5. Have Someone Read Over Your Content. Another set of eyes never hurt anyone when it comes to writing accurate content. First of all, another reader can spot simple errors you may have missed. Second, if you have an expert in your field read over the material, he or she will be able to tell you if they think you need more resources or if your claim isn’t valid. Be prepared to take the criticism you need to know if your content is accurate or not. A great way to have someone look over your content for basic errors as well as to check for accuracy is to hire a copyeditor to go over you work.
6. If You State an Opinion, Make Sure Your Readers Know. Opinion pieces are a great form of content, but these can sometimes come across as being inaccurate because they might not fit with research. When you are writing an opinion piece, make sure you first state what it is you are writing about, any research involved with it, and then make sure your audience knows you are now writing your opinion. A basic example is writing a book review – you want people to know what the book is about, so you give them a brief overview. Once that is complete, you want to tell them what you think. If you thought the book was boring and way too easy to read, others might not agree, and it isn’t a fact, just your opinion. Make sure you always state “in my opinion” to help clear the air so people know you aren’t about to say something they might deem as factual.
7. Learn How to Search Google Well to Find Excellent Resources. Regardless of all of their changes, I do still love Google, and I am sure you do, too. We love Google because we can work to get our sites noticed, and it really helps small businesses succeed in the Internet-age. Google is also an excellent resource for you to mine for information and you might not realize just how much you are missing. Take the chance to use Google and learn how to search well for amazing resources. How can you learn to become an expert Google searcher? Well, Hubspot wants to help and they offered an excellent guide; take a look!
8. Hire Industry Copywriters to Create Accurate Content. One of the best ways to ensure your content is completely accurate is to hire an industry copywriter. Industry copywriters can focus on niche markets, and they are skilled in researching and verifying said research. You can also find industry copywriters that know your specific industry that can provide excellent, accurate content for your site, setting you up as a trusted source within your industry. This also helps you get excellent content that is written well and flows naturally, which is definitely something you will want with your content.
9. Get a Content Audit. Writing new, accurate content can be easy, but what about your existing content? Is it accurate? Did you back up your claims and verify your research? A great way to start making sure your old content is accurate and to make any changes is to hire a content auditor to look it over and find what needs to be changed. This will be great because it will not only help check the accuracy of your content, but will help give you more tips and ideas on how to tweak your content and make any changes to improve your ranking on the SERPs.
Start Creating Excellent, Accurate Content!
Now that you know a few ways to write accurate content, you need to start writing! You can also go through your existing content to ensure it is accurate with research backing up claims throughout the pieces.
If you find that you are having a hard time creating excellent, accurate content, then you should consider hiring an industry or niche copywriter. Industry writers can match your exact business need (for example, real estate writers, a strong technical writer) and write terminology that’s friendly to your readers.
Julia McCoy is a top 30 content marketer and has been named an industry thought leader by several publications. She enjoys making the gray areas of content marketing clear with practical training, teaching, and systems. Her career in content marketing was completely self-taught. In 2011, she dropped out of college to follow her passion in writing, and since then grew her content agency, Express Writers, to thousands of worldwide clients from scratch. Julia is the author of two bestselling books on content marketing and copywriting, and is the host of The Write Podcast. Julia writes as a columnist on leading publications and certifies content strategists in her training course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia lives in Austin, Texas with her daughter, husband, and one fur baby.