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January 25, 2016

Google’s Take on Expert vs. Regular Content

Who writes your content?

If it’s not an expert content writer, you may be in danger of being dinged by Google. In November of 2015, Google released its complete Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines. The guidelines cover everything from mobile search to what makes a quality page, but it especially focuses on the need for expert content written by expert content writers.

Hiring expert content writers in 2016 can do a variety of things for your company – from helping you establish authority to producing a SEO boost, investing in expert content writers is a smart business move.

Let’s Discuss: Formal vs. Informal Expertise in Online Content

One of the first things people ask when we confront the topic of “Expert content writers” is what exactly an expert is. The answer to that question depends on the topic at hand. In its guidelines, Google makes it clear that while all content needs to be written by an expert, the qualifications for an expert varies depending upon the subject of the content. For example, a company that dispenses medical information needs true doctors or licensed medical personnel to write that copy because they’re the experts on that topic. If you or I were to write that content, it would likely be incorrect and potentially misleading which could be very dangerous or damaging for the people reading it.

If a website provides a forum that offers cancer support advice for friends and family members, however, Google doesn’t expect doctors to be writing all the information therein. In fact, Google makes a distinct differentiation between professional certification expertise and what it calls “everyday experts.”

Everyday experts are people who have enough first-hand experience in a topic to be able to offer valuable, quality content. In this case, a person who had kidney cancer would be qualified to offer coping advice in a support forum setting, like the one seen here, although that same person wouldn’t be able to go out into the world and write an in-depth, expert article on cancer, as seen on Cancer.org’s “Expert Voices Blog.”

When it comes to expert content, there are less serious examples than cancer. You should hire an expert content writer for any of the following topics:

  • Technical industry advice
  • Financial advice
  • Medical information
  • Legal information
  • Any high-quality advice page topic, including topics like home remodeling and parenting
  • Hobby pages

These pages all require expert content writers because they dispense specific, high-quality information, some of which (in the case of legal advice, for example) can be detrimental if it’s wrong.

Five Traits of the Expert Content Writer

The expert content writer is a rare bird.

While content writers are everywhere nowadays, there are not many that can call themselves true experts on a topic. When you hire an expert, though, you gain immediate access to a few very important things.

1. Expert content writers can anticipate reader questions

The entire purpose of content is to offer information and value to readers, so it’s important to be able to write informative content that doesn’t leave readers unsatisfied. An expert content writer can do this. Great writers know how to anticipate a reader’s question and answer it before the reader has a chance to ask it.

A great example of this is an IT guy who works as a copywriter for an IT brand. This writer knows the industry, understands what readers want, and knows how to deliver quality answers to their questions. The same couldn’t be said for a copywriter with no experience in IT.

2. Expert content writers can find and use data

Strong writing, like the type necessary for high-quality advice and information pages, requires references to authoritative data. Expert writers know where to locate this data and how to use it in their writing.  This helps encourage reader confidence and make content more authoritative and reliable, for both readers and search engines.

3. Expert writers enlighten your readers

Expert writers know how to break content into chunks that allow readers to digest it, internalize it, and walk away having learned something. This is a truly indispensable skill. While good writing requires many things, all the pretty prose in the world isn’t worth much if a reader doesn’t “Get it.”

4. Expert writers know how to focus

On the topic at hand, on the industry, on the goal of the content: focus is important and if your content doesn’t have it, it’s going to derail quickly. Focused content allows readers to fully absorb a topic without having to take 27 “Detours” to get to the end point. This results in increased value and usefulness for the reader.

5. Expert writers know how to be unique

Twenty-seven million pieces of content are shared every day on the Web, which means your content needs to address interesting topics in valuable ways if it’s going to stand out. Expert writers can help ensure that your high-level topic is authoritative, factual, updated, and unique in order to help it stand out from the crowd and gain prominence in your industry.

Expert Content vs. Expert Authors

One important distinction to make here is that expert authors lead to expert content. What I mean by this is that Google cares far more about the content than they do the initials after the author’s name. This is especially relevant since most companies never even list an author name above their content. What Google wants from expert content, though, and the reason that expert content needs to be written by expert writers is that this is the content that truly answers readers’ questions.

By hiring expert writers, your company ensures that your content is doing all of the things great content should do. Namely, addressing the question at hand, providing actionable advice, and helping link the reader to additional information. This is much more likely in expert-written content than it is in content written by laypeople.

The Case for Expert Writers

Expert writers can do many things for your site. From providing quality content that creates an SEO boost to helping you make a name for yourself as an industry leader, expert writers are more important than ever in the world of online copywriting. While the level of expertise needed differs depending upon the content you’re producing, it’s true that every piece of content you write in 2016 needs an expert to do it.

From high-level industry and financial information to tutorials on learning to play the guitar, expert writers are the tool that makes your content worthy of great SEO rankings and high levels of social sharing. By investing in expert copywriters, you can help your company get off on the right foot in 2016.


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Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.

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