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quality contentOver the past few years, search engine optimization (SEO) has endured a drastic shift from focusing on building link profiles filled with as many links of any quality that you could accumulate to emphasizing the value sites offer to users by assessing content quality. Of course, as the shift has occurred many online marketers were left wondering “what exactly is quality content and how do search engines judge my content?”

Google has remained fairly tight-lipped on the subject, only suggesting a few obvious and time-tested strategies for improving content for users. However, Bing’s Senior Program Manager, Michael Basilyan, went into great detail on how Bing evaluates content quality in a recent blog post.

In Bing’s case, the algorithm looks at multiple factors including relevance to specific queries, authority, utility, and even the overall presentation of the content. Basilyan encourages content creators to be ever-aware that every search is made by real people wanting real information to help them, rather than meaningless paragraphs crammed with keywords.

If you want your site to be visible on Bing’s search results and your content to be useful to users, Basilyan recommends focusing on these three areas:

  • Authority: How trustworthy is the content, the author of the content, and the website it is published on? Signals from social networks, cited sources, and name recognition is considered when determining an author’s authority.
  • Utility: How useful and detailed is the content? Content that provides appropriate levels of depth, along with supporting information, is considered to be more useful for searchers.
  • Presentation: Is the content presented in a way that’s easy to read? A well-presented page is one that makes its content easy to find, rather than one that forces the user to sift through unrelated material to find what they really want.

The blog post also highlights that Bing does not discourage the use of advertising, saying “Bing will promote and support websites and webmasters that provide ads relevant to the content of their website.” But, if your content interferes with usability it may also affect your visibility and Bing’s own assessment of your content.