4 elements of good content, according to Google research 

Good content, above all, is all about the story.

That’s according to new research from Google and Talk Shoppe, a research agency. Google wanted to find out how viewers determine the quality of content. 

Why we care. While the findings of Google’s research are geared toward visual content (specifically: YouTube), the broad lessons can be applied to any type of content you create. 

Good content has four elements:

1. Relevant. People want content relevant to their interests. But they also want content that is created by approachable and relatable creators. 

  • Key stat: 80% of people are more open to advertising or branded content when the content is relevant to them. 

2. Intellectual. People want content that introduces them to new things. This includes brands.

What types of content? It could be an educational series, a how-to or a product review.

  • Key stat: 88% of people said YouTube helped expand their perspectives or ways of thinking.

Is this statistic in conflict with the first stat? Yes, at least partially. But the use of the word “intellectual” may be the issue. 

Many people seek out content that reinforces things they already believe, regardless of the level of “intellect.” That’s why over the past decade there have been so many concerns around filter bubbles and what engagement-driven algorithms recommend to us. 

3. Sensorial. Good storytelling is all about the details. For video specifically, people said “unique storytelling or production” can be more stimulating than “cinematic quality.”  

  • Key stat: 94% of people said good content tells a good story. 
  • Another key stat: 92% of them say good content is produced with thought and effort. 
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What it means: content doesn’t have to be perfect. But your content should always be authentic, be useful/helpful, have a purpose and tell a story. 

4. Emotional. Most people want a content experience – something that makes them feel something – or even multiple emotions (though it failed to specify whether positive or negative emotions made a difference). 

Bonus: if you can achieve this with your content, this can help create a deeper connection with your audience. In other words, content that wins peoples’ hearts should translate to greater loyalty.

  • Key stat: 85% of people said good content makes them feel something emotionally. 

The full story. You can view the research, which was created as a visual story, on Think With Google.

So is that all that makes content good? No. In fact, it really depends on who you ask.

For this research, Google asked content consumers.

But ask someone on the SEO/marketing/creator side, typically metrics determine whether something is “good.” 

In other words, all that matters is how the content performed. Was your content consumed or ignored?

To figure that out, we look at things like:

  • Number of pageviews
  • Time on page
  • Number of links
  • Organic visibility / ranking
  • Organic traffic
  • Click-through rate
  • Engagement (comments, shares)
  • Bounce rate
  • Lead generation / task completion (e.g., add to cart, subscribe, content download, book an appointment)

But we all know that not every piece of content succeeds. Most content won’t do huge numbers. You probably can think of “good” content you’ve created that failed to do great numbers. 

Does that mean the content isn’t good? No. It just means the content failed.

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Need help creating good content? Check out these resources: