The Ten Characteristics of Low-Quality Content

You’ve probably heard every cliche in the book about the importance of content. You’ve had the value of content marketing driven into your skull for years. You know it’s important.

But do you know how to tell the difference between good content and bad content? You probably have some inkling about whether or not a particular piece of content is great. Today, we’re going to discuss how to tell if your content — or that of a competitor — is terrible. 

1.  Lack of Copyediting

Would you trust a newspaper laden with spelling errors? What about a white paper with such confusing grammar that it takes ten minutes to read a single sentence? You already know the answer to those questions.

Hire a copyeditor for your website. Trust us on this. 

2.  No Originality

Plagiarists are, beyond any shadow of a doubt, the lowest common denominator in any creative field. If you aren’t coming up with your own ideas or adding your own thoughts to a piece, you need to start. And if you’re scraping content, it’s not just your content that’s bad, it’s your entire business. 

3.  Bad Titles

Google isn’t a fan of sensationalist headlines. Neither are your readers. Keep your titles relevant, informative, and simple because clickbait is the bottom of the barrel. 

4. Irrelevant Information

Value represents the most important characteristic of any content. Whatever you produce, it needs to provide your audience with something they want or need. More importantly, if you’re dealing in facts, you need to be accurate and informative. 

5. Overly Thin

We’ve all encountered a blog that seems to end almost as soon as we’ve started reading. There are admittedly some rare scenarios where short-form content is justified. In most cases, however, you don’t want fewer than 500 words. 

6. Far Too Long

Anyone who’s worked in content marketing for any length of time has encountered it. A blog post where the author is clearly laboring to meet some arbitrary minimum word count. Such content rarely performs well. 

Write as much as you need in order to address your original topic, and not a word more. 

7. Disruptive Web Design

Intrusive, obnoxious ads. Hidden anchor links. Terrible performance. 

The way your website is designed may not directly pertain to your content, but it inevitably influences how people experience it. 

8. Citation Needed

Cite your sources, especially if you’re making fact-based assertions or operating in an academic niche. Failure to do so not only harms your own credibility but can, in some cases, verge on plagiarism. 

9.  Strategy? What Strategy? 

Good content doesn’t just spring out of some formless abyss. It’s the result of a deliberate, ongoing strategy. It’s born out of an understanding of your audience and your goals. 

10.  Keywords. Keywords. Keywords. Keywords. 

Decades ago, keyword stuffing was a legitimate tactic for getting content onto the search engine results page. Today, it’s going to get you penalized by Google. Keep it to one or two keywords at most. 

So, based on the above, how good is your content? 

Author: Terry Cane

Terry Cane is a technical writer for, a reliable and supportive SEO hosting partner.