It can be slippery to define quality content, but Bing has stepped up and given us a very clear and distinct set of guidelines for more successful web marketing.

It doesn’t have the same usership numbers as Google, but Bing is still one of the most important sources of SEO wisdom on the web. Because Microsoft’s search engine is facing an uphill battle against Google, it has even more reason to get creative – so its latest declaration about quality content sheds light on what marketers and webmasters should look for as they build their content marketing strategies.

Jan Pedersen, a distinguished engineer at Microsoft, wrote a blog post about the definition of quality content. Knowing there is always confusion about what premium information on the web looks like, he gave a very simple and easy-to-understand breakdown:

authority_utility_presentation

So what does it actually mean?

Authority: Content that not only comes from a valid and trustworthy source, but also backs up its information with citations is considered authoritative and trustworthy.
Utility: Web pages that serve a purpose, whether to entertain, save a business some money or make a spending recommendation, represent high-quality content.
Presentation: User experience is increasingly important, and when people don’t like the look of content – no matter how authoritative and utilitarian it is – they’ll navigate away.

Putting quality guidelines into practice

Implementing these three important factors is something brands generally do a little bit at a time – but they should be in a website’s DNA from start to finish and work with one another to improve the performance of web content.

For example, Brafton worked with a client in the human resources industry to build a stronger content strategy. The approach was three-pronged and addressed each of the needs Bing has laid out for quality content:

Authority: We produced blog posts in a more academic tone and style to establish trust
Utility: Content featured pull-quotes for greater readability – most readers scan
Presentation: Each post was given at least one featured image

The company soon saw results, including a 10-second longer session for the average visitor and a plunging exit rate. Adding any one of these features to the site would certainly have helped, but integrating them in tandem moved the needle and substantially boosted the visibility and standing of the brand on the web.

Alex Butzbach is a Marketing Writer at Brafton. He studied Communications at Boston College, and after a brief stint teaching English in Japan, he entered the world of content marketing. When he isn't writing and researching, he can be found on a bike somewhere in Metro Boston.