Content is an important part of search rankings, but columnist Ryan Shelley reminds us that quality trumps quantity.We\u2019ve all heard the saying, \u201cContent is king.\u201d While in some respects this saying is true, in my opinion, this one phrase has done more damage to our industry than anything else.According to WordPress, \u201cUsers produce about 73.9 million new posts and 49.0 million new comments each month.\u201d That\u2019s roughly 2.4 million posts a day, and that\u2019s just on WordPress alone. I would love to believe that all of that content has value, but in my experience over the years, I could make a very strong argument that most of it is junk.Google\u2019s end goal is to deliver the best solution to searchers in the fewest clicks. As the search engines crawl the web, they are searching for content that delivers value and matches end users\u2019 expectations. In fact, content is among Google\u2019s top three\u00a0ranking factors\u00a0\u2014 so it plays a central role in successful SEO strategies.Good content will generate links and will also help Google\u2019s RankBrain better understand what your site is about and how it benefits users. Yet even though content plays such an important role, many search marketers don\u2019t seem to take it seriously.More doesn\u2019t mean betterJust putting out more content isn\u2019t going to make you magically rank. SEO has evolved immensely over the years, and the search engines are smarter than ever. I\u2019ve seen many hedge their bets on hitting \u201cpublish\u201d more than the competition \u2014 only to see all that work was for naught. Lousy content will always deliver lousy results.Instead of writing a bunch of bad pieces of content, use that time to create better content.So, what makes \u2018good\u2019 & \u2018bad\u2019 content?Let\u2019s start with \u201cbad\u201d content. Bad content is content created for the sole purpose of self-promotion that adds\u00a0little or no value to the reader. Bad content is usually very \u201cthin\u201d and does not solve the user\u2019s end goal.The question of what qualifies as \u201cgood\u201d content\u00a0is more difficult to answer because it depends on several variables. Ultimately, good content comes down to serving your audience. What may work for a bakery will most likely not work for a law firm. So, when creating content, it\u2019s essential to know who you are writing for.Rand Fishkin from Moz has a pretty great list of what makes content good:Serves visitors\u2019 intent by answering their questions and helping them complete their goalsDelivers an easy, pleasurable, accessible experience on every device and every browserGets the right information and experience to visitors FASTDoes all of the above better than any of the competitors in the spaceLet me go a little bit deeper into each of the four points.1. Serves visitors\u2019 intentSEO is more than just rankings. It\u2019s about educating users, helping them solve problems and moving them toward a connection with a site or brand.This is where good keyword research comes into play. By digging deep and finding what your target niche is looking for, you can begin to generate some ideas of content they would be interested in.2. Provides a good user experienceA well-designed and user-friendly site will have a positive impact on your SEO strategy. When your site attracts someone via search and then engages them with good content in a user-friendly environment, Google takes notice. So good content needs to be accompanied by a good experience.3. Serves content quicklyPeople want answers now. If your site takes too long to load, and they can\u2019t get to your content quickly, your rankings could be adversely affected. So make sure your site loads fast and can deliver the goods on time.4. Beats the competitionWant to outrank your competitors? You need to do all of the above better than the rest. This is why monitoring your competition is so important. Look at what they are doing and what is working for them and then do a better job at it than them.To monitor your competition\u2019s online marketing efforts, check out HubSpot\u2019s Website Grader here.\u00a0Open Site Explorer from Moz\u00a0is a great tool to see your competitor\u2019s backlinks.Practice makes perfectContent is the lifeblood of SEO. Having a good content strategy behind your SEO will help you build more links faster. It will also help Google better understand your site contextually. Good content doesn\u2019t happen by accident. It takes planning, research and time.Investing in good content is what separates the \u201cPros\u201d from the \u201cJoes.\u201d Putting these tips into practice is the only way to get better.\u00a0Over time, you\u2019ll realize that the little extra work up front will return some amazing results.