TAMPA, FLORIDA – We’ve heard for years that content is king. I’ve written the phrase several times myself. But not ALL content is king. Some of it is actually crap.
Today I’m sharing information on types of content so you’ll know what to focus on if you’re looking to increase Google search traffic to your website or simply are concerned about what constitutes quality content.
Let’s start with the content that truly is king.
Just as the name implies, this is content written by you, or by someone else for you. It is unique and doesn’t include verbatim information found anywhere else on the Web. It’s perfectly fine to hire a professional writer to create this content for you. We include original content creation in our Internet marketing packages, and I include content writing services in my public relations business.
I consider it a best practice to write your own content or hire a writer to interview you or your staff periodically when writing blog posts, articles or press releases about your business. The knowledge you share will be unique. Even if it’s information that can be found elsewhere on the Internet, the way in which you write or explain it to a writer can’t possibly come out word for word as it is written on another website.
This type of content, although it may be well-written and factually correct, is content that you’re likely to find elsewhere on the Internet. We have a lot of clients in the dental field, and we routinely find canned content on their sites if they have previously worked with some marketing companies that cater specifically to the dental industry.
Let’s say you’re an orthodontist and you need a website. There are website companies who only work with orthodontists, and they make website creation easy. You pick a template and color scheme you like. Then you tell them what services you offer. Are you an Invisalign provider? They’ll slap their standard “Invisalign” page onto your site. Do you offer Damon brackets? They have a ready-made page of content that explains the Damon System. Do you offer ZOOM! teeth whitening to patients after they get their braces removed? These companies have prewritten content for that, too.
Trouble is, every other orthodontist who offers those services and uses that website company will have the same content on their websites. Google doesn’t like this. It identifies canned content and often penalizes websites that feature it.
In a way, canned content is duplicate content. But in this case, I’m talking about something more sinister. I’m talking about plagiarized content. Let’s say you’re a real estate agent in Little Rock, Arkansas and you find an agent in Seattle whose site you love. She explains the business better than you think you can yourself, so you simply copy and paste her content onto your site. Big no-no.
First, it’s just wrong. Don’t steal someone else’s hard work, or the work that they paid someone else good money to produce.
Second, Google is on to you. Or they will be soon. Google understands where content gets posted first and what is duplicate content. You won’t do yourself any long-term favors by lifting great content from another site. The original source of the content almost always gets the credit. I say “almost always,” because unfortunately, sometimes cheaters win. Sometimes sites with duplicate content actually achieve great rankings and Google gives them the credit for the content. However, this doesn’t happen often, and you certainly shouldn’t adopt this as a best practice.
Poorly Written Content
It’s a toss-up between which is worse – duplicate or poorly written content. Understand this: if you aren’t a good writer, you need to hire someone to write your content for you. And if you hire someone, make sure they are good writers. That means don’t fall for the allure of cheap prices. If you’re in the U.S. and your content is written in English, it is likely that someone you hire in India or the Philippines isn’t going to write your content as well as someone whose native tongue is English. But they’ll probably be cheaper than hiring a writer in the States. You must pay for quality.
I’ve devoted a lot of attention in this post to what Google likes and dislikes, but the humans who visit your site should be your top priority. Opinions are formed about companies based on their websites and the content they contain. If you have poorly written content filled with spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, site visitors might believe you’re not intelligent enough to be good at your job. You could lose sales opportunities as a result.
Put your best face forward on your website by providing visitors with well-written content that contains helpful information and you’ll make everyone happy, including Google.