When it comes to your website, content rules. It takes a skilled writer to create copy that is informative, entertaining, concise, robust as well as keyword rich. In an attempt to save money, a current trend is to hire inexperienced writers or foreign search engine optimization companies to produce web content. This unfortunate trend not only destroys your company’s reputation, it can create undesirable results with the search engines.
Poorly written web content tends to fall into the following categories:
- Fluff without substance
- Long winded and boring
- Jargon laden that only industry insiders understand
- Keyword rich but impossible to understand
- Factually incorrect
When people use the web, they’re looking for information. They want to get in, get out and move on. Websites without substance provide little help to the end user so they move on. The same can be said for websites that are longwinded or filled with industry jargon. If the user cannot understand the content, doesn’t find an immediate answer or is weighed down by its volume, they too will move on.
Keyword rich content that is difficult to understand is usually written for search engines, not readers. This content contains an overabundance of search phrases that have little to do with the page’s actual content. Designed to increase page rank, these pages do not help users and could actually do more harm then good because they are used to trick search engines.
Another often talked about search issue is duplicate content. According to Google, there is no duplicate content penalty per se. However in their Webmaster tools website it clearly outlines what happens when you have duplicate content. They specifically state not to create multiple pages, sub domains, or domains with large blocks of content within or across domains (website addresses) that either completely matches other content or are significantly similar. They also state to avoid approaches that contain little or no original content.
So what happens if you ignore Google or try some other technical get around? Search engines, like Google, don’t know which version to include or exclude from their databases so they pick what they feel is best. That may or may not be your site. They cannot always tell which content to trust so they may lump all the content together which dilutes the search results causing traffic losses and less relevant search results.
So why can’t I write my own content, wouldn’t it be original? You can but you need to write content that your audience understands. It also needs to be concise and include keywords or phrases to help people find you in the search engines. It shouldn’t contain too many keywords or the search engines will think it is junk. If your content doesn’t make sense to an average reader then it is worthless and could damage your reputation. That’s why article spinning is a bad idea.
Article spinning uses software designed to rewrite original content in an attempt to produce hundreds of unique articles for search engines bypassing the so-called duplicate content penalty. It also tends to produce junk content that may or may not contain the right keywords. Without editing the content, articles that are spun are often difficult to read, contain grammatical errors and include out of context word substitutions. Sometimes these word changes can make content inaccurate.
Although a lot of poor content is produced through article spinning, the use of writers who don’t understand your industry, are nonnative English speakers or just poor writers can produce similar effects. That’s why it is important for content to be thoroughly proofread and fact checked by subject matter experts.
While some web content is brilliantly executed and worthwhile reading, it is also written by professionals who understand how to write for their audience as well as for search engines. They also understand proper sentence structure, grammar and fact checking. They do not use spinning software and create original content. Their content sounds professional and often contains sources for key facts.
Not sure if your writer is on the up and up? Ask for a few writing samples. Look at their sources. Are they reliable well-known sources or are they using Wikipedia or blogs as sources. If you copy several sentences or paragraphs and paste them into Google do you find multiple pages with the same exact content? Are all their samples from free blog sites? If your writer has duplicate content, poor sources and the content is difficult to read look somewhere else.
If you have questions about writing for the web, duplicate content or need a writer for your next project, contact Tiny Stars Creative at 425.243.4176 or visit their website at www.tinystarscreative.com
About the author
Dawn Anderson is the creative director and founder of Tiny Stars Creative, a small creative studio located in Mukilteo, WA. As a seasoned writer, she has produced compelling, keyword rich content for a variety of industries and media.