One ongoing issue in SEO is that when something is deemed important for ranking, many people and companies try to exploit that or find automated and easy ways to do it. With links it was link farms and article spinning and numerous other things. When headlines show up that content marketing is a big factor in SEO, suddenly companies out there start offering mass amounts of content to anyone who will take it. The problem is just like good links do work but bad or fake links don’t. Good, quality, unique content designed to help answer the visitors’ question or better explain your individualized services works, while cheaply thrown together, thin content designed specifically just to have content, and adding no value, does not work. Even good content that is used in hundreds of places, another common issue, does not work. Google rewards the first place they see the content show up, but the rest are downgraded as simply copies.
It is interesting that it appears that the latest algorithm update “Fred” from Google, seems to punish bad and duplicate content. It seems that I have run into a number of prospects recently that had a lot of duplicate content. Content marketing is hot and some organizations market their content to entire industries so that they don’t have to write it themselves. Seems easy and most professionals are not also writers, so it seems like a nice easy answer. Unfortunately, when 100 sites have the exact same content, it isn’t usually going to work out for you. Google is getting better at figuring it out. This worked for a lot of companies because they tended not to directly compete with the other sites with the same content because they were in different markets, etc. The time has come to make sure you have your own real content. You should want to write your own story or have a writer write your own story anyway. Your site should tell people why you are the best at what you do and show your expertise and trustworthiness, and not just recycle the same info that everyone else has.
This recent article on duplicate content goes into how Google specifically addresses it. It is actually a little more confusing because it is not necessarily manually penalized, it just gets pushed down in the rankings. It is like an anti-factor that takes away from your ranking ability.
What you need to do:
Take a serious look at all of your content. Especially if you have seen a slide in your search traffic in recent weeks. Ask yourself or an honest friend the following questions.
- Is the content on this page a good thorough explanation of what we offer?
- Is the content helpful and informative?
- Did we hire someone to write this content?
- If so, check and make sure they didn’t use it on other sites. use a tool like Copyscape.
- Especially if the content was really cheap. Chances are it was used in several places.
If you have a duplicate or poor content issue, just sit down and write out a good answer for every product or service on your site that is important to you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It is better to have unique, useful content that isn’t grammatically perfect than to copy content or have useless thin content. If you want, hire a good writer to create unique content just for you, or tweak what you already wrote to make sure it follows all of the rules of grammar, etc.
In SEO, content is king, but having bad content can end up putting you in the dungeon. Good content is king, not any content.