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Content Trends That Need To Be Stopped
Everyone knows by now that Google’s recent animal-themed algorithm updates (do they even still count as recent anymore?) seriously impacted upon the way SEO professionals need to operate to get their sites ranking on the front page. The point has been pretty overstated, which is actually partially what inspired this post.
Basically, we’ve all had to refocus our efforts on creating ‘value’ and ‘quality’ regularly, part of which means producing content that possess ‘authority’ and inform and educate readers.
Of course, the actual process of doing that is a lot harder than it sounds and naturally, a couple of bad content habits have emerged that lead to poor quality content that serves no real purpose. And we don’t want that, do we?
Here are a couple of the common features of ‘bad’ content that I’ve picked up on. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
Acting The Expert (When You Actually Know Nothing)
The pursuit of authority has led to hundreds of people becoming an expert on a vast range of niche subjects. Well…I say experts. They’ve actually just read an article written by an actual expert and rehashed it.
The result is thousands of articles that largely state the same facts over and over, and confusion abound as to who is the actual source of the original material and who has just repeated it.
With a bit of effort and efficient research, almost anyone can brush up on a topic sufficiently to produce decent content. When you bypass this crucial step however, the result is ‘acting the expert’. You should know if you’re doing this if you find yourself referring to someone else’s work every five minutes when doing your own!
Content For Content’s Sake
I think one of the big problems to emerge from the wealth of post-Panda/Penguin advice is people misinterpreting the need for ‘regular’ content. Yes, updating your blog regularly is important but it has led to some adding something of little value everyday just to fulfil Google’s demands.
When it comes to content, I’d argue that quality still beats out quantity. If you’re producing something and find that you don’t have something important to say, then either go back to the start and question why you’re producing this particular piece or simply just scrap it. Writing something purposeless everyday is probably as bad as not writing anything at all. Perhaps not SEO-wise, but certainly when it comes to actual readers and customers.
And whatever you do, don’t just repeat the same topics over and over. There’s nothing wrong with feeding previous research and work into new posts, but at least offer a new perspective or enlightening opinion. While it doesn’t count as duplicate content in Google’s eyes, it definitely will in the eyes of the reader.
Poor Quality Guest Posts
Guest posts are definitely in this season when it comes to SEO, and the benefits of a good guest post on a well regarded, relevant site cannot be understated. Unfortunately, many have misinterpreted guest posting as a form of article marketing wherein you can push low-quality material to just about anyone for off-page backlinks.
There are been a couple of implications to this practice. The first is the emergence of even more blogs that seem to exist solely for the purpose of SEO – essentially, blogs that serve a similar purpose to article directory sites except with the pretence of having strict editorial codes.
These sites commonly masquerade under the banner of online ‘magazines’ or news sites, except magazines that happen to specialise in everything from trends in aviation to ways to do your make-up like Cheryl Cole. A pretty broad target audience, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The other implication is that it’s made actually getting quality material onto relevant blogs extremely difficult. Pitching content that you’ve put a lot of hard work into to a good site has become like trying to ask the prettiest girl at school out on a date; she’s been pestered enough and would like to be left alone regardless of what you look like or how good you are at football.
Even worse, guest bloggers have got increasingly savvy to SEO tactics and a good chunk have realised that a backlink from their site is a valuable commodity. As a result, some are charging extortionate prices to have your content featured. Even with all the good will in the world, getting your post featured on someone else’s site is harder than ever. Not impossible, but still difficult.
One theory that has been posited as the result of the emergence of thousands of people suddenly really eager to get their material posted elsewhere is that Google will eventually devalue links gained from even quite good sources. That sounds a bit extreme to me, but it’s entirely plausible.
So have the algorithm updates made things better or simply shifted the poor quality content elsewhere? It’s hard to tell really. I guess as long as SEO exists, there will always be people trying to get to the top in shortest amount of steps possible – to the detriment of the rest of us.