The Nancy Reagan Approach to Content Marketing

Nancy Reagan

Pic via Wikipedia.

This is a guest post by Mickie Kennedy, owner of press release distribution service eReleases.

Just Say “No!” to Thin, Spammy Content.

Google has long since rolled out the red carpet for Panda 4.0, its newest algorithm update that weeds out thin, insubstantial, spammy content and press releases, sites that are keyword-heavy and contain out-of-context links, and instances of gross duplication.

Like everyone else, Google is fed up with search results and rankings that speak more to an organization’s ability to game a search engine than their relevancy, quality, or legitimacy. Panda’s purpose is to give users high quality results while keeping useless cyber junk to a minimum.

How exactly does it do this?  Check out this post from Google itself to see what constitutes good web content.

So what does this mean for bloggers, writers, and marketing/PR professionals who constantly need to generate content to get a particular brand or service in front of the public? And what precisely is this duplicate content that Google is trying to thin out and why is it so bad? What’s wrong with writing for better search engine results?

Let’s break it down.

As a content marketing pro, let’s say you write a really great article for someone else’s website, and that you now want to draw other people’s attention to that article.

Since you wrote it you feel comfortable shopping it around, so you insert a link back to the article’s original home, and submit that same article to a half dozen publish-your-own-article websites where you’re sure it will give the article and its home a nice SEO boost. However, that’s where the problem starts. Google knows who has the original content, which site has the duplicate information, and also decides which site gets ranked higher during related searches.

OMG

Well, that means your client’s page won’t rank very high, resulting in low traffic. To top it off, the site could get dinged by Google for possibly being spammy – which is awful and very hard to recover from. Getting buried in search results is no fun. Some can and do recover, but many smaller sites may never recover the Google traffic they once had. Bad news, folks.

So does this mean that every single word has to be unique in the articles and content you’re marketing?

Let’s say that you and several other content marketers are pushing copy on the same new dietary supplement, and, because it’s necessary that the same ingredients are listed in everyone’s content, you are now faced with instances of duplication across several sites.  Does this mean you’re in trouble?

No – what’s going to make your content for that same product stand out and rank higher are the paragraphs and content surrounding that list of ingredients.  Panda’s pretty smart like that. So long as the surrounding content is unique, creative, and adds value to the online ‘conversation’ about this product, you’re golden – it will definitely be worth your time and effort.

Bottom line: if you’re publishing blogs, press releases, or any other web copy, make it unique, put some real time into it, and certainly avoid filling the page with grating keywords (a few keywords to get your point across are OK, but make sure it sounds natural).

Four questions to ask yourself as you begin writing:

  1. Is my content adding value?
  2. Am I writing real news for real people and not just search engines? (i.e. your target audience for press releases is usually the media – human beings)
  3. Am I an expert on this subject or am I just rewriting someone else’s content without adding a new angle?
  4. Are my links and keywords contextual?  Do they make sense and sound natural to the human ear?
  5. Is spell-check turned on?  Grammar check?  Do I have a second set of eyes to read this before publication?

So don’t fear. Your well-written, original web copy could be seen by thousands, if not millions of people.  You’re one of the good guys.  Keep fighting the good fight, and keep pumping out unique, well-edited, quality content that you yourself would want to spend time reading, and you’ll fly under that Panda radar with ease.