Same Old Stuff

Creating an extremely useful web-based tool, or paying a programmer to create one for you, is one of the most effective ways to build content which will, in turn, help you build natural linkage data. Writing articles will also help you build up your link popularity.

Many web sites blindly add large sums of free content to their site because they think it will help them for low cost. The problems with adding exact copies of low quality articles are the following:

  1. Since the articles exist elsewhere, yours probably will not rank as well as one of the other copies on the web.
  2. Low quality content reflects poorly on you and wastes your link equity that could be going toward getting unique content pages ranked.
  3. Many people add unfocused garbage to their site which loses the interest of their visitors.
  4. Some unscrupulous parties copy the contents of other web sites without asking. Tools such as CopyScape make this easy to detect, although legal enforcement is cost prohibitive and too time consuming for most publishers.
  5. Many tools scrape various RSS feeds and mix them to create many content pages. Content generation tools such as these will require search engines to place even greater trust on linkage data.

Some people also clutter up the Internet with search result screen scrapers and other auto content generation crap. SEO Experts are generally against generating low quality automated content as they feel it lowers the quality and functionality of the web as a whole, though it seems that some people may find it effective for generating traffic, at least until their sites get banned.

Content Format

Sometimes the format of information is as important as its quality. By distributing information in different formats, it might become easier to pick up inbound links. For example, good blog posts are often viral marketing link magnets.

Radio is not very competitive in many markets. SEO Rockstars and SEO Radio are a few SEO-related radio programs which pick up many inbound links. There is one quarterly print magazine about search engine marketing. It is easy for them to gain links because they are the only people distributing content in this vertical in that format.

Ideal Content

If you can create something that becomes a well-cited authoritative work in your field, it is worth far more than creating dozens of low quality pages. The authority granted by one well-referenced document will help boost the rankings of every page on your site.

It is a good idea to create day-to-day content, but it is smart from a business perspective to also try to create a few industry-standard pieces of work.

Deep Linkable Content

If you build a large web site and large brand, it is a good idea to try to create niche specific high quality content that many people will directly reference/link to. This will help search engines spider your sites better and will help search engines understand that your site is an authority on much more than just whatever is on the home page.

Free Decent Content

There is a ton of good, free content out there, but you need to do a bit of research to find it. If you are building a long-term business, quality is usually more important than quantity. Creative reintegration of other content with some fresh new content or other features can make your site much more useful to your site visitors, but you do not want to push it too far as duplicate content filters improve daily.

  1. If you sell products, make sure you grab the official specifications from the manufacturers.
  2. Incorporate user feedback into the pages. These can add value to your shopping experience and give you unique content.
  3. When you write articles, remember to quote and link to websites of topical authorities.
  4. Incorporate product recommendations and related/compatible items into pages.
  5. If you have a web-related idea or are researching the history of something that may have appeared on the web, you can view what a site looked like in the past from the Internet Archive. You may not be able to use the old web copy, but screenshots might be acceptable and how things change certainly makes for good article information.
  6. Integrate topic-specific RSS feeds into your web site.
  7. Ask a friend to write an article for you or interview an industry expert.
  8. Search for articles on your topic in search engines. In addition, you may want to look at article/ezine directories and glance at industry hub sites to see if the authors allow you to repost their articles. Many people who know a decent amount about marketing will let you post their articles in exchange for a link back to their site.
  9. Sometimes, it is worth the cost to hire a professional writer. Some of my friends hire people to write press releases and articles to promote each new site they create.
  10. Common Content and Copyleft are two projects which aim to help allow the free flow of information by allowing people to reuse various registered content. Yahoo! created a free Creative Commons search.
  11. Content from prior to 1923 should usually be usable. Material from 1923 to 1963 may be usable depending on whether or not it was copyrighted, published with a copyright notice and whether or not the copyright was renewed.
  12. The U.S. Government has a bunch of free copy on a variety of topics. When in doubt, check with Copyright.gov or your local laws. A variety of government resources are referenced at the end of the chapter.

Integrating Consumer Generated Media

It can seem a bit hard to optimize pages that consist of content created by others, but there can be some blessings in letting others add content to your site.

  • Spelling errors become more acceptable. If some of your users misspell a word here or there, I doubt that will hurt your credibility as much as if your own internal content was full of spelling errors.
  • Consumers will tend to generate the most feedback on your most popular offerings.

When you collect feedback on your site, if you let feedback givers rate the quality of an item, it might be a good idea to create a feedback page for each rating type. This will help improve conversion rates if spiders index pages that are consistent in theme and message.

You also want to make sure you are not running into pagination errors where you require spiders to jump through many hoops to index all your feedback. Any sorting option you give site visitors should be given to search bots as well, but as static text links.

It also makes sense to usually include more content per feedback page instead of less. If you have fewer feedback pages, then you do not need to index as many pages.

Many long-tail searches will match different words left by different writers. For example, one of my friends site with feedback about medication and depression frequently matches searches for things like side effects libido and orgasms. One person who left feedback mentioned how it affected their libido, while another mentioned how it left them with orgasm-related issues. Instead of listing five or ten feedback messages per page, by offering 20 to 50 feedback messages per page, it creates a much larger overlap of relevant text which search engines will find the page relevant for.

Other Content Creation

Sometimes it is worth it to spend a little money to help build your site up. Many people can find college students or people from Craigslist and pay them about $10-$12 an hour to create content for their sites.

Find a copywriter for hire at a site such as Elance or have a more expensive copywriter ghost write an article for you. Make sure you get the exclusive rights to the article if you do not want them to use it on other sites or newsletters later.

Some sites like Constant Content make it quick, cheap, and easy to buy articles, tutorials, and reviews.

You can buy content from various sites that specifically create content for sale by finding out who creates news in your industry or by searching for syndicated content providers from a search engine or directory.

Automated Content Creation

Use of, or improper use of, any of the following mentioned tools can drastically increase the chances your site will be removed from search indexes. If you are new to the web and are running a limited number of web sites, it is recommended that you avoid using these types of tools especially on any site that is a main source of income.

Most automated content creation tools create content which reads like rubbish. Some tools such as Traffic Equalizer scrape search results and publish the results as web pages on your site.

RSS Equalizer can be used to create pages from related RSS feeds. Some people mix this data to create well-themed and useful web pages. In some regions the web pages created by RSS Equalizer and Traffic Equalizer may be illegal due to copyright laws.

ArticleBot is a tool which creates many semantically sound articles from a single article.

It is not recommended to use these programs/scripts on a long-term basis as people/user will generally lose interest on your site because of low quality content.

Content Costs, Attention, and Quality

If you have a high attention portion of your site you may want to under-monetize it such that you do not lose your attention. But if that portion of your site is building great authority you can leverage that authority through the rest of your site.

Create some expensive high quality content and view those content costs as a marketing expense. From the leverage that content offers you can feed off that authority using dozens or hundreds of decent quality articles which are more aggressively monetized.


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