The website word of the year is “content”, “content”, “content” which makes site owners, bloggers, and internet aficionados sweat. The idea is that the better and, well more content you have, the better your rankings. Makes sense right? Well, the thick and thin of it relies on where the content came from, on top of the old adage, “content is king!”.
You might be tempted to cheat, but be warned…
Think about the puppies. Many businesses with websites see this as a potential threat to their livelihood as the guy next door has the opportunity to stuff his or her website full of fresh, juicy content that causes the doors of Google to swing open and pop them automatically to the first page capitalizing on fresh new organic traffic.
From lawyers to bakers, you may think it is a great idea to just copy and paste a cool and witty blog post that someone else worked hard on to catch up to your competitor, but like your 5th grade English teacher, Google will slap you in the hand with a yardstick (well at least your website anyway).
Believe it or not, we see many clients who sign up for National SEO or local Colorado Springs SEO who had no idea that their content was duplicated.
But I am a Lawyer (or whatever), not a Writer!
That’s okay. You have options for fresh, new, and unadulterated content to add to your website’s blog:
- Write it yourself (Do not Plagiarize!)
Set time aside to write. Better writers can hammer out a 500-word post in about an hour before editing. For myself, if I am writing about a topic that is near and dear to my heart I can pull it off (before edits) in about 1 hour, as sloppy as it may be. Then I let it stew for a day or so like a good crock of Chili. After that, I can come back fresh and be ready to make the needed changes. It helps to take a step back and re-evaluate as you go and it makes the job seem to go by faster.
- Outsource the Job (duh)
It may seem like cheating, and yeah maybe back in Jr. High it was, but this is the new world in which every business I have worked for, outsources one aspect of the business or another. Some good options for this are contacting a professional like Infront Webworks or a less expensive, albeit less knowledgeable option would be something like iWriter.com, hirewriters.com, or Outsource.com. They bid on submitted jobs for things like content from random writers.
But be warned, with outsourcing sometimes the results can be less than stellar. Often non-English writers are spinning articles from other sites. With an agency like Infront they are more geared to the atmosphere of the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry and thus can really boost your rankings to the top, as opposed to independent writers, you never really know if it is going to be any good…..or even written grammatically correct.
- Reach out to similar website owners
Let’s say you own a restaurant and you want some food blog content for your site. Reach out to a webmaster from a cooking blog to write a post on your site. You ask, what’s in it for them? One word. Backlinks. Most people I know in the web industry understand the importance of a good backlink and it really is the currency of the moment in the web universe, so it can be as simple as sending them an email from their contact form. The worst they can say is, “No.”
What if someone copies my content?
You might be thinking, “What if someone lands on my site and steals my content? Will I be penalized?” The short answer is, Not a chance! You heard that right. Google and most search engines have little guys called spiders that crawl and look at your site constantly.
When Google sees that you have content, it is matched with a first crawled date. The site with the earliest crawl date wins the day and no duplicate content penalties will be placed upon your domain. Google doesn’t want to show duplicate content in their results and will merely move your copycat down the SERP’s (Search Engine Results Pages) list.
Some Duplicate Content is okay.
Sorry to backtrack but yes it is true! There are sometimes legitimate reasons to use content from another site and Google recognizes this. Straight from the mouth of Matt Cutts, Google’s Search Engine Hero, he explains here that, as long as it is legitimate, Google will probably just ignore it, but that doesn’t mean it is okay to start the copy and paste process.
Google tends to be cryptic in its explanations in order to not reveal too much about its algorithm. Best practices should include a source of where the content came from and as a good measure to avoid any kind of plagiarism lawsuits and to give credit, to where credit is due.
So please, save the puppies and use fresh content on your website.