Content Shortcuts Create Chaos

The need for content shouldn’t have you spinning like all of the other spammers out there. Regardless of how much fun that turtle above us is having!

If you spend any time in the online marketing or search engine optimization industries you’re familiar with the expression “content is king.” It’s a valid message: nothing encourages online readership and search engine rankings like relevant, informative content. The entire concept of content marketing revolves around this truth.

High quality content comes at a cost. You either take the time to write content in-house like Hydro Worx, or you spend money contracting your content needs to freelance writers, journalists or SEO companies.

Inevitably some folks want to take a shortcut. They assume if content is indeed king, they can slap a crown on any content and the masses will kneel in allegiance. They’re wrong.

The Plagiarized Page

As a writer, I take plagiarism very seriously. Obviously not everyone feels the same way. Copying other people’s content and pasting it wholesale onto other websites is one of the most common content shortcuts, and it benefits no one.

Consider this example. I write a series of articles for a South Carolina home remodeling website. They provide solid, relevant resources for any type of remodeling work and perform well in the search engine rankings.

Now along comes a rival website with a need for content. Rather than write their own, they copy my work from my client’s site word for word. Intellectual honesty aside, we now have two sites with duplicate content. Google has no love of duplicate content, so it penalizes both sites in the search engine rankings (although the word  thief may see an initial bump in traffic).

Both sites suffer, and my client has to go through the laborious process of contacting the offending site and asking them to remove the content, which they may or may not actually do.

It’s Alive! The Frankenstein Page

Other sites assume if they plagiarize from multiple sources and mash everything together in a single article they’ll avoid plagiarism detection and fool the search engines. They might even get away with it for a while, but the resulting content is a stitched-together monstrosity with grammar, sentence structure and style changing from section to section. One section contradicts another, and the reader ends up frustrated and confused.  Here’s a terrible site that seems like duplicate content is their forte – Kitchendesignersideas.

Spinning Articles

It’s common knowledge that you cannot copyright an idea, which leads some content developers into the murky waters of spinning articles. The content developer rewrites existing content, changing it just enough to avoid plagiarism checkers. Often the “spinning” only makes minor changes to wording, so the statement “spinning articles is unethical” becomes “spinning articles is bad.”

Spinning is a bit of a cottage industry online, with content developers hiring writers to spin multiple versions of the same article for pennies a page. The industry includes spinning software, which generates slight variation in text.

Unfortunately (or fortunately if, like me, you’re a freelance writer), spinning software usually produces content which looks as if someone pasted the text into Google Translator, translated it into Russian, then French, Swahili and Arabic before translating it back into English (don’t laugh—I’ve heard of content scams doing just that).

The problem with spinning, aside from the obvious dishonesty, is the practice floods the Internet with poor quality content and makes it difficult to find actual quality writing among all the drek. Users are notoriously fickle creatures: if they can’t find good quality content immediately, they just stop looking, and that affects us all.

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