If you want sales, you need more traffic to your business website. If you want more traffic, you need more content.
But you’re on a budget, so you compromise and use $5 article services, free content, and other quick and easy tactics because content is content. Right?
These strategies use to work, but not anymore. These days adding low quality content to your website is guaranteed to lower your website traffic and hurt your rankings.
Over the last few years Google has made significant changes to their algorithm that added penalties for low quality content.
What is low quality content?
So, what is low quality content? Low quality content consists of things like free, poorly written, poorly researched, duplicate, thin, or spun content. Free content and content from low-cost article writing services always falls into these categories.
- Free content: Content offered freely to use on your website.
- Poorly written content: Content written for content’s sake that is of no real value to website visitors.
- Poorly researched content: Content that contains factual errors or is shallow in substance.
- Duplicate content: Content that can be found elsewhere (including on your own website in some cases).
- Thin content: Content that is of insufficient length to provide value.
- Spun content: Unoriginal content that is a modified version of other content.
As tempting as it is, it turns out that free content isn’t really free–it’ll cost you your website rankings and search traffic. Learn more about why in our article on how free content hurts your business.
How to know if content is low quality
Whether or not content is high quality is a qualitative measure that’s somewhat subjective and hard to define.
Google put out some quality guidelines to help website owners understand what quality content is. Here’s an abbreviated list (link to full list below):
- Would you trust the information in this article?
- Is this article written by an expert or is it shallow in nature?
- Does the site have duplicate, overlapping, or redundant content?
- Does this article have spelling or factual errors?
- Does the page provide substantial value when compared to other pages in search results?
- Is this the sort of page you’d want to bookmark, share with a friend, or recommend?
- Does this article have an excessive amount of ads that interfere with the content?
- Is the article short, unsubstantial, or lacking in helpful specifics?
- Would users complain when they see pages from this site?
Find the full Google quality guidelines list here.
Why it makes sense
These guidelines may sound harsh, but they make sense. With nearly 1 billion websites worldwide, there has to be someone to separate the wheat from the chaff.
We use Google to find information fast. If Google stops giving us the right information, we’ll stop using it. It’s in Google’s best interest to give us the right information quickly.
So, if you want to be at the top of the search results, you need to create content that’s worth ranking at the top. Don’t compromise.
High quality kind of content takes a lot of time to create (which is why it’s so rare), but it’s the only long-term strategy that works.
Learn more about how small business can affordably create high quality content.