A word about unique content

Winter snowflake light on a telephone pole in Hendersonville, TN

Are you being a unique snowflake?

One of the things I enjoy about the types of clients (small businesses) and variety of work (from web dev, site management and email marketing oversight to content creation, SEO optimization and social media management) that owning my own business allows for is the fact that every job includes the opportunity to coach my clients to be better communicators about themselves and their brand.

I’ve always been great at making a silk purse out of what originally appeared to be a sow’s ear – one doesn’t work as a writing tutor to college athletes without the ability to tease out insightful content from an earnest but messy first draft – and that skill is still serving me well today. I’m working with one of my clients to build up his email readership & audience engagement as well as his brand’s reputation on LinkedIn, and I gave him some advice today that applies to all of my clients – Google values original content and you should too.

The brilliance of the continued evolution of the Google algorithm is that is does not reward duplicate content any more than your college professors did (Just ask my friend Audrey Peters who’s a professor at ETSU). But Google takes you one further – even if it’s not strictly plagiarizing, even if you mention and link to the article, Google doesn’t care.  Google cares about new, unique, original content, because Google wants to provide its users with credible sources. It would serve you better to share an article as a tweet or a linked in post than by copying and pasting it to your blog (my mom would argue “no” to this vehemently – she hates following links. But my mom isn’t Google). Even though copying/pasting/rearranging/summarizing an article to acts as a blog post might be helpful in continuing to engage the people who are already reading your blog (especially if they’re my mom), it will actually work against you in the long run, because the Google algorithm will start to penalize you for not being original. What Google wants is a fresh, unique perspective, not a simple re-posting. Sharing your knowledge and your opinion (even if it was inspired by other content) – adding value by sharing your expertise – ups your interwebs cred; copying and pasting does not.

But! – you argue – My readers need to see this article! It’s important information! Well, sure it is. That’s why published it in the first place. What you need to remember is that your readers are reading your blog because they value what you have to say. They value your expertise. Let them read the primary source on their own if they want to, but give them something of value – your own expert opinion.

Yes, this will take more time/resources than just copying and pasting. If you don’t have more time or more resources, your best bet is to cut the fat. Stop trying to do a lot, and concentrate on doing a little very well. Of course, if what you don’t have is time, but you do have resources, then you can send the work on over to BIPI and we’ll turn it into shinola.

by | Last Updated: Nov 30, 2011 | marketing advice