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March 7, 2006

Companies Create Content-less Content

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Barry (Rustybrick) over at Search Engine Roundtable has an interesting post this morning concerning ‘the latest craze in SEO': writing content-less articles designed merely to further link building campaigns, referencing an informative thread that popped up over at Search Engine Watch last week.

Barry highlights a phone call he received recently.

“Some person calls me asking me my advice on having a company write [sic] articles for him to build up his linkage and page count. I asked him, how long have you been in business? He said about a year or so. I asked him, are you an expert on what you sell? He said, not really. I asked him, can you write about your business and products? He said, no not really, there is nothing much I can say about them. Then I told him, you can pay someone to add content to your site, but I am not sure about how beneficial it will be in the long run.”

Now, it’s common SEO knowledge that achieving link popularity is an important factor in search engine rankings. In fact, you may have even heard of our LinkMaps™ tool designed specifically to help you with analysis of your inbound links. But if you’ve spent time on our site, you know (at least according to us) it’s not the only factor. Companies should be wary of putting all their weight on a one-legged stool; one-legged stools break. In fact, they’re not really even stools. We believe in a three-legged stool, constructed on the equal legs of – well, you can learn all about that in our 2.5-day Training Class.

A serious problem arises when companies are so obsessed with gaining links that they start creating worthless pages. What many companies fail to realize is that writing content that has no relevance to their site, and exists only to be spidered by a search engine, will ultimately do nothing for them. Secondly, link building should never be your content’s sole purpose. Search engines look for unique, expert content as a way to help them determine relevancy. Getting links from content is a secondary benefit to having the search engine recognize your expertness and rank you on that factor in the first place. The goal of a link building campaign should be to inspire others to link to you. The objective is to write content that identifies you as a field expert, causing others to want to associate themselves with you. Writing search-engine-friendly text that ultimately says nothing is fruitless.

Appealing to the search engines will not increase your link popularity, search engines merely give you credit for sites already linking to you. Obviously we never advocate ‘content-less articles” even if they get links (which they won’t) and even if they get rankings because you fooled the engine into thinking they were expert. Users are going to know immediately that they’re looking at junk and they will abandon the site, probably vowing never to return in disgust for the insult to their intelligence.

If you cannot dig up enough interest in your company or subject matter to write compelling text, we suggest finding (or hiring) someone passionate enough to write or do the research for you. It is that important and the results will be that dramatic. It’s our opinion that creating three pages of excellent content is better than writing 30 pages of not-so-excellent content. If you need us, give us a call.

Barry points to an informative thread that popped up at Search Engine Watch last week that is also worth a read. Those who haven’t had a chance to read it yet, should head on over.

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