DIY SEO: Unique and Frequently Changing Content
Posted on 30.09.2009
I mentioned in the previous DIY SEO article that the semantic web is coming and even while we await its official launch, we can be sure that the Google’s algorithms are getting better and better at filtering out the garbage content from the stuff we really want to see. As a result, I always advise small business owners to make sure that their content is both unique, relevant and constantly changing. This is a short blog post, but I’d like to share a tool that I can use to measure the uniqueness of content. As far as frequency goes, more is more.
OK, so let’s talk about uniqueness. Initially, you might think you are a very original person and that whatever you write will be seen as pearls of wisdom for your audience. This may be true…but you could still be saying the same thing as the guy next to you on the search engines results page (SERP for short). Almost everything you write and post on the web is (eventually) crawled by Google and put into one of its massive databases. The exception is content that search engines are specifically directed not to index using tools such as a robots.txt file…but I digress. Once Google has your content, it (among other things) starts analyzing it relative to other websites that are showing up in your SERP. So, if you write a blog post on say small business web design. You had better make sure that what you are saying is not just a reworded version of someone else’s website. This is because, from a search engine’s point of view, whoever posted it on the web first is the originator of that content which gives them huge points in SEO land. Now this can be overcome if someone is quoting a government official who later sends out an official press release. But for run-of-the-mill small business content, uniqueness matters.
You may have considered reading a competitor’s site and just rewording some of the content to make it your own. Bad news, Google can tell if you’ve reworded something…fortunately, so can you. The tool I use to double check my content is the Similar Page Checker. You can punch in one of your pages and a competitor’s page and click submit to get a % comparison on how similar the two pages are. Now this is just an indicator and I’m certain Google’s algorithms are far more sophisticated. But if I’m concerned about a particular article, I try to rewrite it until it is below 20% (25% at most).
Now, you might be wondering how you can write unique content for something like “vinyl windows” when there are so many window companies in the world. Well, fortunately for small business owners, you really only need concern yourself with your local competitors. And generally, they only have a page or two of content for you to compare to so it’s not that big of a deal. The best advice that I can give aspiring DIY SEO’ers is to just start with a blank page and write about what you know. The more you can write on your own without looking at a reference, the more likely you are to produce a unique piece of content.
Lastly, frequency. This is simple, set a goal and stick to it. I’m an MBA student right now so I can’t afford to much time on blogging so my target is an article a week. If you have lots of small bits of knowledge, you might want to write several shorter articles. Professional bloggers write multiple articles each day often from mobile devices. Whatever your frequency is, stick to it. This will give Google an indication of how often your site changes and will set the frequency that Google bots return to your site and index your content.
So keep it unique and frequent and you’re well on your way.