There’s nothing better than unveiling a brand new website redesign to your customers. One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to get business is to get a great website from a web design and development firm. Web designers often include sections for company blogs, resource articles, or other helpful information.
Website builders or marketers trying to extend the value of their services often fill these sections with starter content, which may be generic stock or PLR articles. In places like South Florida, it’s unfortunately very common to even see companies lift articles from other websites and place them on your site. Stock content exists for all but some of the most specific industries (for example, I doubt we could find stock articles on superyacht crew recruitment if we tried). It seems to be most common in fields like real estate, healthcare, optometry, dentistry, and so on.
Say you’re looking to charter a boat in Sunny Isles Beach for a fishing trip. You visit one local company’s website and again see exactly 5 articles in the company blog with titles like:
(Inspired by actual stock article titles that just came up in a search for yacht charters)
- Alaska Boat Chartering: See The Glaciers and the Seals from Your Dream Boat
- The Vacation of a Lifetime: Take a Celebrity Cruise with Richard Lewis
- Ryan or Patek? Buying Your Waterproof Luxury Watch Before the Real Estate Bubble Bursts*
- Hawaii Sailboat Charters: Enjoy A Tropical Vacation In Paradise
- How to Live on a Cruise Ship for The Rest of Your Life
*As an added negative, it seems like most of this generic content was written in the very early 2000s (or earlier) when this tactic still sort of worked. Don’t be surprised if you see a title like “How to Set Your AOL Homepage to Pets.com.”
If this kind of endlessly re-used content hadn’t been a completely ineffective (and even extremely damaging) strategy for increasing search engine rankings for years now, you might say, so what? We need something to put in our blog, and these articles do sort of have to do with the industry.
Well, there’s a massive gap in quality between original content and PLR articles, so for the purposes of this article we’ll assume the quality isn’t a concern. It IS of course, but some people just don’t care about the quality of blog content. While this kind of bland, unreadable content may even pertain vaguely to your business and, in rare cases, actually be hypothetically useful to one or two people, it will always seem a bit off. Much worse than that, this type of content can be an SEO killer for your website.
For starters, stock content isn’t original. As you may have heard, the crawlers that search engines like Google or Yahoo use will notice the duplicate content on your site and may penalize you. With exceptions, your page will generally rank lower in the search results than pages where the duplicate content appeared earlier. (Of course, it’s unlikely anyone selling pre-used content will inform you of that.)
If you’re a company that provides a service that relies on customers finding your website, that can mean a huge loss in revenues. If a customer types in a search term and your blog article is listed on page 57 after 500 other copies of the same article that were put online earlier, it’s safe to say that they probably won’t find you.
If customers can’t find your page, they can’t find your business. If they can’t find your business, they can’t buy your products or your services. That means you won’t be making money. That’s bad. Something as innocent as using white label blog content can really ruin your overall search optimization and become the downfall of your business.
Another problem with stock blog content is that it’s uninteresting for your customers. Duplicate content lacks the personality and appeal of an original piece. Customers won’t relate to it like they would if it were tailored specifically for them. Nobody knows your customers as well as you do, so it’s important for you to make sure your content is interesting and appealing to them.
If visitors aren’t interested in your content, they will leave, increasing your bounce rate and crashing your page rank. You want visitors to spend time on your site, browsing what content you have and signaling to search engines that they found your site valuable. This will help improve your SEO.
It’s Not Specific
Regardless of what product or service you sell, you need search engine marketing for customers to find you. You want your content to work with your search optimization plan. It should have specific keywords in it that will help search engines direct the right type of traffic to your site. Generic content simply doesn’t do that. For example, if you sell luxury sunglasses and have generic content regarding eyewear, you may get people visiting your site that are looking for prescription lenses or safety glasses instead of just people looking for sparkling, palladium-rimmed fashion sunglasses.
Fortunately, this woman was able to find them elsewhere, but you get my point.
If you really want to improve your SEO and drive up sales, the way to do it is with unique content. Carefully planned, written and structured articles and descriptions will help search engines drive the right type of traffic to your site. If someone is searching for the items you sell and your keywords mention those specific items, they’re more likely to make a purchase.
The bottom line is that white label or stock content will kill your SEO. Don’t let your website be brought down by poorly written and managed content before it even gets off the ground. Instead, work to create engaging, original content that you can insert keywords into that target a specific audience. That way, you’ll have higher quality visitors that are more likely to make a purchase.
If you’re not much of a writer yourself, talk to your web designer about providing original articles for your new blog – but make sure they’re really original. You may also want to consult with your web company about content marketing and SEO services, to essentially put your company’s web marketing efforts on autopilot while you focus on your business.