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Google is at it again, issuing warnings as per usual…but this one is good if you’re a company who wants to be found online using white hat SEO tactics. The search engine’s latest news is a warning against thin or scraped content that doesn’t add significant value to the user.
Chris Nelson on the Google search quality team said that affiliates that produce thin content or use scraped content and little to no value on their website may get a penalty for defying Google’s quality guidelines. You can learn more on the Google Webmaster blog.
But What Does This Have to Do With Me?
That’s a fair question. Perhaps you don’t have an affiliate website or run a spammy video website. Maybe you’re a home services company and you simply want to rank better on Google so you can get more leads. Maybe you’ve even worked with an SEO company before and weren’t happy with their services.
And that’s where this blog post can come in handy! Perhaps your former SEO company didn’t exactly use the most ethical of methods. Or maybe you have a 5-page website with a short paragraph of unoriginal content on each page. Either of those sound familiar? Keep reading! But first…
Value-Driven Content Marketing
Today’s SEO or content marketing world is largely influenced by value. Does your website provide significant value to a user who lands on it? If not, you aren’t likely to rank well on Google (and other search engines) and won’t get many leads from the web. So if you have thin or scraped content on your website, it’s in your best interest to fix the situation ASAP.
What Is Thin Content?
Let me quote Search Engine Watch to answer this. In general, thin content means “non-original content found in your website. It can be something like product descriptions that are taken from a feed that can be found on many other sites, or can simply be a page that has a little content on it other than things like the navigation…”
What Is Scraped Content?
Scraped content simply refers to content that is taken from another website or source. And don’t think you won’t get penalized if the content is taken from a high-quality source rather than a low-quality, spammy site. Scraped content is scraped content. Google doesn’t care where it’s from—if it’s copied, it doesn’t provide real value to users.
You could be penalized if:
- You have unoriginal/copied content on your website: This isn’t to say you have been involved in black hat SEO tactics like content scraping. But maybe your last SEO company did and you have a Google penalty on your hands. Perhaps they built spammy links and used content from other sources, modifying it slightly by swapping out a few words with synonyms. Still a no-no! Google has gotten smarter (scary for some people, good for others—you know which category you fall into), and we all have to adapt.
- You have very little content on your website: Maybe you built a beautiful new website three months ago and wrote some content and are wondering why it’s not ranking. Did you write 100 words of content on every page and call it day? Chances are, it doesn’t provide substantial value and isn’t ranking well for that reason.
Here you can see Matt Cutts talk about different forms of thin content in Google’s eyes:
Add Value & Never Worry About Google Warnings Again
It all goes back to VALUE. Success with content marketing today means valuable content.
Take a look at the content on your website and put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. If they are looking for furnace repair and all you have is a general furnace page—150 words with just a sentence about how you repair furnaces—this doesn’t provide real value. Instead, someone is more likely to find useful a longer page with information on the different types of furnaces you repair, the signs of a furnace that needs to be repaired, and why they should choose your company (and even better would be current coupons/specials you are offering for furnace service).
But don’t worry, it’s not too late if you’ve already received a penalty from Google. Sure, it’s stressful, but don’t lose all hope. You can submit a reconsideration request—and remember that you have us too.
Here at Blue Corona, we’ve helped companies recover from penalties, so contact us today if you need help starting your content marketing on a clean slate. This is far from the last Google warning, but with the right SEO company, you can worry solely about running your business and we’ll deal with the great force that is Google!
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About The Author: Alanna is the Quality Assurance Manager in Blue Corona's Maryland office. When she's not triple-checking websites and content for errors and consistency, you can find her at the gym with her twin sister or urban exploring with her husband.
View more blogs by Alanna Potosky