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There was a time when the search engines rewarded content of all types. If a website syndicated content from elsewhere on the web and exposed it to their audience, it wasn’t as good as unique content but at least it didn’t hurt. Some of the content would be de-indexed as duplicate but the overall health of the domain itself was not harmed.
Today, it’s harmful. Websites that are taking a lot of content from others and posting it on their own websites, even if they link to the original source, are finding that their overall rankings are dropping as a result. It’s one of many changes in the string of content attacks Google has been building upon ever since introducing the first variation of Panda back in February, 2011.
Some have gone to “spinning” content as an alternative. In spinning, content is taken and many of the individual words are changed in an effort to beat Google’s duplicate content filter. This worked for a little while and is still somewhat effective today but Google has come out against spinning in several public statements. It, too, is dying.
With Google’s focus on quality being hammered into us from all sides, it’s clear that their orchestrating a shift towards real content. This is a challenge for many businesses who aren’t really journalists and do not have the time to do the research necessary to create strong content. The alternative: commentary.
Thankfully, humans are loaded with opinions. The internet is a venue through which opinions can be shared. Share yours. It can be difficult to pick a topic that’s relevant to your industry and write an article about something, but it’s easier if the research and writing are already done for us, leaving our role as one of reaction rather than investigation.
The process is pretty simple. Read an article or two that pertains to your industry, then respond to it. For example, you may see an article on Smart Planet about how Ford and GM are opening their APIs to third-party developers. A car dealer probably doesn’t want to do the research about the developments, but they don’t have to. They just have to read the article and respond to it from their own perspective within the industry.
The research has already been done. The news has already been stated. Nobody will go to a car dealer’s website to read the news, but they may be interested in seeing the response about the development from the perspective of those who will be affected, in this case a car dealer embedded in the automotive industry.
This gives websites the ability to add value and participate in the conversation without having to do the technical research surrounding the news itself. It makes bringing valuable content to the table a much easier process and allows businesses to focus on what they know and what they have time to do rather than branching out and becoming the content researchers.
There is plenty out there on any topic through which a business can add valuable commentary. You don’t have to break the news to be valuable in the eyes of both visitors and search engines. You just have to have a unique perspective.