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Creating Unique Content: Do It Before Someone Else Does
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Blogging... video.... press releases.... articles, user reviews, the list goes on and on. All methods of creating fresh, unique content for your website. So why is it that so many site owners or site managers are hesitant to create new content for their websites?

A lot of the time I guess that it comes down to resources. Too little time, too little money and not enough people. However I'm not so sure about this. I mean after all, understanding the importance of content, site owners can get pretty creative when it comes to content development. These "resource issue myths"can easily be dealt with, with a little ingenuity.

Content Creation Resource Myths

Many people that I have this discussion with usually revert back to one of three options as to why they cannot create new content.
  1. Lack of Time -people are busy and over-worked. I get that, but there are ways to overcome this. Have people create the content for you. How you ask? Well lots of site's do this. In fact sites like Amazon.com does this fairly well. Let's say I was looking to purchase the new Chickenfoot album (well not so new as I purchased it in June when it was released) and I go to Amazon and search for "chickenfoot" I then click on their CD and see that there are 232 customer reviews for the album and that the album has a four star rating. By allowing users to review products, Amazon in essence has created a mechanism for adding unique content to their site. The only time it took was the original time that it took for them to add this feature to the site. Sure there might be the odd maintenance of the feature that needs to be addressed, but frankly the amount of time needed to create this content is minimal.

  2. Lack of Money - creating content does not have to cost a lot. We have already mentioned leveraging user generated content which is pretty much free. How about setting up a blog for your site? Heck this involves a little time, but blogging software is free (wordpress, blogger are a couple of free platforms that come to mind). Sure you will need someone to blog, but as with so many companies out there a shortage of bloggers should not be too hard to find within your organization. The end results are worth it. Informative blog posts can be a great way of adding unique content to your site.

  3. Lack of People (in-house) - quite often your organization may simply not have enough resources internally to create fresh, new content. Well, a great option that your can leverage is outsourcing to copywriters. Surprisingly this can be quite cost effective depending on the type of content that you are looking to create. Some copywriters charge on a per page or per word basis, but usually are quite flexible depending on your content needs. Depending on these needs this could be quite affordable. If you are a larger company with a more flexible budget, you have even have the option of hiring an SEO copywriter or two. Their sole purpose is to create useful, unique and informative content for your web properties.
Frankly those that "Get It" understand that to do well in the online world and in Search, content is a necessity. That is unique content is a necessity. All you e-commerce site owners/managers take note. Your web properties will always perform better if they feature unique content. Sites that pull the same content from the same database may have limited success, but let's be honest, they are not going to perform as well as they should given that they have multiple touch points (web sites) with their audience. If you are an e-commerce site and you have multiple web properties with different pages that sell the same products and feature pages with the same content, at the end of the day chances are Google and the other Search engines will only serve up one "version" to the users. Only one of the sources is going to be treated as the authority. Furthermore, if this content is syndicated content that was sent to you from a vendor or supplier, how do you expect to gain visibility in the search engine results? Have you thought about how many other sites may be using this exact same content on their websites?

Producing Unique Content = Online Success

I happen to work in the search marketing industry. I specialize in organic search (aka SEO aka natural search optimization). I have yet to see a client who has created unique, well-optimized content on their website not experience a lift in their online marketing efforts. From traffic increases that have had a direct impact on ROI to direct increases in revenue from this unique content, producing unique content leads to online success.

Unique content development + on-page optimization + link relevancy = SEO success

Google Search results can be hyper-competitive. So why, if you regurgitate the same content that exists somewhere else, would Google place you in the prime real estate of a results page? Fact is they won't and if they make the mistake and do, you may not be found in this prime real estate for long. Google is looking to crawl and index information. Information that is useful, unique and relevant. No more, no less. So why on earth would you not take the opportunity to create unique content?

Afraid of the Dark?

I still scratch my head when someone asks me about avoiding duplicate content? The answer is simple: Make your content unique! It's like a child who is afraid of the dark. Perhaps its fear of the unknown or maybe it is just because we are accustomed to light. Why are we afraid to create unique content? Is it because we're accustomed to not listening to the needs of our audience? Is it because we have a fear of the unknown or return that we will receive?

Now I understand that due to technical issues and things such as automation, that sometimes we're not even aware that duplicate content is being created, the fact of the matter is with a little due diligence you should have a good idea of how your content is being produced and if it is being syndicated etc. I recently wrote a piece on making sense of the duplicate content myths, and how to deal with duplicate content. The easiest way? Create unique content. Don't argue about it, don't make excuses, just do it.

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posted by Jody @ Thursday, September 24, 2009  
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