Is Content Curation Helping or Hurting Your Website’s SEO?

Given constraints on budget, time, and staff, it may not always be possible to create original material for your website. In these cases, it may be necessary to supplement your existing content with relevant information gathered from around the web. When organized and presented in a way that is beneficial to your visitors, this process is known as content curation. To many people looking for higher placement on search engine results pages (SERPs), content curation may seem like a quick, easy, and cheap fix. However, duplicate and unoriginal content has become problematic to some sites, and in some cases it has even affected their visibility on results pages. Though curation can be beneficial to your website, it is important to know which content is helping your SEO and which content is hurting it.

Content curation can be a very risky practice. Recently, some webmasters have been receiving thin content warnings from Google , indicating the information on the page is irrelevant or insubstantial. A subset of thin content is known as thin syndication, whereby articles from one site – whether found through search engines or published using an RSS feed – are published on another site. This brand of thin content is especially prone to receiving warnings, as the information is unoriginal and provides little to no value to SEO.

Recently, Matt Cutts, head of the Webspam team at Google, addressed the issue of thin content by stating that duplicate press releases and news articles should be removed from your site. By comparing a site with high publishing quality, such as The New York Times, to a poor quality site, Cutts stressed the importance of providing website visitors with unique content no one else has access to. Even if everything on a website is high quality, poor content does the site no good, as this information is readily accessible to everyone elsewhere.

If you have received this warning from Google, you will need to fix the issue before achieving success in their search results. The best way to do this is to remove the unoriginal content and fill those empty pages with content that will add value to your site and enhance your users’ visits. You have experience and opinions that others would find more useful than any copied content from the Internet. By drawing on your own insights, you can create unique content that brings users back to your site time and time again. Other ideas for generating new content include relaying customer experiences, sharing expert reviews, filming how-to videos, and promoting special events.

“It goes back to the sort of thing where we’re looking for original content, original research, original insight – something that would make the site compelling, something that would make it so that users really enjoy the site: they’d bookmark it; they’d tell their friends about it; they’d come back to it; they’d really enjoy the site,” Cutts has said, to show that Google isn’t targeting sites individually, but rather is working to improve its main product – search results.

So while you may have realized content curation is fast and simple, so has Google. In the end, the best way to guarantee success in SERPs and success for your site is to provide fresh, high-quality content, which will get noticed both by users and by Google.

- Jamie Judson, SEO Coordinator


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