Changes to search engine algorithms and new ways of using mobile devices are changing the face of content marketing, but not all content buyers have moved with the evolving state of the industry. They’re relying on old data and misconceptions. You’ve probably seen the results a few times – sites that look as though they came from 1997, feature arid writing or have keywords crammed into every available space. Ensure your content stays fresh and current by avoiding these common mistakes.
Writing Their Own Content
Writing isn’t an arcane skill. Everyone learns how to do it, many content buyers reason, so why not skip the professional treatment and create blogs and newsletters in-house? The problem is that the opposite of professional writing isn’t almost-professional writing, and amateur writing isn’t what you want to show your customers.
Even if you’re a naturally talented writer who’s willing to track down picky comma rules, turning out professional-quality business content will take you longer than it takes your writing team. Is your time best spent creating content, or are you better served by coming up with the ideas behind it? Delegate your content writing to professional writers and spend your time building your business.
Failing to Budget for Quality Content Writing
Quality content is vital to a site’s success. While you can find inexpensive content writing services, you typically get what you pay for. Writers who work for a few dollars an article have to fly through their work to make a living wage. If they’re churning out content at the rate of four or five 500-word articles an hour, how much time do they have to proofread or write engaging prose? Paying far below market prices for writing is a false economy; content buyers who go this route often wind up paying someone else to fix the fluff that fills their pages.
In their infancy, search engines were naive. If a site contained hot keywords that drew millions of hits, Google trusted the site’s relevance and bumped it up the ratings accordingly. It didn’t take long for unscrupulous site owners and article marketers to take advantage of their naivete, packing nonsense words around high-volume search terms to draw massive page views.
Keyword stuffing has been dead for years, but content buyers don’t always know that. Some are still convinced that keyword counts of 10 to 15 percent are a good thing and are unaware that search engines discard connecting words, leading to awkward grammar and unreadable content. Not only will search engines downrank these sites into oblivion, they’ll also drive off potential customers who stumble across them.
At the opposite end of the spectrum from keyword stuffers are content buyers who ignore keywords altogether. It’s still important to use keywords; they’re a staple of SEO writing. However, they shouldn’t comprise more than 2 or 3 percent of your content. By weaving keywords into text naturally and surrounding them with related phrases, a business content writer can appeal to human readers and search engines’ crawlers alike.
Search engines look for high-value sites, and that starts with well-chosen keywords supported with semantically relevant terms. Whether you give your content writers a list of keywords or supply them with general concepts, they should be a part of your content strategy.
Assuming Readers Don’t Care
Why are those commas important? Does it really make a difference if the content confuses “your” and “you’re” occasionally? Just ask Mitt Romney after his “Amercia” gaffe. If your content isn’t impeccable, you’ll lose some readers. If it’s deeply flawed, you’ll lose most of them. Your readers absolutely care about the writing on your site; if the content is poorly written, though, they may take away the message that you don’t care.
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