The bad content trap

Bad content is everywhere, and you don’t always know it when you see it. Sometimes it is disguised as expert advice, but when you read closely you realize it’s little more than copy and pasted content compiled from other sources. Sometimes you get a few lines into a piece and start to notice the tell-tale signs of computer generated or non-native speech. Sometimes, however, it’s so obvious that you can immediately dismiss the search result and move on.

When you are seeking help for a medical issue or information about an event in history, this kind of bad content is an inconvenience. It can also lead you down the wrong path if you’re trying to learn something new or solve a problem. This makes it insidious enough since it takes the “information” out of the “Information Super Highway.”

If you happen to be a business owner that is utilizing this type of content, you’re  exposing yourself to a whole range of issues as well as contributing to the overall problem. Let’s look at what bad content is and how it is hurting your bottom line.

What is bad content?

We will start by defining the problem. Bad content isn’t content with a word misspelled or odd formatting or even some grammar issues. You can find great content with a typo or coma out of place. Truly bad content is content that falls into one or more of the following categories:

  • Content that doesn’t match the purpose of the page it is found on.
  • Content that is computer generated. (Read my post on the signs of this type of content.)
  • Content that clearly written by non-native speakers unless the author is a known authority over the topic.
  • Content that is highly repetitively, saying the same thing over and over in slightly different ways.
  • Content that overuses keywords in an obvious attempt to game search engines.

What harm can come from using bad content?

Bad content on your website undermines your business in many ways. When you consider that the point of your website is to make a great impression and establish you as an expert in your field, the problem becomes apparent. Having bad content makes you look unprofessional and casts a shadow on the work you do. The catch here is that people don’t have to understand the technicalities of why content is bad, it’s something most people will know intuitively. So having poorly written, repetitively and potentially inaccurate content can cost you clients.

A larger problem can come from bad content as well, and it’s a hard one to overcome. Google doesn’t like bad content, in fact it can penalize you by removing you from search results if it sees suspect content on your site. When Google trolls the web to index pages it looks for problematic content like an overabundance of keywords, repetitive content or content that is duplicated on other pages. Your goal is to never set off any red flags and remain highly visible.

How can you avoid bad content?

So now that we’ve gone over the bad stuff, I have some good news for you. It is very easy to avoid bad content. The most simple way to do this is to write unique content for your site. From the home page to the contact page, everything should be completely unique to you. You don’t have to be a professional writer to create content for yourself, all you really need is an understanding of basic grammar.

If you’re truly unable to create your content consider hiring a professional writer. This means a person that can write directly for you, not a content house that puts out generic copy for cheap or a marketing firm that writes the same tired copy for every client. The great news here is that the content doesn’t have to be amazing, it simply needs to be uniquely made for you.

There you have it, everything you need to know to avoid the bad content trap. With just a little work you can have a site that showcases your skills and helps you stand out among your competitors.