The phrase “content is king” is always drilled into anybody who goes about building a website but, while most website owners are aware of the importance of text-based content throughout their website, not so many have a strong understanding of how to go about elevating their content to such echelons of royalty.
Creating content requires a deal of careful thought and shrewd research, but even this can be let down by the sort of simple mistakes that web-addicts see time and time again. Here are five of the most common (and most avoidable) content marketing mistakes I tend to see in online writing.
1. Content duplication and duplication of content
When adding content to a site, it’s easy to fall into the trap of putting quantity ahead of quality. You’re sure that you’ve heard before that content-rich sites get the thumbs up from search engines, so why not add a bit in here, the same bit there, tweak a word or two and add it to the home page, and add the same thing again next week? Maybe I could save myself even more time by just lifting articles off someone else’s site and putting them on mine. After all, Google will see that I’m always adding content, so I can sit back and watch my site shoot up its results pages, right?
Wrong. By adding too much content with nothing new to say, you are effectively spamming up your own site single-handedly. Google hates duplicate content and deems it a ‘black hat’ SEO technique, which is why the search engine seeks to combat it through its Penguin algorithm updates.
Think of it from a human perspective as well as a search engine one, though. Would you want to read through a website that has nothing new to say and keeps repeating itself? It’s hardly the way to engage with visitors and keep them coming back to your site.
2. Speling misstayks and badd grammer
If you grimaced at that subheading, you’re talking my language and Google’s too. Nothing suggests laziness more than poor grammar and inaccurate spelling, and it will turn the search engines away as much as it will the humans who stumble upon your site.
Having slaved over your content and worked hard to keep it original, interesting and relevant to your site, don’t tarnish your efforts by not proofreading your work. We don’t always spot our own mistakes, so it can be wise to get a second pair of eyes to read through your content. Indeed, many SEO companies and content providers employ trained editors to weed out grammatical eyesores in otherwise top-notch content.
When typing out material for your site, it’s a good idea to do it in a word processing program like Microsoft Word first – as its red squiggly lines will point out any obvious spelling or grammar goofs – then copy and paste it onto your site. Don’t follow Word’s spellcheck advice too religiously though, as it can get easily confused. Don’t be afraid to use trusty old Google to make sure your spelling or wording of a phrase is correct.
3. My site is great because it’s self-promotional
No it isn’t. People haven’t visited your site to be stooges to advertising – they want to see interesting content that will be updated on a regular basis.
Of course, if your website is being used for business, your ultimate aim is to sell your products or services, but you don’t need to be overtly ‘salesy’. You’ve already attracted the traffic, so now you need to see if you can keep it there with the sort of fresh, trustworthy content that will keep users coming back
4. Keyword overuse, keyword stuffing, keyword shoehorning, and keyword misuse
Keywords, if chosen carefully and used intelligently, can be an excellent way to attract traffic to your site – and the right areas of it – while keeping the tone just right. Misusing them, however, will create unwieldy pieces that are not worth reading, and Google Penguin will flap its flipper of disapproval at your site as well.
Clumsy shoehorning of keywords into an inappropriate piece of writing has the same effect – it makes the actual motive of what you are writing seem very transparent.
5. Egregious examples of circumlocution and sesquipedalian language
There should be no need to dumb down your writing, but if it has readers reaching for a dictionary again and again or Googling every word for its definition (like that subheading probably did), it’s soon going to become a chore to read.
Again, this comes down to not engaging with your readers or potential customers. You should always strive to talk to your readers on their level, therefore refraining from jargon or overly complex language.
All in all, these are simple suggestions, but they can make all the difference as to how well a site ranks and how effectively it retains its visitors. A previously published post on developing actionable content marketing plans can be useful as well.