July 17, 2007
There are basically three types of content you can use for your site. Fluff, leased, or custom. All three have their pros and cons, but which would work best for ranking well with Google and the other major engines? Let’s first explore the definitions of this varied content:
Fluff: Written cheaply by non-native-speaking writers, and used to fill up a web site with inexpensive content.
Leased:Identical articles that are well-researched and written, but sold to numerous web sites.
Custom: Well-researched, authoritative content that is tailored specifically to meet the needs of you and your business.
Fluff content is fine for businesses just starting out. It helps you to at least get a place in the race to the top of the search engines, but for long-lasting results, fluff just won’t cut it. The wording is often choppy, incoherent, and doesn’t achieve your primary goal which is customer conversion. Also, if the content of your site is sloppy, it will not instill confidence in a potential customer.
Leased content works well because it is professionally written, topical, and easy to find.
Search engine algorithms favor content that has keywords and phrases that are strategically placed but those words and phrases must also be imbedded in text that is lean and carefully crafted for consistent results.
The drawback of leased content is that it can be found in a wide variety of other websites and cannot meet the unique needs of your business or specifically target the audience that you want to attract.
Custom ContentCustom content is content that has been professionally crafted to feature the keywords and phrases that you and an SEO expert have chosen to rank well with search engines and attract your target audience. The strengths of custom content are:
You can consult a copywriting firm to construct your content exactly the way that you want it to convey the unique products and services that your business offers and organically build the rank of your site which leads to lasting results.
Custom content will engage the reader and invite them to read further which entices them to linger at your site and explore the other content.
Custom content immediately lends legitimacy and lasting brand recognition to your site because discerning readers can see that you have taken the extra steps to tailor your message specifically to them.
Web statistics consistently suggest that the best way to earn placement on that key first page of search results and retain your ranking is customized content.
As search engine bots become more and more sophisticated, keyword stuffing and other gimmicks get sniffed out and dismissed because they do not offer the reader any rewards for investing their time.
So, how do I hire a quality content writer? Sure, anyone can write and practice keyword stuffing. You see it on hundreds of sites everyday, full of fluff-content that was written cheaply, and reads cheaply. Even the most basic conventions of writing are abandoned, simply to reach a high word count. Because of this, readers are having a hard time finding good, quality content. They want information, not gobbledygook.
Ask for Samples
The first rule in hiring a good content writer is reviewing their work. Ask for writing samples, as well as references. They should know the basic conventions of writing, and excel in creating informative, easy-to-read content that people will understanding.
Work EthicGood content writers, like any job, should also have a good work ethic. Meaning, they respond quickly to emails, meet deadlines, and keep in constant communication with the customer. People that are conscientious and prompt in their correspondence are likely to be quick and efficient in their work. This reduces the chances of procrastination as well. A good content writer will use the entire time to work on an assignment and produce good, thorough copy, while a sloppy or lazy writer will wait until the last moment and squeak in an unpolished product right before the deadline.
You Get What You Pay ForAs the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” There are plenty of desperate writers out there that will work for peanuts, but it is an investment to hire a more proficient writer at a higher rate, and you will have much better results on your investment. If you need quick, cheap content, then there are plenty of people willing to produce it. But again, if it is written cheaply, it will read cheaply.
Knowing the AudienceA good content writer should also have a feel for their audience. Any good writer can complete an assignment, but someone that is in tune with their audience can connect with readers much better by tailoring their copy specifically to them. A sympathetic writer should be able to imagine a piece of writing from the audience’s perspective and detect what that reader wants or needs from it. This comes from in-depth interviews with the client, and really learning what message they want to convey to their readers.
TrustworthyLastly, a good content writer should be trustworthy. While representing a company or employer, a writer must be privy to certain information in order to write effectively. Make sure the writer you are hiring has a good business ethic and won’t turn his back on you or exploit your ideas one he is gone. Although it is possible to work with someone and still withhold sensitive business tactics or information, it is much easier to work with someone that can be trusted in an open correspondence. And even if you do trust the writer, it is always smart to get a signed contract.
Author: Devin Hansen is the owner of SEO Copywriters, a web-content development company based in