Once upon a time, SEO copywriting was all about stuffing in as many keywords as possible and hoping the crawlers got confused and posted terrible content with lots of ads high on the search results pages of their particular search engine.
Today, guidelines say that the key to good SEO copywriting is well-produced content that creates an excellent user experience. This is, in fact, the Holy Grail of all modern content marketing.
Every so often, though, really bad content still gets through and manages to rank really well.
What is Content Marketing?
Digital marketing experts spend a great deal of their time dealing with content marketing, but more traditional advertisers may not have a lot of experience with the concept. It’s a simple one. Basically, content marketing is the creation of content meant to sell indirectly. It may establish authority on a particular topic or be meant to engage and hold the attention of an audience over the long term.
Without content marketing, you’d have nothing to share on social, no authoritative YouTube content, no blogs like this one. Content is designed to get your audience’s attention in a very non-threatening way and then create a connection that lasts. If your company can wait out the sometimes frustrating eight to 12 months that many content marketing campaigns take to show real results, content marketing can prove to have a good return on investment, too.
Five Examples of What Not To Do
There are several factors taken into consideration as the Google search results page is being compiled.
Things like high quality backlinks, well written content, lots of visitors and even the noise inside of meta tags help Google figure out how and where to stick these pages. The problem is that sometimes Google still gets it wrong.
Even though these types of content, under particular circumstances, may rank well, they’re terrible and absolutely needs to be eliminated. Future Google updates are likely to do just that, but for now we still point and boggle. Let’s do that right now.
Here are five examples of terrible content that are somehow still ranking:
#1. The Ten Year Old Trends Piece
When a user is out searching for something like “marketing trends” and gets “3 Top Marketing Trends for Small Business in 2009,” it’s hard to not wonder how this thing slid through all the checks that are made to keep old, useless content out of the SERP. There’s no value in this content. In fact, it needs to get off the Internet entirely to free up space for more useful articles.
#2. Poor Quality Content
Google absolutely states that the best content will rise to the top, so what’s up with the occasional bit of poor quality content that ranks? You’ll know this when you see it. It’s largely scraped or barely rewritten content from another site or worse, it’s content that doesn’t remotely match the headline that got you to click in the first place. Even if there are some original thoughts included, you may find these pieces hard to read because of poorly written content riddled with errors.
#3. Content with No Thought to Design
Footnotes are great for academia, but they have no place on the web. Some sites have chosen to do things like place small footnotes where indicated, then redirecting the user to the bottom of the page again and again. Other sites are nothing but giant gray blobs of text, a scenario just as difficult to deal with. Online content should be designed to be skimmable, with headers, lists and other tricks that give readers access to the information they want right away.
#4. Sites Overloaded with Banner Ads
Banner ads can be useful and a good way for shoppers to find items or services they need. However, there’s a fine line between serving up a banner ad and serving up all the banner ads that will fit on a screen. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter how good the content is behind this kind of monetized site, the user experience is destroyed by all the noise and pages are slowed to a crawl trying to load all those banners.
#5. Rats’ Nests of Pop-Ups and Irrelevant Content
When put together properly, a garbage site can rank for keywords that are unrelated to the content it contains. This is often obscured by a gauntlet of pop-ups and locked content that a user has to navigate before they even find out that they’re not looking at anything useful. Why these sites still rank at all is a bit of a mystery.
Don’t take this list as encouraging these terrible content types. Instead, treat it like a warning. For whatever reason, they rank well, meaning your sites have to fight them for positioning. Unlike well designed SEO copywriting, though, these sites will find themselves suddenly and drastically removed from SERP when Google’s next tweak (or the one after that) finally patches the hole that’s letting them get away with their digital assaults. Your high quality content, on the other hand, will continue to rank, continue to drive traffic and all without skipping a beat.