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Shoddy Content Targeted by Syndicators, SEO Marketers - and Google

Content churned out - and then syndicated - by such companies as Demand Media or Associated Content, aka content mills, is of growing concern to the Internet Content Syndication Council. This group is worried about diminishing standards and are considering establishing standards or possibly an accreditation process to keep quality at a certain level, according to Media Week.

The concern is that these content mills are producing low quality articles that are link based, specifically designed to score high on search, explained Tim Duncan, the ICSC's new executive director.Currently officials from the council - a group that includes such members as Procter & Gamble, Reuters and The Tribune Company - are circulating a document that could become the official doctrine on online content syndication, Media Week reported.  Some members within the organization are pushing Google to tweak its algorithm to give more weight to content quality in its search results.

Mayday Update

As it happens Google is paying attention to this issue, Nick Usborne explained in a recent post on his blog.  Companies have learned that adding content to their websites essentially means they can optimize each page for a specific, long tail keyword "and make out like a bandit." Adding the thousands of new pages necessary for this strategy, though, costs a fortune in labor costs - which is where the lure of low quality content comes in.

"Google knows the games marketers play," Usborne wrote. "And their latest update, the Mayday update, directly addresses the issue of bulk, low-quality, long tail content pages." He pointed to comments made by Googler Matt Cutts: "This is an algorithmic change in Google, looking for higher quality sites to surface for long tail queries. It went through vigorous testing and isn’t going to be rolled back."

Other reasons SEO marketers should avoid low-quality content, according to Usborne:

  • Low quality content doesn’t get shared. “Social media may seem to be chaotic, and often generates some fairly frivolous content of its own. But here's one thing you need to understand: Every person using social media is an editor. They will read your content and then decide whether or not it is worth sharing."
  • Low quality content damages your brand."Why create hundreds of pages of long tail content, attract thousands of visitors to your site, and then leave them feeling disappointed? That’s just a fast way to shoot yourself in the foot."

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