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The Google algorithm used to reward online marketers for posting lots of short, poorly written articles on their website; “content mills” sprang up to meet the demand.

How bad are those content mill writers working for as little as $15 per article? I once made the mistake of hiring one to write an article on careers in chemistry for one of my websites.

I will never forget the laugh her first sentence gave me: “Chemistry is a good career for people who are fond of atoms.” She also wrote, “To have a career in chemistry, one should study chemistry in college.” Duh.

But things have changed. Lately Copyblogger.com and Marketingprofs.com have been writing about how Google now penalizes marketers for these sorry articles and rewards them for quality content with higher search engine rankings.

That’s good news for good content writers, whose ability to write original and engaging content will now be more valued by the marketplace. And it’s good news for online marketers that provide their visitors with value instead of junk in their articles.

How much quality content should you post on your website? The more good articles you have, the better.

The problem for Internet marketers is that creating a large volume of quality articles is a lot of work and takes a lot of time.

When I first put up my website, I had no articles, and I dreaded the labor ahead of me in coming up with articles.

Then I realized that I had written dozens of articles on marketing in the 1980s for Business Marketing, Direct Marketing, and other marketing publications…and these had never been posted on the web anywhere!

I immediately wondered whether I still had hard copies of the articles. I didn’t have electronic copies since I had changed from a CPM to an MS-DOS computer years ago.

I went downstairs to my basement archives. The originals of all the articles were in a bottom drawer in a file cabinet. But to my dismay, I found that Humphrey, our old cat who had a kidney problem, had peed all over the drawer. And the articles were covered with a foul-smelling yellow powder.

I put on dishwashing gloves, picked the articles out of the drawer with a tweezers, photocopied them, scanned the clean copies into Word, and posted the Word files on my website, where they now reside for your reading pleasure; of course there is no charge to read or download them.

Most visitors to my site who read these articles do not know they were once drenched in feline urine!

If you are just starting out and don’t have a library of cat-pee-covered articles already written, how do you ramp up the content on your website?

My suggestion is that you find a venue where you are required to produce articles on a regular basis.

Be sure to retain the rights to your articles so you can post them on your website without restriction. Type “First rights only” in the upper left corner of the first page of every article you submit.

Here are a few options for creating an article-generating machine:

1 – Write a blog and post an article a week on it—at least 300 words.

2 – Write a column for a trade magazine or newsletter. I write a regular column on B2B marketing for Target Marketing magazine, and post the articles on my site once Target has published them. My column runs 1,000 words.

3 – Write a weekly article for distribution to subscribers to your e-list. Then post those messages in an article archive on your site. Length typically ranges from 400 to 750 words.

Suggestions #1-3 above will force you to create content on a regular basis, with no slacking in your production. It will become a habit and in one year, you’ll have anywhere from a dozen to as many as 50 articles to post on your site.

On the other hand, I find that if you don’t have an outlet that requires regular articles from you, you will never get around to writing any or posting them on your site and your Google ranking will suffer as a result.

Don’t merely rewrite other people’s articles and post them on your site. Make your content original, based on your own activities and results.

Bob Bly is the author of “World’s Best Copywriting Secrets” and has written copy for more than 100 companies including IBM, Boardroom, Medical Economics and AT&T. He is the author of more than 75 books and a columnist for Target Marketing, Early To Rise and The Writer. McGraw-Hill calls him “America’s top copywriter”.

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One Response so far

  1. Bob,
    Thanks for this guest post and, Nelson, thanks for sharing it with everyone on the BizSugar community. It’s long been said you should write for people not just search engines, and the new algorithm is certainly making that the case. I wonder if either of you could us your views of just what makes top notch content. It would be great if you could respond in the comment section of the BizSugar community as well so everyone could gain the insight.

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