Content curation can be a saving grace for search engine optimization efforts. This is true for both B2B and B2C websites. Of course, in the rapidly changing landscape of online marketing, it seems there are new terms, techniques, and technologies to understand, adopt, and master every few days or so. With that in mind, it is important to understand what content curation is so that it can be leveraged to improve the rankings and traffic for virtually any website.
In reality, content curation is not a single thing. Instead, content curation encompasses several different techniques. The overall concept is that one uses content that is not their own to boost the amount of content on a website or in a social feed. This helps in a number of different ways.
- The content creation team has an easier job because they are not spending so much time actually creating content. Instead, they are making use of, sharing, commenting on, and even posting content created by others.
- Because the content creator is able to make use of others’ content, they will produce more in a shorter amount of time. That can be not only a huge time saver but a big money saver as well.
- Google looks for sites that are active. Having a blog and adding to it once a month–especially when just starting out–simply will not cut it. More content, more often is the rule of thumb, particularly for newer sites.
- Studies have been conducted repeatedly that show how few posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social channels actually get viewed, picked up, shared, and otherwise engaged with by other users. Having more frequent posts will improve one’s chances of being noticed. How much does the social media specialist actually have to say, though? Furthermore, while re-posting a prior post has its advantages, it also has some pretty harsh limits.
It is no secret that Google is the number one search engine in the world. Recent events have proven that more so-called stealth changes and rollouts are happening at a more frequent rate. It has been estimated that the base algorithm for Google undergoes an update an average of 1.5 times a day. And, while rollouts have an effect on different parts of the population of websites at different times, it has become even more difficult for SEO specialists and online marketers to try and piece together what is happening. It is no secret, however, that Google likes content and it likes lots of it. Content curation is a way to give Google what it wants without wearing down blog authors’, article writers’, and social media specialists’ knuckles to the bone.
As mentioned previously, there are a number of different content curation techniques. Using these–or a variety of these–can help one keep costs down and traffic up. One of the great things about content curation is that each of the ways you can do it is relatively easy.
This is one of the earliest forms of content curation. As any good blog writer knows, they need to stay up with the times, see what is happening in their industry. One of the ways they do that is by reading others’ blogs, the news, industry sites, etc. One of the old side effects of this was blog spinning. The author would read something they found interesting, pertinent, or otherwise liked and then they would essentially write their own version of the blog or article. Some really dubious “authors” would even turn to spinning software, enter in the data from the article or blog they liked, enter in a few different variations, choose a few options, hit a compiler key, get a feed off as many as a few thousand articles, and then choose one they liked they best, clean it up, and put it on their own site. Some did not even bother to proofread and edit the article the software provided. They just posted whatever broken English piece of garbage the software spit out. They might post different versions on different sites or even offer up different versions for sale. After all, it was just about keywords, keyword density, and location, right? Those days are long gone.
Google gets smarter with every passing day. Between an army of programmers and human-aided quality testing, Google continues to grow into a powerhouse of semantics, latent semantic indexing, comparative analysis, grammar teacher, spellchecker, and more. Putting up some weak, derivative work that is a mere shadow of someone else’s on the Internet is a surefire way to put a site at risk for being flagged by Google. At the very list, it is most likely a waste of time, doing little to nothing to improve a site’s ranking in the eyes of Google and–worse yet–the site’s users.
Today, instead of copying and re-writing someone’s blog or article, make it a part of your content curation program to share it. That is right. Share someone else’s work on your site. It might seem counter-intuitive, but it really is the way to go. Here is how it can work. While out researching the latest news and trends, the writer finds a piece that aligns with the site’s mission and goals. Copy down the URL of the article or blog. Now, the writer goes back to their own website and writes and small introduction, comments on, raises a question based on that article and then they share the link. It only needs to a be a few sentences, but can be a bit longer. Once that is done, be sure to let the original author of the article that was curated that it was shared on that second site. A few other things should happen here. If the one who found the article is not already following the website or author that did the original piece, they should. They found one great piece of information, there will most likely be more in the future.
One of the most popular types of content curation is the content compilation technique. This can require a bit more work than the blogging/commenting version mentioned above, but it can also be very worthwhile. Pick a subject–any subject. Now, go research that subject. Find trusted online resources talking about that subject. This is kind of like putting together notes for a term paper. The content creator is going through, collecting, sorting, and compiling data from varying resources and putting them together in a meaningful way. This can work out into a number of different pieces of content for the author.
Content curation via the compiling method can be used to create a long blog post or article, a listicle, a newsletter, an eBook, podcast, or virtually anything that might fall into the content pillar structure. In fact, if done right, it might fall into several different categories to make all that work pay off again and again. Here is the trick. Again, the author is not taking credit for anything they are not directly responsible for. They are giving credit (and links) where they are due. They are also doing more than just collecting that data. They are organizing it in a meaningful fashion. That might be all that they do, but some of the best pieces of compiled content curation include original thoughts and comments from the creator. In fact, if done properly, it can be relatively easy to share near completed concepts with industry thought leaders and get them to write an addition or agree to an interview. That can really pay off.
Rebuttals & Follow-ups
Some would consider online rebuttals and follow-ups something besides content curation and they have a point. This type of content curation sometimes requires a bit more effort and ends up being more original than curated content. The beginning step remains the same. In keeping up with the industry or topic, the author comes from a piece written by something else. The article or blog should be of a high enough quality to even be considered–do not waste time on an obviously ill-informed, poorly put together blog with no followers. However, when they find a blog that has a lot of followers, is important to the industry, and is well thought out, it might be worth responding. This could be especially true if the author feels the other author was in error. Be careful not to start online flame wars and feuds, though. If someone is directly attacking the website, product, or company the writer works with, it may not be best to address it in public, or it may be. Those situations really need to be handled on a case by case basis. If it has to do with the industry, facts, measurable data–it could be a great article that people are interested in.
In some cases, instead of correcting what the original author wrote, one might want to follow up on what they wrote. This might include adding specific details or continuing where they left off. This is not saying to give away the “secret sauce” of one’s business, but maybe to show an elevated expertise, provide specific examples of success, and so on. If done properly, the author that wrote the original article will be more than happy to share rebuttals and follow-ups to their own article. So, it is very important to make sure to let them know that one was written.
Important Keys of Content Curation
As mentioned earlier, always give credit where credit is due. Provide a link to the original article or blog. Follow the source where the information was originally found. You may get some great items in the future this way. Also, follow or otherwise connect with the original content creator via social media. This is an opportunity to tap into their audience and followers. Great relationships can be founded on this interaction and they may help create buzz when the site that quoted them comes out with a new blog or product.
If the blog or article found is actually quoting or rehashing another article, go back to that original source. It is best to review the original source. If the original source is found, but another author added something pertinent, quote and link to both.
Make sure the sources you are curating from are verifiable, reliable sources in the industry. More than one author or business has been caught unawares by failing to do this and the fallout can be pretty harsh. It is always best to verify one’s sources before quoting or publishing them–remember what was said earlier about being a lot like a term paper?
Beware the competitor. Some competitors put out some great material. An author would not want to quote and link to them typically, offering a chance to send potential customers over to the competitor site. Still, news outlets, industry sites, and other potential sources may have links to your competitors. That is okay. It is one of the dark parts of online marketing–sometimes you have to weigh the risk and bit the bullet. Keep a close eye, though. Some sites are set up to look like professional industry sites and, in reality, they are completely owned and controlled by competitors.
These techniques will help produce content, followership, and viewers for one’s blog or social media channel. Google likes that sort of thing. It can also if done properly, bring legitimate, quality links back to your site. Google also likes seeing sites link to outside sites that are in the same industry or on the same topic. All around, content curation is usually a win-win opportunity for any business online.