How Low Can You Go?
Content marketing is now a commodity. I’ve seen prices as low as $1.90 an article. Yup, you read that right. Less than 2 bucks for a blog post. Now that Google rewards websites with in-depth content, the race is on to create as many blog posts and web pages as possible in order to get search attention. Recently a prospect told us they use a service to write their web articles; it turns out to be a service that delivers software-generated content. As a writer, you can image I was first annoyed and then curious. Now after trying this service, I feel completely vindicated. Read on if you’re wondering how to write for your site in a way that is affordable, sustainable, and adds to your brand rather than detract.
A Real Experiment
The prospect mentioned above uses the services of Articoolo. Unlike other content-writing services, where you access a pool of writers, this website literally generates your content in seconds. It took me longer to enter in my credit card info than it did for my article to finish. Maybe 60 seconds tops.
For this experiment, I used a straightforward topic: content marketing strategies. Here are the actual results I got for my $1.90. Lest Google index this content and attribute it to our site, I’ve created a graphic with commentary.
To be fair, the above is a B2B topic. Maybe it’s a little too advanced for a software-generated content service provider. In case you want to read up on various content marketing strategies, here’s a great article from The Content Marketing Institute. That’s why I tried yet another experiment… this time on something much easier: peach cobbler. You be the judge on this one.
Can Software-Generated Content Aid Content Marketing?
Sure. If you’re playing with Grey Hat SEO tactics, that is. On the surface, software-generate content does the following:
- Creates “unique” content — and by unique, I mean that it’s not duplicated anywhere else on the web (thank goodness as it’s dreadful)
- Provides volume — since the service allows businesses to commission content at a low cost. Google looks for websites that publish regularly.
- Meets word-count quotas – less than 300 words is considered thin content. When I ran the two above experiments the word count hovered between 400-500 which is a minimum target.
Now the downside…
- It adds no value. Searchers are now discerning readers. They are looking for answers. With both experiments, I don’t think an audience would get past the first sentence or paragraph.
- Low-quality content is dangerous. Not only will it cause your audience to bounce, Google’s Panda algorithm is actively seeking out websites publishing low-quality content. Use software-generated content often enough and you’re on your way to a manual penalty.
- It hurts your brand. In reading the peach cobbler post, was it easy to follow? If you stumbled upon this post, would you share it? The answers to both those questions are NO. If your website is full of this kind of content, it negatively affects your brand… which in turn affects conversion rate and your business’ viability.
Sustainable & Affordable Content Marketing
As a digital marketer who works with many small businesses, I’m concerned that Google’s push for more in-depth content just isn’t sustainable. Brands with big budgets and a stable of writers can churn out unique, researched and on-target content. How can the little guy compete?
There are services out there where you can get access to real writers. Obviously, some services are better than others. I’ve found that many writers subscribe to several platforms as a way to eke out a living. The better the writer, the more expensive the article. If your product or service is uncomplicated, you may be able to get away with a less-experienced writer. Then be prepared to edit. A lot. Unless you use a writer exclusively, you won’t get the consistency your brand needs for web content. Here’s my advice for those with smaller content marketing budgets:
- Publish consistently. Even if it’s once a month, be consistent with your publishing schedule. You want search engine bots to index your site regularly.
- Write what you know. I’ve found that small businesses are closer to their customers. Leverage that rapport into your content. Big brands can try to mimic it, but entrepreneurs can authentically tap into it.
- Add value. Customers see through brand-speak and gravitate to businesses they know and like. Translate what you know into something your audience can use.
So, what do you think of my little experiment? What’s your verdict about software-generated content?
How can we help?
What does your content say about your site’s SEO? What does content data in Search Console say about its performance?
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