SEO Content: From Informative & Unique to Duplicate Content

Content in Search Engine Optimization refers to the actual visible webpage text and images directly associated with that text.  When someone in the field is referring to something other than the text and images of the main body of the page they commonly refer to such content with the name of the area that includes it (e.g. “Meta Description Content”). 

In SEO content; the images dealt with commonly relate directly to the textual content.  The textual content is used by Search Engines to commonly answer a question or desire sought in the search query.  Search Engines use the content to help determine the relevance and topical relation of the content to the query so that they can provide the best result. 

There are different designations of content used in SEO which include:

Unique Content: 

Content which was created specifically for the webpage and which does not include copy taken wholesale from other sources.  Unique content is vital to successful SEO as Google’s Panda algorithm penalizes duplicate content whether that copy is duplicated from another website or another webpage on the same site.  Many people use content provided by a common source (such as a quote by an authority on the topic) and Search Engines do not want to provide the same results over and over so they reduce the amount of repetition and commonly go to the actual source of the content.  By creating unique content, even a different but unique perspective on the same subject, one becomes the source and provides a varied piece of content about the same subject which increases their chances of ranking in the Search Engine Results Pages.


Informative Content: 

Content may be unique but it may not tell the visitor much information or answer their questions with much detail.  As Search Engines seek to provide informative results which do answer questions; they seek to determine if content is in fact informative about the topic.  Search Engines and their algorithms retrieve, store and analyze billions of pieces of content (webpages, documents, pdfs, etc) and are able, to a certain degree, determine whether content includes enough related terms and phrases, links to related content or other signals which illustrate how informative that content is.  Backlinks are used to determine this as well as it is believed that people will not link to something if it has been found to not be informative on the topic that they are linking from.


Duplicate Content: 

As stated above, duplicating content can cause your site to be either not ranked highly or be penalized depending upon the amount and the nature of the duplication.  If all of your content is duplicated from another website then it could be penalized where if only some of your content is duplicated then that content may itself be demoted while the entire site is not penalized.  It is important to check your content against other content to see whether it is unique, too similar or an actual duplication.


Scraped Content: 

Some websites attempt to build out their content without actually creating any of the copy themselves.  They utilize programs called “scrapers” which steal content from other websites and place it into a database for the “scraping” website to use.  Google has built some elements into their Panda algorithm that determine if a website is scraping its content and demote or penalize that website.


Dynamic Content: 

Some content is stored in databases and is generated dynamically based on the information sought.  Dynamic content is common in large sites (e.g. the New York Times or Wikipedia).  Dynamic content is not a negative factor to a website and Search Engines such as Google state publically hat dynamic content is fine to use.  They usually follow up with a reminder to have unique and informative content.


Auto-Generated Content: 

This type of content is used by “spammers” or “blackhats” that try to game the Search Engine algorithms by placing content on websites in mass amounts.  Commonly this practice is used in creating content on websites for the benefits of generating a backlink from that website.  Auto-gen content is usually garbled and is not correct language usage, and has the main target keywords and links embedded within it.  An example of a piece of auto-gen content for a payday loan company may be:  “Time share she walks heavily spiced anchor with flat policy payday loans where the blue tile floor payday loans brings the silence for John as she payday loans the table”.  Such auto-generated content usually takes many pieces of text, such as books, and takes small pieces of that text and combines it together to form paragraphs wherein the main target keywords and links are embedded.  Google’s Panda and Penguin algorithms appear to be able to determine auto-generated content most of the time.  This can cause severe penalties in the SERRs.


Unique Product Descriptions: 

Unique Content is also important on ecommerce websites where commonly product descriptions are provided by the manufacturer.  If many sites use the same product information or description then there is not much to separate them from each other and Search Engines will normally rank the one that had the content live first, along with other factors.  It is therefore vital to recreate or rewrite your product descriptions in a manner that makes them significantly different from the carbon copy versions provided by the manufacturer.


Documents (e.g. Word .doc, Adobe Acrobat PDF): 

These types of documents can commonly be indexed, “read” and ranked by Search Engines making them great for optimizing.  Google has created an algorithm for determining in-depth articles and commonly returns PDFs and documents with their results.  It is recommended to include such content in your website and to submit it to the engines for ranking.


SEO Copywriting: 

SEO Copywriting is a system of writing for both people and Search Engines.  When someone writes content simply for people they write it naturally and without regard for SEO.  SEOs write content for both so that people will find it useful and interesting while Search Engines will find elements within the content that help it to rank well.  SEO copywriting is specifically designed to do that.  Things such as keyword usage, density, prominence and keyword variation and semantics are commonly focused on in SEO Copywriting.