You Can’t Fake Real Content

If you read SEO articles and forums, you’ve surely read over and over again how important “good content” is for your SEO efforts. You’ve heard how you need to write lots of informative articles about whatever it is you offer. Some SEO types even say to write an article a month or a week or even a day—all for the sake of the search engines. They’ll often tell you to start a blog, and encourage you to post in it often. “Become an expert!” they’ll advise with glee. “Or at least make it look like you’re one.”

The problem with all of this is that not everyone is an expert, nor should they be. And not every product or service needs articles written about it.

If you sell laminating machines or door stops, should you really be writing articles about them? No, no, no, no, no! Why would anyone in their right mind want to read an article about door stops? They wouldn’t. Nor would the search engines.

People aren’t looking for articles on how to laminate. They’re looking for a machine that will get the job done at a price they can afford. Thankfully, the pages currently showing up in the top results at Google for laminating machines are actual product pages and not some crazy fake “content” articles written for SEO purposes only.

That’s the key to knowing whether what you’re doing is smart or dumb: real or fake. Would you be adding that content to your website anyway? Is it truly useful to the people coming to your site who are looking to buy your products or services? Or are you just writing it because some dumbass SEO told you that you need to?

Writing content just because you think it’s what the search engines want is really no different from spamming the search engines. Yeah, yeah, you or your SEO may call it “useful” but is it really useful? C’mon, you know it’s not. It’s crap. Pure and simple. Don’t do it. It’s no better than WPG doorway pages of yore, and it’s just as fake.

The same is true of online press releases. How many of those do you think were written to actually gain press? How many of them get any actual press? I imagine the number is very small. But the SEO who told you to do it doesn’t care. It’s not about press, they will say, it’s about getting links and it’s about showing up in Google alerts. I can tell you that the links aren’t really going to help you much because the search engines caught on to that trick ages ago. Sure, having your release show up in a Google Alert for specific keyword phrases can be a decent marketing avenue if you really do have something interesting to announce. Still, nobody cares that your CEO sneezed that morning, or that you created some ridiculous proprietary method of optimizing websites and just had to tell the world about it.

That’s not good content, and it’s not useful content. It’s fake content—and it sucks.

Okay, so now you understand what fake content is, but are still confused about what constitutes real content. Real content is not about creating content that “appears” to be natural. Real content is simply the information you supply on the regular pages of your website. The pages that explain your products and/or your services. The pages you presumably already have on your website. Those are the pages you are supposed to be optimizing, not fake pages designed for search engines.

To fix your site you don’t need to add articles. You need to explain very clearly what your products or services are all about, and how they will benefit the user. Imagine what the person typing a particular search query at a search engine would be expecting to find, and then you’ll know exactly what to write.

Unfortunately, the content on most unoptimized websites isn’t written with any thought given to searchers. They seem to presume the visitor already knows what products and services are sold there; however, visitors who come from keyword searches at Google may not already be familiar with what you offer. It doesn’t work to speak to them in a generic way. You must use the words that got them there in the first place.

When all is said and done, adding real content to your site simply means clarifying the copy on your existing pages. Clarity is important because it teaches you to be very descriptive with your writing. Describing what you offer in this manner provides you with the opportunity to use your keyword phrases throughout your copy in a way that makes sense to your site visitors. This is what we mean when we talk about real, useful copy. Do you see the difference?

You can’t fake real content. The good news is that you don’t have to!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.

Related Topics: All Things SEO Column | Channel: SEO | SEO: Writing & Body Copy


About The Author: is a pioneer in SEO, beginning in the field in the early 1990s and founding High Rankings in 1995. If you enjoy Jill's articles at Search Engine Land, be sure to subscribe to her High Rankings Advisor Search Marketing Newsletter for SEO articles, SEM advice and discounts on industry events and products.

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  • SEO Loser

    I’m hesitant to post this because I know it’s a lame comment, but I have to say it anyway just because it’s so specific. I actually personally searched for a guide to laminating a few years back when I needed to get something laminated with an iron, and remember being frustrated when the majority of what I found were sales pitches :)

    Anyway, I get your point and don’t mean to detract from the post. Just goes to show that you have to think about the search term from more than one perspective.

  • Tinu

    That is so true, Jill. I still keep an eye on Google Alerts, but it’s crazy how some people hear about a technique that works (or did work once) and fubar it up for everyone by creating spam.

    The logic sucks! What do they think is going to happen when their potential client gets to a page in a splog? They will click away and subconsciously begin to discount whatever method that took them to that spot as useless.

  • Greg Jarboe

    You are absolutely right, Jill. Optimizing a press release, blog post, or web page that doesn’t have original and unique content of genuine value is just plain dumb. Blog, news and web search engines don’t convert into visitors or prospects. The people who use blog, news or web search engines MIGHT convert into visitors and prospects IF the content is compelling. Great stories generate great results.

  • Jac

    I guess the tricky part is breaking the news to some business owners that their products and/or services aren’t particularly blog or article worthy. Some may think they are but be flooding the internet with things that the average searcher is not looking for and can not use.


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