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I Am Not Gonna Pay a Lot for This Writer: and Other Ways to Shoot a Hole in Your SEO

February 6, 2013  |   Posted In Uncategorized

When it comes to writing, both India and China have produced some marvelous writers; from Li Po to Rabindranath Tagore to Ha Jin, these distant lands have made their celebrated marks on the world of literature. When it comes to SEO [insert smile if you care to], the jobbing writers of these nations and others who churn out masses of content for the internet can assuredly write competently in their native languages, but when it comes to English, the pool of adept foreign writers gets smaller. With Google poised to penalize websites with shoddy English and slipshod writing, a new day is dawning for SEO and content writing across the internet.

Smorgasbord at the Content Buffet
It’s cheap and fills you up. This slogan could apply to a hefty portion of the internet’s content writing over the last several years (though, emphatically, not all). Knowing the importance of content and keywords, webmasters bought content from wherever they could for prices they could easily afford. The logic was something like—if I can by a ton of content from an Indian writer, why buy a third of that (or less) from a writer in America or the UK? Certainly, for many websites top-notch writing has been a must, but for sites merely seeking to rise up in the page rankings, any old content seemed to suffice—including a garden variety of articles sold for four bucks a piece or thereabouts. In fact, many in this readership probably can hear one of their experienced relatives in their head—you get what you pay for.

Google Wants a Better Internet
The recent updates (or the notorious changes depending on your point of view) by Google last year will affect all websites with poorly written content. Google will not rank websites highly unless they provide meaningful and well-written content. This means that woefully ungrammatical chunks of content will weigh down your website like an anchor. Article spinning will likely spin your website or blog to the end of the line in terms of ranking. How Google intends to enforce its improved writing standards is still unfolding, but already SEO experts are beginning to revamp their sites and writers with a genuine command of the English language are hoping to get to work.

What SEO Experts Must Avoid
When it comes to content or simply marketing a website, SEO experts may want to spend less time on optimizing-based gimmicks and tricks and more time on filling their pages with high-quality content and organic links. Otherwise, they could face the wrath of Google and significantly lose rank. Google is also against keyword stuffing and irrelevant content. These changes were instated to improve internet searching. Sending searches to a third-rate website is not part of Google’s plan; Google asserts that it reflects poorly on them when users are steered to poor websites.

What SEO Experts Should Do
Google recommends that websites post relevant and meaningful content. Content should also be timely, so updates are also recommended. SEO staff should avoid stuffing text with keywords and simply use them when appropriate. Too many keywords and your content begins to look like spam to Google (and probably readers too). Google is also trying to promote quality over quantity, so too much overdone or irrelevant content is not going to reflect well with the search giant.

More Tips for Content
Google is also hoping its recent updates strongly encourage webmasters to create information-rich sites. According to Google’s Webmaster Guidelines, content should be clear and accurate as well as written for “users, not search engines.” If your website legitimately engages readers and provides useful information that pertains to your site, you stand a good chance—a fair chance—of ranking highly in a Google search. For websites that have been doing this all along, this is all great news. For websites that have relied on guest writers and content stuffed with spammy links or inferior content bought on the cheap, it may be time (it is time) to revisit your content and improve its stature before Google buries your website amidst all the other fragments, run-on sentences, and muck of poor comma-usage that once plagued the internet.

How Much for a Decent Writer?
Content writing is a large field now and it draws writers from many fields and educational backgrounds. The point of asking “how much” is simply to encourage companies to set aside a line item on their budget if they already don’t have one for content. SEO is a dynamic field and this change wasn’t exactly done overnight; experts have been predicting stricter guidelines for some time. Companies that expected these changes may have already begun to work with writers to improve their content. There’s not any reason companies can’t still employ more inexpensive writers from countries like India, for example, but they must insist upon high quality content free from errors commonly found among English-as-a-second-language writers. Finally, it can’t hurt to pay what the work is worth. Pay a writer for their research, their expert craftsmanship, and their time. In this era of a gimmick-free internet—what have you got to lose…except page rankings?