With the Internet marketing world attempting to capitalise on the current content marketing buzz, SEO commentators are warning that the web is being besieged by an invasion of horrific ‘zombie content’.
A timely caution, given that it’s Hallowe’en, but a pertinent one nonetheless.
The problem is content for the sake of content. Some businesses, instead of generating interesting content that engages their customers, are still generating lifeless, unoriginal or turgid content – dubbed zombie content – which is adding to the Internet content graveyard, which is already chock-full of similarly bland fluff.
Predominantly, zombie content equates to product descriptions and similar, repetitive, dull and generic information, which is often used across many websites. For instance – manufacturer product descriptions are often repeated verbatim across retail websites. With zero creativity invested in making this kind of content stand out, it tends to make up a significant part of the zombie content population.
Whereas before, this brainless content was essentially seen as a crucial part of an SEO strategy, usually for linkbuilding, the Google Panda update has put a shotgun to the head of that particular form of zombie content – meaning that it is no longer recognised, or relevant, in search results.
Google has grown wise to these tricks and is no longer treating worthless content as valuable.
Taking a risk on content that may not have engaged customers, but could have still convinced Google bots it was sufficient, is now a risk akin to attempting to crowd-surf over a horde of ravenous zombies. Not wise.
The advice, in general, is to invest now in good, fresh, living content whilst you still can.
Christina Zilla, guest blogging over on Search Engine Watch, perhaps describes this systematic overlooking of fresh content best when she labels the problem as a wave of ‘zombie content’.
Hitting the nail firmly on the head, she says: “With the latest Google updates, rewriting the same concept with different words isn’t helping you rank as easily. This is truly zombie content; it looks like content, but doesn’t show independent thought.”
For too long, many companies have relied on spinning software to generate content, but in this post-Google Panda apocalypse, that is simply not sufficient. Nor is outsourcing to cheap writers overseas.
Steven Van Belleghem, at business2community.com, outlines that in order to succeed, a business needs to build an engaging relationship with its consumers.
Put simply, he says: “The smartest way to make sure your content is relevant, is to involve the target audience in the content creation process. Ask people what they want, and ask what would add value in their lives.”
Despite this advice, business2comunity.com, in their B2B study the 4 c’s of the Conversation Company, found less than one in five companies actually involve their customer in their marketing planning.
With Google and consumers becoming more savvy at avoiding dodgy pages, poor content is unlikely to do much for a businesses’ reputation, sales or visitors: it’s simply good sense to invest in unique, engaging content, instead of attempting to resurrect a tactic which is now seen as rotten to the core.
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