Everyone in this industry is familiar with the phrase ‘content is king’. The thing is, though, that not all content is created equal. In fact, particularly when it comes to written copy, many authors fall prey to the same mistakes. As a result, a lot of the content floating around the internet is hardly worthy of a royal title! To ensure that your audience is completely content with your content, swerve the shame by avoiding the following…
Ahh the humble typo. Who knew a tiny error could have such a big impact? Well, all of us, actually. It’s so disappointing to get a couple of paragraphs into an informative, engaging piece of work, only to be confronted by a rogue apostrophe. For starters, it looks sloppy and unprofessional. Then you spend the main course wondering if the author in question made a simple mistake, or really doesn’t understand the difference between ‘its’ and ‘it’s’.
Whether it’s misusing semi-colons or capitalising the wrong word, people can be pretty judgmental about grammatical errors. One may be able to slip through the net, but if the typo brings any mates, strap in and prepare yourself for some professional flagellation. This is despite the fact that we’ve all been there! Content creators of varying sizes and esteem publish work containing the odd typo. It happens to the
bets best of us.
We can’t all be perfect but we can put measures in place to ensure that typos are a rare occurrence. Whatever your content strategy, make sure it includes a solid editing process. Here at Supersede, we find it to be particularly effective if the person editing the work is not the person who originally wrote it. A second set of eyes always catches something you missed!
Image source: Patrick Tomasso (via Unsplash)
Remember how exciting it was when we first gained an insight into how Google’s algorithms work? The knowledge that dropping a few keywords here and there could help your content climb the rankings felt like an enormous power. Then, as is the case with many things, we got drunk on that power, abused it, and ruined the internet for a while. Whoopsie! In the meantime, Google got savvy to our fiendish ways and regularly updated the algorithms so that keyword optimisation now requires a more sophisticated and refined approach.
Unfortunately, plenty of people are still churning out content that clearly suffers from keyword stuffing. Let’s say you’re searching for advice on how to put a bowtie on your cat. If the first few lines of the content you select read:
“Looking to put a bowtie on your cat? Great! In our article on the best ways to put a bowtie on your cat, you’ll find many top tips on putting a bowtie on your cat. Tip 1: Put the bowtie on your cat carefully…”
You’re likely to click off immediately. It’s very clear that the author is more interested in lazy, black hat SEO tactics than providing any useful information. User intent is priority, people! Give the searchers what they want, and the rest will follow.
This particular content mistake can be tricky to navigate around, as keywords are undoubtedly an important component of online content. After all, Google does need some clue as to which search terms your content addresses. The optimal number to use varies depending on factors like the size, form and intent of the content. For a basic guideline, though, you can always count on the SEO nerds (said with the utmost respect and love) over at Moz. Rand Fishkin suggests that your target keyword should appear once in the title, headline and meta description, as well as 2-3 times in the body of the content.
Content in the wrong format
Ever been in a meeting that could have been an email? Yeah, us too. In a similar vein, sometimes you can read an article that would have been far more engaging in slideshow form. There a numerous ways to present content, so don’t always rely on the one that you feel most comfortable with. If you’re truly prioritising user intent and experience, then extra thought is required regarding the best way to present a particular piece of information.
Covering a dense, meaty topic? Present the key points using infographics. Have some hard-hitting news that needs to be seen to be believed? Work in video format. Got an incredible story to tell? Use the written word to weave your narrative and draw the reader in. There’s also nothing stopping you from combining multiple forms of content to ensure that your audience absorbs all of the information they need!
Image source: Herbert Goetsch (via Unsplash)
What you have to say may be important, but there’s no need to say it twice! Whether it’s by honest mistake or through sheer laziness, duplicate content is never OK. It’s a bad look for your site and, even worse, it’s bad for your rankings. Having the same content on multiple pages of your website confounds search engines in a number of ways.
On a basic level, the crawler won’t know which page to include in search results. This may mean that search engines select the wrong page from your site to answer a query. In some cases, they may not include any of your pages in the results at all! It is highly unlikely that a search engine would include both of your pages if duplicate content is present, so you can kiss that dream goodbye.
Having duplicate content on your site can also have a negative impact on other ranking factors. For example, if both versions of the content include a valuable link, the overall link equity is diluted. Basically, this is a content mistake that can lead to a whole host of problems for your site. This is why it’s really important that you regularly perform duplicate content checks. If your site is too large for a manual check, there are plenty of tools out there that can do the job for you. Yoast has a handy and very simple guide to checking for duplicate content that covers both approaches. Performing a manual check? Pages containing product descriptions tend to be one of the biggest culprits for duplicate content, so start your search here.
In terms of rectifying this mistake, you may want to replace the offending pages with original, unique content. Alternatively, you can compile the bits of the duplicate content you want to keep onto one page and set up redirects on any remaining URLs.
Content for the sake of content
All content creators get stuck in a rut sometimes. It’s not always easy to come up with creative ideas that you can turn into scintillating content that people want to consume. If you respond to this problem by forcing yourself to produce something anyway, your audience can often tell. Don’t undermine the quality of your overall output by publishing content just for the sake of it. A good rule of thumb is that if you don’t have anything new to add to the conversation, it might be best to say nothing at all. Lord knows there is already more than enough content on the internet!
If you’re struggling to update your blog, social media feed or website regularly, change up the publishing schedule to allow for longer breaks between posts. Worried about the impact this could have on traffic? Try it for a couple of weeks and keep an eye on how this affects your metrics.
In scenarios where the stats suggest that you do need to be publishing more frequently, consider different types of content that can beef up your overall output without adding a huge amount to your workload. This could include:
- Short news posts
- Sharing images and videos produced by other creators
- Guest posts
If your new content strategy includes sharing the work of others, make sure to credit them and obey any licensing laws that are in place.
Out of date content
Image source: Charles Deluvio (via Unsplash)
The world is always changing, and nowhere is this more true than online. Trends come and go, news stories evolve, technology improves and people/brands fall in and out of favour. As a result, certain types of content can very quickly become outdated or even redundant. If this is evident when people are browsing your site, it gives the impression that you’re either out of touch or you don’t care about maintaining your pages.
A good way to be ahead of the game on this issue is to mark content that won’t be evergreen when it is first published. News updates don’t count here, as it is inevitable that they start to become outdated after they are produced. For everything else, though, you should have a system in place to help you keep track of the pages that may need to be revisited (or even deleted) at a later date.
Regularly updating your content to reflect current trends and contexts ensures that it remains fresh and relevant.
Eager to avoid these common content mistakes but don’t have the time to review your entire site? Supersede Media can help. We perform thorough website audits complete with a bespoke proposal detailing how we can take your site to the next level. Head over to our contact page and let us know what we can do for you!