It might not seem like it, but the internet still lives and moves on text. Although images and video are all hugely important in their own right, text holds the crown of the overarching king of the internet, for two very, very basic reasons.

Reason no. 1 why text is still king of the internet – People still search in text

Of course they do! Think about it, when you Google something, you’re still typing it out in the ‘old fashioned’ way. Text is the dominant form of asking for information on the web, and text is the dominant form of getting that information back. And secondly….

Reason no. 2 why text is still king of the internet – Search engines still rely on text

Yes, they do! Although they have become much better at ‘reading’ images and video, search engines still have a huge reliance on text, so for example, if you look for the latest Lady Gaga video on Google, you’re likely to be taken to the correct video on YouTube because you used ‘Lady Gaga’ in your search (in text), and there is ‘Lady Gaga’ in the video title, description and tags.

But, but, but how does this tie in with cheap content?

It has everything to do with cheap content, and let me tell you how and why.

Cheap content will cost you more than you will have saved by getting it written cheaply.

For a start, if your website’s content is simply no good, people won’t read it and will be left with a sour taste when leaving your website. The truth is that cheap content is very often bad content, and cheap content can very quickly be seen for what it is.

Secondly, as I just said, people will leave your website and this will raise your bounce rate through the roof. Google despises websites with high bounce rates because what that tells Google is that people who come to your site quickly realise that it doesn’t have the info they wanted and quickly leave, so your site is not very valuable at all.

Third, cheap content will be detrimental in another, very, very harmful way. Let’s say you hired someone to write your web content for cheap and these people were either ignorant of how the internet works or very unscrupulous and they copied content from somewhere else, and just pasted it into your site. You’re busy and you didn’t check the content for plagiarism, or maybe you trusted them to not copy content, or perhaps, you yourself don’t see what the problem is in copying content from elsewhere. It’s fine to copy content if you give a link back, right?

Wrong. It’s never fine to copy content, even if you have permission from the content’s owner. Why?

Here’s the problem – GOOGLE KNOWS WHEN YOU COPY CONTENT.

Why cheap content is bad for your site

Yes, Google knows when your content is copied from somewhere else.

Google knows everything so it knows which content is the original and which is not, using a very simple method, the date when it was submitted to Google’s index.

You have to remember that Google ‘spiders’ (indexes) all of the internet every three weeks or so, so it can tell which page is older or younger than any other page. And worse still for you, if your page is discovered to contain duplicate content, you will be penalised in search rankings and if the offence is deemed big enough, you might be blocked from search results altogether. This is definitely not what you had in mind when you set up your website.

I remember a potential client of mine once asked me, in all seriousness, to copy content from Wikipedia and just put it on his site. I stared at him, wide-eyed and incredulous, until I realised that no, this wasn’t his idea of a poor joke. I turned the job down there and then. If I have to convince you that copying content from Wikipedia is a very, very bad idea, the worst idea you’ve had all week, I will most likely have to convince you that I’m worth my price and this will probably happen after I’ve done all the work.

In conclusion, don’t do cheap content. As they said in the 80s, “Just say no.”  It’s just not worth it. Think of cheap content as you would think of cheap food; it might fill you up right now but it’s a bunch of crap that’s now coursing your veins, and it’s detrimental to your health.

In fact, a lot of people will argue that even more than flashy designs and sexy logos and all that jazz, it’s best to invest in proper, seriously written and well keyworded content; the stuff that tells your story and sets your keyword stock. As Brian Massey states here – “A good writer can create images and convey meaning better than a graphic artist because the writer has the richer toolset.

So don’t go the cheap content route – it will hurt you much more than you think it can.

If’ you’d like good content, proper content, content that’s written so well it feels like the words are reaching out and giving you a hug, speak to us. We know what we’re doing.

Mark Debono

Author Mark Debono

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