The term “Content is King” is an old phrase that used to be rolled out when highlighting the value of the written word on a website, for both SEO and general usability purposes. In essence it meant that no matter how technically brilliant your website is, if it’s got nothing to say then it’s worthless in terms of search and usability. As search engine algorithms got ever more complex over the years the inherent worth of copy perhaps dropped slightly as any number of tech tricks and tweaks reaped rewards on search.
Right now, especially with the Google Caffeine update, we’re seeing the status of copy on websites come back to the fore. It’s about the context and relevancy of the copy, and how it provides quality to the user. It’s how it should be – copy being judged on merit, not sheer volume or how many keywords were meticulously seeded onto a page.
So, if you’ve got a website that you want people to find and look at for any reasonable amount of time you really need a dedicated copywriter to keep things on message and on track.
I’ve recently been looking at some copy and content provider services online, and found a truly dreadful level of quality. Some of the content didn’t even look like it was written by a human, let alone a non-native speaker.
Here are some of the gems that I found on a few of the best ranking websites for this service;
“We nurture a specialized team of website content writers, who’ll give a thought and action to your website, through their creative skulls.” (I know this is more than likely just a typo of “skills”, but I really hope it isn’t.)
“LG Prada gives lordly music playing features for all those who love to stay in tune.” (…Ok.)
“If you are in Massachusetts, you are in a good condition.” (How very general!)
“I am sure they will fit to your attire and make you the cynosure of million of eyes in the party.” (Inappropriate thesaurus-alert)
…and my personal favourite;
“Though humans have outwit animal species they have to lark most of clandestine facts till date lie unfathomed in so called intellectual ‘Scientific Community’.” (This is so wrong it almost comes round full circle to actually become right. But not quite)
These linguistic mutants are just a random selection I plucked from thousands of equally incomprehensible examples. It’s dizzyingly bad.
I was having a good laugh reading through these websites until it dawned on me that people must actually be using the services, and paying for the privilege. Then the idea of these horrific little services being successful began to grow in my mind, and it became rapidly less amusing.
If these sorts of services are allowed to take off and start providing lots of wholesale content across the web – whether on spammy blogs developed purely for backlinks, or actual credible websites – it could feasibly devastate the web experience. It is degrading written content to an absolutely unacceptable level and the sooner its phased out the better.