Yesterday I discussed how search engines are hungry for unique content: different words, in a different order, to anything they’ve found before on the web. If you “re-use” just a few sentences in an article, you can kill its chances of being ranked highly (or at all).
This is why magazine websites have all but died in the Google search results now. The editors, although skilled writers, only have a press release on which to base their content, and no matter how hard they try, it’s almost impossible to rewrite the story in a way which is unique enough – certainly within the time available.
So, how on earth do you ensure an article is unique? As it turns out, if you sit down and write something off the top of your head, the chances are very high that you’ve created something unique. Indeed, you can almost assume as such. Put any sentence from this article into Google (with speech marks around it, to get an exact match) and you’ll probably find no results. That’s because I’ve just sat down and written it without reference to anything other than my own thoughts.
How do we replicate this process when writing a page about a blue widget? The best way is to avoid referring to any previously written words. If you’re the source of information on the subject, cover up anything in print or on screen, and just write what you think. If somebody else is the authority on the subject, get them to describe it, and transcribe what they say.
Using somebody else has an extra benefit that even after the inevitable tidying-up which is required, the article will read in a more approachable fashion, without any literary pretensions. It works. Give it a try.