Many webmasters I know might hire out Textbroker, or some form of writing service to bulk-up their site. SEO copywriters often get their starts now in these houses: they are burning and churning it out like never before.
I often get hired to mop-up the text that others keep spilling over the edges. In doing this tonight, I saw a place I might be able to help someone, specifically when you are looking at fixing some text you get from a mid-to-low level copywriter.
Why Lazy Content Is Risky
The issue with lazy content is, in time, oogleGay is going to get increasingly better at slicing-up what they are serving. Text that is creatively, thoughtfully, and intentionally delivered is one way we can stay ahead of them.
When you buy content in bulk from a low-cost/affordable text writing service, the writer you hire does not typically care at all about what they are writing. They are churning. Writers in these organizations get paid by producing legible bulk – so there is little inspiration to write something better when coherent-enough and faster-than earns you more.
It is all OK if the writer and the recipient reach agreeable terms, I am not trying to rock the boat here…but I am saying that most often, the recipient is left with something that is grammatically correct, but offering little more.
And the real point is, as the search engines improve, grammar on its own merit is not going to make the cut for long, if it works much at all for you the way it used to. You need flow. You need ideas. You need to keep those Pandas scrambling.
So when you are hiring-out your writing to get a good jump on something, know that you’ll eventually want to clean it up. Start looking for the telltale signs of lazy writing.
Finding Lazy Writing
This was a sentence in the page I was editing tonight (domain changed, just in case):
“[B]PigOinkyOinky.com has some mighty fine selections, with some very nice ones under $50[/B].” (Swear to Google, I only changed the domain here.)
The fact that they took the time to type out “mighty fine” rather than something else is almost admirable. Almost.
But to me, a sentence like this shows me that this is a typer, not a writer, and it shows they could not fill this idea with a vocabulary that made it seem effortless. Or fake it. They are stream-of-conciousnessing, but have nothing to say. They don’t care, nor did I reading it. They are getting paid by the keystroke, and it shows.
This type of stuff, when left alone, is going to struggle, if you ask me.
So is it workable?
The post it came from had a single idea I could flesh-out – and I could see some lazy patterns in the writing pretty quickly, so just clipped them all out, and the rest wasn’t too bad.
For the sentence up there that made me see what I was dealing with on this page, I ended up with this:
“[B]PigOinkyOinky.com offers an affordable selection, with some very nice options under $50[/B].”
It says EXACTLY the same thing – just less knuckle-dragging. Standing on its own, it actually makes sense. The eyebrows separate. You get into 9th grade English class.
I used “very” as a modifier, because the target audience is a “Target-store” kind of shopper. Normally, I would work this out, for it is what I think of as weak writing…but it works here to flow with the audience expectations, and to keep the vernacular of the targeted group.
How I Identify “Lazy” Writing
As a guy who fixes this kind of stuff, what I look for are words or sentences that don’t make sense, and paragraphs that don’t carry an idea through from A-B logically. I cut out all the filler, and see what is left.
I try not to write more – I try to only cut or work out their mistakes. This is the key – you are typically cutting, not adding stuff during your edits. Many people get confused with that. But just because they gave you a 975-word page does not mean cutting this down to 300 awesomely stated, tight words would not do the same things for you.
Here’s a hint: It will help you more in the long term (and long tail) to edit harshly based on context, rather than trying to reap rewards from the extra padding of misplaced, “added-in” kind of words. The long tail needs an association of context to be effective, so meaning helps as much as the inclusion of keywords in many cases.
But really, to think that this kind of middling, lazy stuff is going to work for you in the search engines for long, when left as-is, seems kind of foolish to me.
I do think using this filler and low-rent forms of writing is a great way to get something moving – getting a site to age. But you have to fix it at some point, or it will likely NEVER go as far as you’d hoped.
I have seen ALL of the engines get increasingly better at identifying synonyms and related words, and trying to decipher meaning that is not tied so directly the empty chatter of repeated consonants and vowels. Use this to your advantage to improve the actual writing and meaning of the content – eliminate the stiff, SEO-keyword driven repetition that seems like it would work, but really doesn’t.
Don’t Stop with Fixing the Spelling Errors
So when you approach, and look to fix some lazy content, make sure you are thinking about it in terms of meaning and flow as well as the obvious sloppiness inherent in the execution. If you clean it up from a conceptual as well as a mechanical perspective, you are going to better position your site’s content to withstand the algorithm changes sure to be coming soon.