Writing your own is best

In last month's column I addressed cases in which business owners would rather pay a web designer to make changes to their website, even though they could easily make them themselves for free.

Additionally, I have also met with people who want a website, but want the web designer to write all of the copy for them. For a business that wants good search engine results, this can be a very bad move.

Because the web designers are just that, web designers, they are not able to write content based on first-hand knowledge of the business. Instead, the only option is for the designer to use Google to find websites of similar businesses and simply try to cobble together content found on those other sites.

I have seen some cases where the designer has, almost verbatim, used the content from other sites, simply changing the business name, location and area covered.

From a search engine standpoint, the content is nothing more than generic, or even an almost direct clone of other websites, some of which may have been created in the same way themselves.

I have met with people
who want the web designer
to write all of the copy for them.
This can be a very bad move.

This closeness is picked up by the search engines,  and results in a small drop-down arrow next to the search result, saying 'Similar.' Having such highly generic or cloned content can prevent a site reaching a high position on Google. It is being ranked below websites with content that was written by the companies themselves, and then tweaked by their designer for search engine compatibility.

Whenever I meet with clients, I always advise them to write their own content. They are the ones who best know what they do and how they do it. During the writing process, they are likely to bring up things that they do differently from other companies, or word things in other, less generic, terms.

Individuality and uniqueness are appreciated by the searches and can help single a site out in the search results, not only because they show that the company made an effort,  but because they also bring up unique things that the more generic sites don't mention.

If you didn't write your site's content, and it is doing badly in the search results, it can pay to simply search for similar business websites and see if you have the Similar arrow.

Another thing you can do is to find a few generic sentences in your site and search for them inside quotes on Google.  See if other sites show up because they are using the same copy.

If you have concerns with your website, now is the time to look into our WebUpdate system sites. Not Open Source, they take advantage of advanced security, SEO, social, and responsive features to give your business the best competitive edge online.   

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