A few years ago I came across Stone Temple Consulting‘s Eric Enge interview of Google’s Matt Cutts that dealt with the overriding importance of a website’s having high-quality content.
During the course of the interview, Eric used an an example he’d employed in some of his SEO presentations, having to do with a person typing “frogs” into Google’s search box and how low-quality sites often failed to deliver the information the searcher was actually looking for.
In Eric’s example, while the text on the pages was technically non-duplicative, the content—the meat—wasn’t. It wasn’t new, it wasn’t original or authoritative. The content on the page added absolutely no value to what the user was seeking. It wasn’t high-quality content, just a regurgitation of what other sites had offered elsewhere. In other words, it could have been written by a monkey with a thesaurus!
Those other sites are not bringing additional value. While they’re not duplicates they bring nothing new to the table. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with what these people have done, but they should not expect this type of content to rank.
Not high-quality content . . .
Here’s Eric’s first example:
Here is some info on frogs:
Frogs are green
Frogs live in water
Frogs like to jump
Frogs are not toads
Thanks for reading our article on frogs
The keyword (as you can easily ascertain) is—of course—”frogs.” Not exactly high-quality content, is it?
Now, here’s a example of how someone might have taken the above and fleshed it out, so as to not receive a duplicate-content penalty.
Eric’s second example:
Frogs are interesting creatures, partly because they are green. Many people do not realize that they are not toads. Frogs like to jump and live in water.
But, frankly, the content is entirely duplicative. The text may be somewhat different, but the content is precisely the same and adds absolutely no value to a searcher’s understanding of frogs.
High-quality content might contain . . .
A post containing high-quality content might have added information about frogs’ different pigmentation (green,) how one differentiates between frogs and toads, how and why they jump, and the types of water features in which they live.
Read the entire interview.