In the SEO and content world, you hear the term “unique content” all the time. It usually goes hand in hand with some sort of Google algorithm discussion, but the real secret behind original content is delivering value. Yes, you can optimize your content perfectly so that it has the best chance of ranking highly in search engine results pages (SERPs), but if it does not provide value for the reader, it’s not going to be shared socially, commented on, linked to, or even read, for that matter. The last thing you want is for Google to think your content is a duplicate of other content on the web, or — even worse — that it is plagiarized. Before we dive into what makes content unique, let’s talk about duplicate content.
What Is Duplicate Content?
Duplicate content is content that either closely resembles or is identical to content on another page. Content, in this case, includes the text on the page. A page can include a web page (product page, “about” page, etc.), blog post, or news article. Why is duplicate content bad? First, if content on your site duplicates content on another site, you probably stole it. Second, when Google crawls this content and determines that you’re duplicating other content on the web, your site as a whole will be penalized. Google has made great strides to deliver true value to its users, and eliminating duplicate content is a big part of that.
You might think it’s difficult to keep content unique when there’s a pretty fair chance someone else is writing about it as well. Think of a news publication, for example. One publication breaks the news, and other publications source the original article. The key differentiator is the original content that is added to the story. So, CNN may break the news and provide the facts, and a local Boston station may cover the exact same news, sourcing CNN, but providing their unique perspective on the story and the relevance of that news to folks in Boston. That portion of unique or original content is what is acceptable to Google and differentiates the article from the original.
How Much Original Content Do You Need?
There’s no secret equation that says if you add or rewrite to 60% new content, you will get past the Google guards. Instead of focusing on that, focus on delivering value to the reader. If you do that, your content will be unique. That’s not saying you can’t include quotes, but you need to create your content with a unique perspective, use supporting information when necessary, and source that information.
How does this look in the real world? Let’s say you own a pet store and want to get into the content marketing game. Here are a few tips that will help ensure that you’re creating unique content:
- Incorporate pre-purchase information that helps prospective animal owners choose the right pet for them
- Include breed information and match animal personalities with people personalities
- Offer resources to help new customers properly train their pet
You may want to hire experts in the field to create this content for you. You could interview animal trainers, veterinarians, or other experts. Inform your target audience so that when they’re ready to purchase, you are top-of-mind.
An Example of Unique Content
Jetsetter, a website that offers hotel deals, does a great job of providing unique value to its customers, who are avid travelers. When you book a vacation, the first question you’ll likely have is, “Will I even like the place I’m going?” Hotels themselves don’t tend to do a great job of painting the picture of what they have to offer. Jetsetter goes above and beyond providing hotel deals. They provide an overview of the hotel, the surrounding area, how to get there, editor ratings, and member reviews.
Jetsetter highlights the top things you are likely to love about the property and includes important details that may not typically be listed on hotel site description pages, like seasonal weather information. Jetsetter uses correspondents to create these pieces of unique content, and many of the correspondents have traveled to these locations, stayed at the hotels, and can offer firsthand information. It doesn’t get much more unique than that.