As you start doing research for your content marketing strategy, it’s normal to come away with more questions than answers. Trying to grasp the technical details of utilizing SEO is a big project in and of itself. Combine that with learning about the power of great content, and you’ve got yourself a tall order.
As a data-driven SEO agency, we hear a lot of these questions every day, like “Why is unique content important for SEO?”
Essentially, unique content is a turbo-boost for all of your SEO efforts.
Read on to learn the specifics of why unique content and effective SEO go hand in hand.
Unique Content: Short Practical Explanation
Unique content refers to content found online that’s 100% unique compared to content found anywhere else on the internet. Basically, unique content hasn’t been copied from anyone else including yourself. This applies to all kinds of content: blog posts, product descriptions, FAQs, and everything in between.
Good content is any relevant, useful, and well-written information that either helps your reader solve a problem or feel a specific emotion, or both. Bad content is irrelevant, unoriginal, plagiarized, and/or difficult for the reader to understand.
It’s surprisingly common for businesses to plagiarize themselves online. Ecommerce sellers frequently use identical language on Amazon and their own website. Local businesses like restaurants and service providers tend to copy and paste language from their website onto directory websites.
In both cases, these businesses are hurting their own SEO efforts.
Unique Content Versus Duplicate Content
Duplicate content is the polar opposite of unique content, and refers to content that can be found online in multiple places. Whether you plagiarize from your own website or steal content from someone else’s, your SEO efforts will be negatively impacted.
Today, Google and all other search engines use algorithms that detect duplicate content. When you pick a keyword, write a completely original piece, and publish it online, Google “reads” and indexes your content.
If Google detects your content is unique and naturally weaves in your chosen keyword, you’ll see a boost to that page’s ranking and your website’s overall Domain Authority (or DA).
A high DA means Google sees that you regularly posting relevant, unique content that readers love. This is one of the most powerful effects of publishing unique content according to your SEO strategy.
But if Google determines your content exists elsewhere online, you’ll be penalized. Your page won’t rank well, people won’t see it in their search results, and your website’s overall Domain Authority will drop.
The minds at Google are aware that people try to be clever, too.
The algorithm is frequently updated to find plagiarism workarounds, like slight rephrasing of sentences or rearranging paragraphs and other strategies.
Basically, posting duplicate content will only harm you and help your competitors.
Why Is Unique Content Important for SEO, Social Media, and CTR?
Unique content is important for SEO, social media, and CTR because it bridges the gap between Google’s technical requirements and the way our brains absorb information. (1)
If you focus exclusively on technical SEO, no human reader will find your content valuable. If you focus entirely on writing for human brains, you won’t meet the necessary parameters to rank highly.
So, why is unique content important for SEO specifically? Google’s number one priority is to keep users on their platform, and to do that, they need to make sure readers can find the information they are looking for. In other words, they need to ensure that websites are publishing informative content from their own brand, not the same thing over and over again.
As a result of years of fine-tuning the algorithm, sites are often penalized in the rankings, lowering how visible they are in the search results if they use duplicate content.
Why Unique Content Has More Longevity
One of the biggest arguments for unique content is that websites with content duplicated across many platforms will always have a lower DA and rank lower. Considering that your website’s biggest goal is drawing in new customers, duplicating content is just shooting yourself in the foot.
Unique content will also atract better quality backlinks. When other websites link to your content, Google sees this as a good sign. It means that other brands in your industry consider your content valuable. As a result, Google and other search engines will rank your content higher. The more quality backlinks you have, the more people you’ll reach. If your content is not unique, however, you aren’t likely to get many quality, organic links.
The impact unique content has on your social media can be huge, too. Nothing is more valuable to your audience than when your content answers their specific questions with a unique bra. When people learn something valuable, they tend to share it across social media. This gives you essentially free publicity just by creating original, relevant content.
As a whole, unique content is far more discoverable than duplicate content. Once your content starts ranking higher in search results and is being shared across social media platforms, you’ve got the search engines and the audience on your side. This momentum makes it far easier for people to find your new content as you continue to publish it.
All of these factors—your DA, backlinks, and social media—cause original content to have a longer life and duplicate content to have a shorter lifespan.
Unique Content in an Expanding Sea of Competitors
Search engines are constantly checking the web for new websites, new pages, and updates to existing ones.
If you post duplicate content, the search engines will quickly catch on. Your ranking will quickly drop as Google notices similarities between your website and others. Even worse, as competition increases for your chosen keywords, your ranking will plummet as more original content is published by competitors.
But when your content is unique, you’ll automatically be able to defend your ranking.
Even as new content is published by your competitors in an attempt to unseat you, great, informative content is difficult to unseat.
As an added bonus, you can use your content to talk up the benefits of your products and services to further increase the value to your brand.
Finally, there’s the all-important click-through rate (or CTR). Businesses often exclusively measure CTR for ad campaigns, but it’s worth evaluating for your content too.
Ultimately, traffic to your website is the end goal here. But even if you’re the number one result on Google, that’s meaningless unless people are actually clicking that result and staying on page long enough to read the content.
It’s absolutely possible for duplicate content to rank well for a low-competition keyword, at least for a little while. But if no one is clicking that result because it’s clearly boring, regurgitated information, your content strategy might be misaligned with internal company goals.
Furthermore, search engines measure user engagement metrics (like time on page, bounce rate, and whether the user stays on site after navigating from the content) to help determine whether content is valuable. By keeping your content unique and engaging to users, your page will perform better in the search results.
The Ultimate Goal
All in all, unique content is important for SEO in a wide variety of ways. Your ultimate goal is to appease both the algorithm and human readers by balancing SEO best practices with engaging information that matches what users are looking for.
It can be daunting to bootstrap all of this yourself, but you don’t have to do it alone.
When you work with a data-driven SEO agency like Incognito Logic, you get to skip the headache and hassle of trial-and-error.
From determining the best keywords for your business to producing top-quality original content, our team of experts has years of experiences helping businesses just like yours.
Whether you decide to forge a path on your own or fast-track your success with an agency, harnessing the power of unique content will only help your business’ potential in the rankings.
- Search Engine Journal, Why Content Is Important for SEO