When it comes to the content strategy of your website then you will often hear me saying that being original is what is required. In the last few months this has become very apparent to a lot of website owners who found that their rankings on Google had suffered after the search engine implemented its Penguin update.
Penguin was a change to Google’s algorithm that was intended to penalise websites that had low quality content and thus help to improve the rankings of those sites that were providing high quality content. One of the signals for low quality content is a site that has content that can be found elsewhere on the web.
I will go off at a slight tangent here, but bear with me, there is a point to what I am saying. Imagine that you needed a new gas cooker fitting in your house but you were unsure who to get to install it. You have two plumbers who are potential candidates to fit the appliance. The first one can demonstrate that they have been installing cookers for the last ten years, provide you with testimonials from previous customers and as you talk to them they offer you further knowledge about the process of installing the appliance and give you an estimation on the time it will take to install the item. Candidate two on the other hand tells you that about a friend who has installed a similar appliance and that the friend said that it was easy enough and besides nowadays these items are all pretty much the same. I am hoping that you are going to pick candidate one to carry out the work. If we were talking about a website then candidate one shows they have quality content that helps to inspire trust while candidate two has a site with copy that has been taken from elsewhere.
Now this is all well and good but what happens when you want to quote somebody from elsewhere on the web. You may be writing a blog post for example about five must have gifts for this holiday season and you may well have picked one of those items because of a recommendation, from somebody you respect, that you have read online and you want to quote them in your article. You may be concerned that by doing so you run the risk of incurring the wrath of the penguin but want to use the quote to back up your argument.
All is not lost, Matt Cutts, Google’s official spokesperson on all things algorithmical has posted a video on YouTube that answers the conundrum of how you can quote an article without being penalised. In a nutshell you should use block quotes around the quote and also include a link back to the source article. Matt further adds that you should not quote an entire article and that you should have useful content of your own within the article. Google loves original content, so get writing and watch your site rise up the rankings!