This is a guest post by professional blogger Donna Anderson @C2CWriter.
One of my clients had been working for six months building up a nice blog and it was smacked down by Google over the weekend.
Because it has an exact match domain name he’s not sure which update he caught, the new Panda update, the Penguin or the EMD, but he does know he needs to clean up his content – which has all been written by freelance writers.
I only started writing for this client about two weeks ago. In the past, I’d built a few Squidoo lenses for him that he used to promote an unrelated website. A couple of weeks ago he approached me about taking on the writing for his blog. It’s a fun blog so I said, sure, let’s do it.
I sent him his first round of articles last week, based on the keywords and title suggestions he had given me. But I’m not your average freelance article writer. So along with the packet I included a few questions. Unfortunately, I was too late. The Panda got to him before I did.
Outsourcing your content to a freelance article writer is NOT enough BECAUSE most cheap freelance article writers have
no clue how the Internet works. All they do is write.
This is especially true if you’re paying $2 per article or some ridiculously low price. Please note: I am not knocking the quality of the work, nor am I criticizing your business plan.
But if a freelance writer is willing to accept peanuts to crank out great articles for you then that means they’re still new to the business and all they plan to do is write. They may know a thing or two about using keywords, but that’s it. They don’t know a thing about SEO or what it takes to build a strong blog.
If all you want is articles, that’s fine. However, you and I both know it takes much more than generic, template-type articles to to build a blog that engages your audience and pleases the search engines at the same time.
After I sent off his first round of articles it occurred to me that I was treating this guy like any other “freelance article writing gig”, but that’s not why he came to me. So I took a long tour around his blog.
Now, this guy had already told me he’d been using a number of freelance article writers to get this blog started and it was obvious. I saw a lot of general, repetitive information from post to post, which indicated to me that he was just giving them keywords and they were writing the standard template-type, no-research, blah, blah, blah article.
So, like I said, along with those articles I asked him a few questions:
- Would you like me to start doing some internal linking on your blog? While there were quite a few posts on his blog there wasn’t a single link, internal or external.
- If so, would you mind if I choose the keywords and titles for a while so I can starting filling in the holes on your blog?
- How about if I link out to some relevant, high-quality websites while I’m at it? No external linking at all to show relevancy or lead readers to more information.
- Most of the content you have appears to be promotional. Would you mind if I started including some headline-type content to give your blog some more credibility and authority?
- How about some content in the “How-to” category, instead of always focusing on the “Why”?
- What, exactly, is your goal with your blog so I make sure we’re both on the same page?
How to get more for your money when you outsource your content:
If you’ve been paying $3 or $4 an article then I’d be willing to bet your writer has never approached you with these questions. And I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t either at that rate.
However, most writers – at any pay rate – are happy to provide whatever you need. (Within reason, of course.) But you need to tell them exactly what you want.
You need to remember that, when a freelance writer advertises that they “Understand SEO” all that means in most cases is they know they need to use your keyword at least three times in the article.
What keyword do you want them to use: This is a no-brainer.
What direction do you want them to go with the article: Do you want a How-To article? A list article? Do you want them to include a call to action somewhere? Is there some product you’re trying to promote? Some competitor you’re trying to beat? I’ve had dozens of clients over the years who just send me a list of keywords and ask for 500 words.
Do you want them to link to relevant content: I have begged clients to please give me their links. If the writer knows what you’re going to link to they can write a more relevant article, and your anchor text will sound more natural.
The best thing you can do is find one or two writers you like and stick with them. Quit shopping around for the lowest price. You might not love the first round of articles you get but if you work with the same writers all the time they’ll soon learn what you’re looking for.
If you keep skipping around, looking for the cheapest content provider
you’re always going to have weak content, not because it’s cheap,
but because the writer just isn’t familiar with your blog or your needs.
Quite simply, the money you pay for outsourcing your articles is a business investment. You’re investing in assets, content for your blog, and you should expect to make money from that investment. If you were writing those articles yourself you’d make sure they were performing. You’re not, though – you’re paying someone else to write them for you, but they should still perform.
So instead of just handing them a list of keywords, give your freelance writer the information they need to write strong content for your blog. Or next time, the Panda might smack you!
Donna Anderson is a freelance writer specializing in website content and ebooks. She currently writes for Examiner.com where she covers Alex Jones Radio and Headline News, and you’ll also find some of her articles Alex Jones’ website, InfoWars.com.