It’s Google’s fault that the Internet is swamped with content. Everyone is told to write their blogs daily, no matter who they are, no matter what their niche. This leads to a lot of people blogging because they feel they can’t succeed if they don’t. It leads to a lot of people with voices proclaiming opinions no one cares about. Everyone can have their fifteen minutes of fame, as long as they’re loud enough for long enough. It’s tiring. You learn to skim articles or judge them by their title alone. Keeping up with more than a couple of blogs becomes a full time job. Authors don’t make it any easier, either; how many times have you encountered one of these posts and just backed away, shaking your head?
Some people have things to say, and they aren’t afraid to say them. This happens more in personal blogs than in business blogs, but even the occasional business blog can fall victim to this particular problem. The post just goes on. And on. And on. The paragraphs – in size 8 font, no less – are a dozen sentences long with no formatting. The wall of text begins to look like a magic eye puzzle as your vision blurs and your mind shuts down. Do you really need to know how their day went, every day, forever?
Maybe you back away immediately. Maybe you tough it out, hoping there’s some point to all of this. Of course, if there was, it’s not in bold at the end of the article. More than likely, however, the post just ends with an unsatisfactory conclusion. You’re done with the 1,500+ word labyrinth of personal thoughts, and the only thing you can think to reply is that you just don’t care. It was a waste of the last five minutes of your life. That’s one blog you won’t be checking out again.
Social media has made the Internet a very personal place. You’re free to comment on anything, share it with anyone and write posts for all to see. The problem, of course, is the group of people who think that just because they can write their opinion, it’s a valuable opinion. Everyone has their podium and can speak their mind, and to say otherwise is a violation of free speech. The problem, as a reader, is the same as number five; who cares?
This is why becoming a thought leader in your industry is so important. When you’re a newcomer to the scene, you can write anything you want, but you have to tell your readers one crucial thing first; why they should care about your opinion. What makes your opinion better than anyone else’s? Why should they listen to you and not the established industry leaders? Without that position of authority, your opinions aren’t backed by anything. This is also why facts and experience are so important to convey. You can’t be an expert in something if you don’t have the evidence to back it up.
If there’s one way to make people talk about your post, it’s to bring up something controversial. Marriage equality. Feminism. Politics. Sports rivalries. Gun control. The list can go on with hundreds of items, but the point remains; controversy spurs discussion. It’s a common tactic for a business to mention something controversial to start a discussion, though as often as not the conversation gets out of hand and quickly leads off topic. That’s if it was ever on topic to begin with; what’s a political discussion doing on a shoe store’s blog, anyway?
Controversy in moderation is just fine. It’s okay to give your business a personality. A public face makes you more relatable. If you’re on the “correct” side of the issue, particularly with social justice issues, you can gather quite a following. The alternative is true as well, of course; picking the “incorrect” side can cause a social backlash that lasts for years and can leave you awkwardly backpedaling. The problem is the blog that seems to stir up controversy with every post. Worse, they never take sides; they just drum up arguments for the sake of arguments.
These blogs look incredibly valuable at first glance. If you’re not a frequent reader of the blogosphere or partaker of the news, you might never know the dark secret it hides. It’s only once you broaden your horizons that you find out the shocking truth; nothing this blog publishes is original in any way.
That’s not to say everything is copied, oh no! Copied content is usually bad. Google hates copied content. They would never copy content. What they do is far more dastardly. They find current trends and events and they write about them. They write the same thing the industry thought leader writes. They come to the same conclusions and they use the same logical processes. They use the same evidence, if the thought leader links to their sources. It’s not copied content if it’s in their own words!
It quickly becomes a matter of degrees. How different does the portrayal of a fact need to be? How many different blogs need to publish the same information? Just how many different fractured audiences are there?
There’s no way to settle this, unfortunately. Until some ubersite comes along and becomes the single best authority on a given topic, with 100 percent of the readership in that niche, covering every fact from every angle, there’s going to be copied content. After all, even if that bigger blog published it already, your readers don’t read them. They read you, and they want to know your opinions. And that would be great, if you had any of your own.
The grand daddy of all terrible blog styles is the terribly spun, ESL-outsourced or just plain poorly written post made with a huge density of keywords and buzzwords, a few links slapped on with barely a pause and published for virtually no reason. For some reason, some of these sites still manage to top the charts with Google, possibly just because no sane competitor has come along to claim the niche. Yet every time you find one, the feeling is the same; disgust. There sure are a lot of words on that page, but none of them mean anything. The entire post could be summarized as “buy my thing!” and nothing of value would be lost. Even giving the site a hit feels dirty.
Of course, Google is doing its best to remove these kinds of blogs. Yet every day, more sophisticated robots use more advanced tactics to hide the fact that their content, while looking visually impressive, is virtually worthless. It’s all fluff and filler, no value to be had. Looking for something useful from the post is like searching for a needle in a haystack, when the needle was on a different farm altogether.
Which is your least favorite type of blog post? Is it the SEO post, the controversy, the poorly written spam? Is there another type you hate more than the rest combined? Or have you fallen victim to the sickness that leads a blogger to become what they hate?