The Telegraph Newspaper 1, Content Marketers 0

| March 6, 2017 | 1 Comment

The tiled roof of the summerhouse at our new home is smothered with beautiful, vivid green moss. It’s absolutely gorgeous and we’d love to keep it. With that in mind I thought it’d be wise to check whether the moss was causing any structural damage.

One Google search later, I realised the information was going to take some finding. It turns out page one of Google is full of poor, thin content on the subject, most of which I had to trawl through and discard before finding the good, meaningful stuff.

I imagine ‘does moss damage a tiled roof’ isn’t the only search query to return similarly poor results, which just goes to show how relatively unsophisticated Google’s quality algorithms are.

What is thin content?

Thin content is perfectly readable, often well written. But the further you read, the more you realise you’re not actually getting much – if any – information worth having. It’s mostly shallow waffle.

Searching Google for ‘does moss damage a tiled roof’ delivers page 1 search results full of content written by businesses who sell moss removal services, none of which provided a straight answer. Some of the posts and articles gave a one-line nod to my query before wandering off into related subjects, mostly ending in a call to action to buy a product or service. One website had the gall to kick off their article with this incredibly unhelpful sentence,”Depending on who you talk to, roof moss or algae is either a serious problem for UK roofs or absolutely nothing to worry about.” Excuse my French, but what the fuck?!

Longtail search success is only half the battle

It looks like inexperienced content marketers are responsible. Reading between the lines I can see that some of these dodgy front page results focus on one long tail keyword in an effort to capture and funnel search interest. It has worked. Their content has been allocated a page 1 Google search position, and no doubt they soak up lots of lovely targeted traffic as a result.

On the other hand all they have really done is fulfil the needs of Google’s algorithm. They haven’t thought about the actual people who will read the content. And that is a massive marketing fail, a monster-sized oversight.

Having explored a load of valueless gumph, I was thrilled to come across a couple of articles from The Telegraph newspaper further down page 1 of the search results, which made me feel a bit more confident in Google’s abilities to separate the wheat from the chaff. They gave me exactly what I was looking for: straightforward, direct answers to my question, provided by experts I can trust to tell the truth.

If you were wondering whether or not you need to remove moss from a tiled roof, here’s what you need to know. Is moss on my slate roof friend or foe? and Property clinic: ignore the myths – love your moss provide the answer.

A vital lesson for inexperienced content marketers

If you’re an inexperienced content marketer, don’t forget to take a human audience into account as well as search engine algorithms. You should create content that doesn’t just please Google but also fulfils the needs of living, breathing people. Otherwise you’ve only tackled half the brief, and you won’t get the results you expect. If you’re a quality content creator like The Telegraph, you already know that your human audience matters. Thank you!

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Category: copywriting and marketing

By Kate Goldstone - ()

Originally from Middlesbrough, I lived in Brighton for many years before moving to North Devon. I've had a passion for words all my life and this is my twelfth year as a freelance writer. In my spare time I draw, paint, carve wood and rock, garden, read, write poetry and enjoy long distance hiking. I sing and play the recorder. I collect modernist paintings, vintage rugs and mid-century German art pottery. I'm a member of The Poetry Society. And I am a volunteer shepherd, a Lookerer.

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  1. Jenny Forest says:

    Love your honesty about everything in life.

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