Regardless of which algorithmic era we’re in, content has always been the most important aspect of SEO. The Google Panda update was first released in February 2011, and updates were noticeable about once a month from that point on until March 2013 when Google announced the updates would become less frequent, and less noticeable to website owners.

A “slow rollout” was released of Panda 4.2 on July, 18th 2015 that had a lot of website owners worried needlessly. The update was designed to be more website friendly, and more finely tuned so it only affects websites that truly are low-quality sites. The main purpose of the Panda algorithm is to look at the content on a website, and with such finely-tuned skills that only seem to get better with time, the updates have eliminated the ability to push low-quality content, duplicated content, or incorrectly authored content onto a site and still rank well.

Now that the Panda algorithm has been around for a while, and Google has had the time to tweak it, the updates are actually proving to be more helpful than harmful to many small business owners who have done things correctly with their content, whether self-written or outsourced.

Content gives your website substance. Content tells Google what your website’s about, allowing them to rank it accordingly. But content isn’t always easy to produce. In fact, it can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of SEO. Outsourcing content is a great way for website owners to quickly add fresh and valuable content to their websites and help increase their rankings, but with so many updates, should you still be outsourcing for content?

Thanks to split testing and research, we now know Google’s new algorithm can analyze your content. We know that high-quality content is becoming more important to rankings every day. Google is looking for content that answers a question, explains something valuable to the reader, or at the very least, provides information that may want or need.

In the past, content outsourcing was a numbers game. Many internet marketers outsourced to foreign countries like India to get hundreds of articles written for bargain prices. In general, outsourced content was designed to help the website’s rank by providing Google with keywords—and lots of them. Do you remember the content that never seemed to make sense? The nonsense that was loaded onto top ranking sites was stuffed with keywords. It was easy back in the day to find writers that would deliver high-ranking content for you cheap, and they are still around, but the difference is…they can’t get you higher rankings, but they can get you penalized…quickly!

Fast forward to today. Publishing content on your website that resembles “keyword soup” is a surefire way to damage your website’s rankings. The search engine giant no longer looks to keywords to rank content on a website, but to the quality. Thank god! It was a nightmare in the past, inputting a keyword or keyword phrase into Google to be slammed with top sites that supposedly matched your search, only to find they had NOTHING to do with the keyword. Now people search in a much smarter way, by asking a question to the search engines, and Google is aware of this, therefore, the changes have taken place, and continue to do so.

It’s still possible to outsource content, though, as long as you know what to look for. In today’s article, we’ll talk about how to outsource in a way that won’t harm your website in the eyes of Google…or your visitors.

Forget 500 Word Articles

First and foremost, the days of “500-word articles” are over. 

With the latest algorithm updates, websites with fewer yet lengthier articles are ranking above websites with hundreds of pages of 500-word articles. This is because Google’s new algorithm is specifically designed to determine whether or not a website is providing value to its visitors. 

In general, 500 words is an awkward length for a reader. It’s long enough to get you reading but too short to deliver any real value (for the majority of topics). 

It’s far better to have a handful of lengthier (750-3,000 words) articles than hundreds of 500-word articles. So if you’re worried about outsourcing making a dent in your wallet because you need longer content, simply use the same budget but order fewer articles. Most website owners have discovered that articles of at least 1,000 words are most informative. Anything less and it is really hard to get a valuable point across. But, the length is not nearly as important as the quality of what the article has to say. Read on…

How Valuable Is Your Content?

Now, it’s important to realize that valuable content is our main goal here. Word length doesn’t really matter – as long as visitors are gaining value from the content on your website. If what you have to say only takes 400, 500…600 words, then great! The trick is to find your sweet spot when writing, and never force more words just for the sake of adding more words; Google is smarter than you think.

In the majority of cases, though, longer articles provide more value than 500-word articles. This brings me to the main point of this article: your content must provide value. Outsourcing cheap content is a terrible long-term SEO strategy. 

Google takes visitor behavior into account when ranking your website. Even if you have hundreds of pages of content, if users aren’t sticking around or returning (high bounce rates and low return rates), your website isn’t going to rank well. You need content that pulls the reader in, makes them want more and keeps them on your site long after they finish the read.

If you usually order 50 articles from India for $50, why not order one high-quality article for the same price? If you see a problem with this, you need to understand bulk content does NOT help rankings—especially if your content is riddled with grammatical errors.

Quality over quantity… always. Anything else will put your website at risk for future Google penalization.

Hire SEO Knowledgeable Content Providers

If you can find one, hire a content provider who’s knowledgeable in SEO.

No, I’m not talking about an “SEO writer.” These are writers who write generic content and put keywords in it. We don’t want generic content; we want content that provides value to our readers. If your writer understands post-Panda SEO, they’ll understand exactly what kind of content both you and Google want. 

It’s not always possible to locate an SEO expert writer. If you come across one, though, realize hiring one can make your life a lot easier when it comes to content creation.

There are still plenty of freelance writers out there that will try to stuff keywords into a generic article and call it an SEO-friendly article. That would have been fine pre-Panda, but not post-panda!

Do You Need to Outsource?

Lastly, before you outsource content creation, it’s important to ask yourself if you truly NEED to outsource. If this is something you can write yourself, or that ONLY you can truly write it correctly and effectively, then take the time to do so.

Unless you’re willing to spend a significant amount of money per article, the quality of your outsourced content may be questionable. Additionally, bulk content doesn’t influence rankings.

So if you haven’t been writing your own content because you don’t have time to write articles every day, realize you can probably get away with writing one article every few days. Of course, when you do write an article, it should be longer than 500 words and provide value to its readers.

Keep in mind, your business’s reputation is in the hands of whoever is creating the content on your site. Poorly written content or content that misses on the value you are trying to provide to your readers can harm your reputation not only with the readers but with the search engines. Getting hit with a Google penalty can be devastating, especially to a small business that doesn’t have the means to repair the damage done by the penalty in a timely manner.

It is easier, more efficient, and cost-effective to create the content yourself unless you find a writer who understands your goals, has a strong grasp on your topic, and that can provide your business with valuable content. 

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Here at, we hate to sound like broken records. But it’s true: if you don’t have a valuable website, you won’t rank well. 

If you’ve been following this website, you’ll understand exactly why it’s important to only outsource if you’re certain you’ll get high quality in return.

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