The concept of “content curation” has been around for a few years. Content curation refers to the research and gathering of the best and most relevant articles related to a particular topic, and then presenting them in an interesting and useful way for other users. This is similar to what a museum curator does when he or she is collecting items for a museum. Similar items are typically grouped together by the curator. The term “content curator” is used is used to describe a writer or editor who performs this duty on a web site.
At its best, content curation results in a web site where users who are interested in a specific topic will repeatedly visit to read the latest news related to their favorite topic. An expert content curator will develop a community of followers.
At its worst, the concept is abused by content thieves who are too lazy to write their own content and therefore either steal content or try to rewrite articles developed by others.
The Need to Add Value and Avoid Duplicate Content Issues
Curation is much more than simply collecting articles. A good curator will find the very best articles and provide a unique summary and should attempt to inject an insightful opinion regarding the topic of each article. Devote followers will be looking for the curator’s perspective on an article and may value that as much as the actual article itself.
Do not just copy an article from another web site, even if you have the original author’s permission. You will run afoul of Google’s Panda algorithm if you do so. Instead, provide a summary, inject your unique viewpoint, and provide an obvious link to the original article.
In a recent interview with Eric Enge, Matt Cutts who is Google’s head of the webspam team, broached the topic of content curation during a discussion about what makes a quality web site. Eric raised the issue of numerous curation services are popping up to provide content for web sites.
From Matt’s viewpoint, “…what is the value add? Does it really make sense that visitors to your site are going to be looking to see your opinion on the latest content out there? If the information stream is coming from a third party service and you aren’t involved in anyway, except for providing a place to publish it, this may be something that you might want to decide not to do.” In other words, if the content is not unique and does not reflect your opinion, it will probably not rank very well and you are unlikely to gather followers.
Keep in mind that since the introduction of Google’s Panda ranking algorithms, a page using content that is the same or similar to that of other web pages will probably never rank well. Even “article spinning“, where the article may be reworded, is not likely to get past Google’s filters.
What Content Curation is Not
It is not a collection of articles gathered from the web and re-published. That will pretty much guarantee that the articles will never rank well. The content curation process cannot be automated. Sites that simply gather and re-publish articles, regardless of the quality, will never qualify as curation sites. Success requires an interesting perspective and valuable insight about a topic in order to attract followers.
How to Find the Best Current Articles
The first step is to learn who the best writers are in your chosen niche. These are the people who are looked up to as the gurus who already have their own league of loyal fans. Subscribe to their RSS feeds and make a list of popular sites that you will visit every day.
How To Add Content Curation to a Web Site
Plan to spend time each day searching for current articles related to a specific niche. Identify the best articles, write your own perspective on the topics, and link to the original article. Provide summaries and insight about the articles you reference.
Some entire web sites are built around the content curation concept, but a News section or a commentary section related to news in your industry can also suffice. The idea is to provide a centralized point where users can find summaries of the latest information related to their industry, where they can then quickly decide if the want to read the details of any of the articles by visiting the site where the article originates. The idea is to provide one-stop-shopping for people looking for daily information.
It is also a good idea to promote your viewpoints through Twitter Tweets, Facebook postings or Google Plus Streams. The idea with content curation is to gather a following of people who want to read what you have to say. This is not easy to do, and you will probably find out soon enough if no one is interested.
- DO spend time searching for, evaluating, and selecting the very best and most relevant current articles focused on a topic each and every day.
- DO write an article reflecting your unique perspective and insight and reference the original article.
- DO provide users with a link to the original article.
- DO promote your writing through social networks. Build a community of followers.
- DO NOT duplicate or copy articles, or even major sections of articles found on other web sites. If you do this, your articles will probably get penalized as duplicate content.
- DO NOT try to rewrite the original articles. Content curation requires your perspective, whether or not you agree with the original author’s viewpoint.