Content curation has been around a lot longer than you might think. Way back in 2009 the Curation Manifesto set the standard for how to view curation. The point is not to scrape somebody else’s stuff and call it your own. This is not curation – this is stealing.
Instead, curation is about collecting and grouping relevant information together in a cohesive and manageable package. In a very small way this very blog is a type of curation. Each day I do the curation for my site’s social feeds. This means combing through top industry blogs and a few lesser known sites for interesting stuff in content marketing. I then use those links across Facebook, Twitter and my personal Google +. Of course while in the process of posting and interacting I find other helpful stuff, some of which I spread further.
By the end of the day I have a whole heap of new knowledge that goes into buckets of information. It is from these buckets that I find blog topics or research for guides, white papers, etc. The irony is now that my content generation firm has a solid footing, I spend less and less time writing and more and more time reading.
I’m also working on a more obvious curation project, a pure curation feed. You’ll see it up in about a week – when I finally decide the best strategy for such a thing.
In the meantime, here are the major things to remember about curation and how to keep Google off your back.
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1 – Remember that Google is all about user experience. If you are just reposting links or copy from somewhere else that is neither helpful to your users or to your rankings. If on the other hand you handpick articles and put together a cohesive unit with plenty of editorial you have yourself a great user experience. This is the sort of stuff people will link back to, bookmark, etc. This is also the kind of thing Google loves. Google love = higher rankings.
2 – Remember to always give attribution links. If you take an idea from a person’s blog, mention it. This does a lot of things. One, it gives backlink love to the person from whom you got the goods. Two, it lets your readers know that you do more than idle realization. Three, it keeps you from worrying about duplicate content. Even if you paste an entire post of someone else’s – which is how syndication sites work – you are covered with duplication if you make it perfectly clear the article is not your own.
3 – Just like everything else worth doing, consistency is key. Doing curation is just like going to the gym, five days in a row and then nothing for months—it won’t help you. It might make you sore for a couple days (think of that fat ranking boost) but you’ll come down the mountain pretty quick.
4 – Put a face to the name. I see a lot of curation sites nowadays, and though they follow all the rules, somehow they don’t seem legit. When you don’t explain the purpose behind your curation or you don’t name a person or company as a curator it makes your site seem spammy. I can’t tell you how the Google algorithm looks at sites like this, but I can tell you that I bounce out of them pretty quickly. I want to know who’s doing the curation as much as who the original author is, and I imagine (this is a total guess) so does Google.
Have you implemented any curation projects this year? Will you consider it during this second quarter of 2012?