What’s with all this bad content? How to avoid crap content!

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Bad content is unfortunately a thing. But what is it and how can companies turn out higher content quality?

In a nutshell, bad content is content where quality is lacking, but what that really means comes back to who is evaluating it. It could be:

Ron Watts Jr. even says that most content out there sucks. 

I throw the term crap content around quite a bit.

The context usually revolves around this:

We have to stop creating crap content.

There’s too much crap out there


At one point I wrote it as CRAP content, which prompted somebody to ask me if that’s an acronym. And yes, indeed it could be, I mean it is. LOL.

Here’s my definition of crap content:



Annoying to


Of course, what that actually means depends on specific audiences. What’s CRAP to some might be useful (not an acronym – ha) to others.

Let’s talk SEO and content

So know your audience and personas, publish and test. See what works. But being annoying won’t create relevance long-term. In fact, it likely will kill relationships and with that the potential for those people to become customers.

And there’s certainly plenty of bad content out there as Ron Watts Jr. attests to.

Creating better content

Here’s to creating better content for long-term relevance to our audience and long-term success for us.

As Ron said during the podcast interview, “I think generally why people can’t do it is they have an over reliance on writing for machines, or even writing for the consumer. They can’t strike that right balance. The reason that I’ve seen that people can’t strike that right balance is that they they won’t use something called subject matter experts.”

He goes on to explain how reaching out to subject matter experts can provide immense value to content by getting insights from people actually working in the field. Using statistics and facts to back up key messages is also critical.

The bottom line is that taking the time to do research and interview experts before creating content can help avoid much of the “crap” content out there. It leads to more insightful, engaging stories that provide true value to audiences.

Writing for humans AND machines

In today’s world, content serves two masters: human readers and search engine robots. Writing effectively for both audiences is key to creating high-quality, high-performing content.

Maddy Osman, author of the book “Writing for Humans and Robots”, joined the podcast to share her insights on optimizing content for people and algorithms. As a content agency owner, she knows firsthand the importance of crafting content that connects with readers while also ranking well in search results.

Follow Core Principles for Clear, Concise Writing

She stressed the need to follow core writing principles like clear language, proper grammar and inclusive word choices. While these may seem basic, adhering to fundamentals helps ensure content is easily digestible for human readers. Short sentences, active voice and avoidance of jargon also boost readability.

As she noted, “It comes down to being very aware of both your desired audience, but also this global internet audience that will inevitably come across your content.” Displaying care and thoughtfulness through word choices shows readers you respect them. Creating a great experience for readers should be a top concern.

Conduct Keyword Research to Connect with Readers

While keyword research is often seen as an SEO tactic, it provides valuable insights into reader intents and interests. As she explained, Google Autocomplete, People Also Ask and Related Searches all surface the questions and concerns real people have around a topic. This human data then informs content direction and helps address reader needs.

Interview Industry Experts to Avoid Bad Content

Searching existing content only goes so far. To create truly unique, authoritative content, brands should connect with subject matter experts. As Maddy shared, interviews with insiders will uncover insights and angles you won’t find through a Google search. This allows you to provide exclusive value readers won’t get elsewhere.

Respecting experts’ time is key, Maddy noted. Prepare thoughtful questions and make the process easy through options like written responses or voice recordings. The insights uncovered will help content stand out.

Optimize for Humans AND Robots to Avoid Bad Content

Writing for people and algorithms requires carefully constructing content using the right ingredients. Follow a recipe that includes:

  • Compelling headlines that speak to reader intents
  • Intro paragraphs that capture attention and explain value
  • Thoughtful formatting using headers, lists and visuals
  • Clear explanations and definitions of key terms
  • Quotes and stats to back up points with credibility
  • Scannability through short paragraphs and bullet points
  • Links to related materials for further learning

Baking in optimization elements like meta descriptions and strategic keyword placement also helps content rank while still putting the reader experience first.

The key is seamlessly integrating both human and robot needs into content architecture. As Maddy put it, “It’s about the formatting, the visuals, the whole reader experience.”

Keep Learning and Improving Your Content Craft

In our digitally driven world, the need for optimized content will only increase. Bad content today can turn into good content later with the right learning curve. Brands must keep evolving their skills and strategies to sustainably meet the content demands of both human and robot users.

As Maddy shared, her motivation for writing Writing for Humans and Robots was helping others improve their content skills to better adapt to the internet age. For brands to cut through the noise, a commitment to continuous learning is essential.

Writing for the robot overlords may feel strange at first. But as Maddy made clear, optimizing for algorithms and reader experience works hand in hand. Brands should embrace content that molds to the digital landscape while still valuing meaningful connections with human audiences. Because in the end, people are still the ones with the power to take action on what you create.

At the end of the day, we need high-quality output and being aware and then going after that goal can help us get there.

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