If you’ve been in printing for a while, you know that there’s really no such thing as the perfect print project. Regardless of how meticulous the proofers are, something will get missed. You’re good at what you do, so the mistakes are minuscule; usually it’s something that you find when you pick up the completed project, but no one else will ever see it.
You probably look at your website in much the same way that you do a finished brochure or an invitation set. There are a couple of things that you’d like to correct – the header font needs to be a little larger and the line spacing is off in a few places. You’d like to fix it, but it’s not a big thing and you really don’t feel like fooling with the backend of the website today.
You’re missing something
Checking a website isn’t at all like proofing for print. Sure, the spelling is important, but it’s the content that really counts. Among other things, Google and the other search engines are looking for unique content. Their robots index topical keywords that are used to determine relevance in their search algorithms – the complicated formulas that the search engines use to determine who comes up at the top of the search results.
Lack of unique content is a big problem for printing companies, especially for smaller firms who use boilerplate websites from several of the web development companies who specialize in print.
Are you up for an experiment?
Let’s try a little test that will illustrate the problem. I’ve pulled some boilerplate content from a printer’s website – two sentences from the Company Culture page. Here they are:
We love what we do. The passion we have for our work enables us to take ownership of our clients’ projects.
Now for the experiment, copy the sentences and paste them into the Google Search engine. You might be surprised at the results. Here’s what I got:
Google lists 369,000 results. I’m skeptical that there are this many exact replicates, but there are literally pages of printers with exactly the same text on their site. It’s a safe bet to assume that these two sentences aren’t the only repeated content on those sites.
Why is duplicate content a problem?
For a couple of reasons. First, duplicate content creates an attribution problem for the search engines. When content is duplicated across many websites, Google and the others can’t identify the original information. They don’t know which version to rank for query results. This is a search engine optimization problem. Duplicate content can affect your page ranking. If you want to read more about this, here’s a link to a short article from Moz.com.
The second reason is similar, but relates more to human consumers of content that the search engine robots. Most of the boilerplate content is bland. It’s written to describe a generic printing company. It does nothing to set you apart from the rest.
Here’s another extract that may sound familiar:
Our mission is to provide you with the highest-quality products and services possible in a timely fashion and at a competitive price.
Want to see how many printing companies have the same mission statement? Try the Google experiment again. You’ll quickly understand that statements like this do nothing to establish value for your company. They’re immediately rejected by readers who are looking for substance, useful information, and a differentiating factor that can compel them to learn more.
What’s the fix?
No, you don’t have to dump your website. Many of the website platforms for printers provide very good value in terms of functionality – the mechanics of getting an estimate, placing an order, or creating an online catalog for a client’s products. It’s the content that’s the problem, and the simple solution is to change it. Replace the boilerplate with new information that is custom to your printing business and that differentiates you from competitors.
Sure, there’s some work and time required, but the results can be well worth the effort. Instead of a website that gets lost among the duplicates, triplicates, and quadruplicates, you’ll have unique content that’s findable. In the process, you can learn how to continually create fresh content that will help your SEO ranking and how you can integrate your website with other marketing activities.
Need some help? That’s what I do at DP Marketing Services. I can work with you to create unique content that describes and differentiates your business and help you get it online using your existing print website platform or a content management system like WordPress or Joomla. If your website is flunking the content test, let’s talk.