What is content curation in SEO? How to make content work for your website

by Gill Fernley

Content creation is a pivotal part of any SEO strategy, so find out how it can help your business get found…

Knowing what you’re doing with Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is hugely important for any site. No one wants to fall foul of the search engines or see their hard work on content go to waste because it’s never seen by anyone.

Most people will know that at, the very least, you need to have high quality, well-keyworded content to get your site seen. While there are many other moving parts to good SEO, content curation is one technique that can make all the difference, especially to new sites, with very little content. But what is content curation in SEO? And why use it?

Table of Contents

What is content curation in SEO?

Content curation is simply the process of searching for and collecting together existing content on a particular subject, so you can share what you’ve found on your website as a new piece of content. It’s an important part of outreach SEO, where you build relationships with other people and earn links back to your site.

The idea is to decide on a topic that you know your readers are interested in, find and quote excellent content already written on the subject, and then add your own thoughts to create a new piece of content.

Doesn’t that create duplicate content? Well, in a way it does and, of course, the search engines are not fans of duplicate content and they do penalise sites that have it. But there are ways to do content curation correctly.

Benefits of content curation in SEO

Take a look at our rundown of what you stand to gain from content creation for SEO:

Build a store of site content

If you’re just starting your website and trying to get into blogging regularly, you may have found that it’s not always easy to think of things to write about. Not only that, but with little content on your site, you won’t rank highly in the search engines initially. Writing everything yourself can take time, but good content curation, on the right topics, can quickly bump up the content on your site and help your site rankings.

Earn valuable backlinks

As Moz puts it:

“Backlinks are especially valuable for SEO because they represent a ‘vote of confidence’ from one site to another.”

If you get a link to your site from another website, they’ll usually be linking to you because they like what you’ve got to say and they found your content valuable. Not only is this great social proof, but the search engines love it too. The more backlinks you have, especially from sites with high authority, the more your site is going to rise in the rankings and be seen as important, both by readers and by the search engines.

With content curation, you’re creating backlinks for other sites, which sounds counterintuitive. But as your site grows and becomes an excellent resource, it will become a valuable backlink to have and people will appreciate you linking to them. Many of them will then link back to you, giving you high-value backlinks in return. It’s a virtuous circle, and one that can really help your site’s reputation and rankings.

Get social shares

Great content, whether it’s freshly written or curated, gets shared! Readers love to find great resources on subjects they’re interested in and if they love what you’re doing, you’ll benefit from social shares of your content too. Again, this helps with social proof and great rankings.

Boost organic traffic

With great content that readers love, your site is going to attract organic traffic the more your rankings improve. That means you don’t have to go out there and work as hard just to get eyeballs on your site. The more organic traffic reading your great content, the more social shares, the more rankings, the more organic traffic. We’d call that win-win-win.

Bonus: It’s (mostly) content you didn’t have to write!

Writing takes time and, if you’re paying a professional content writer, it also costs money. While you do have to write something with content curation (we’ll come onto that later), when you use a keyword strategy you’re not having to think up an original idea from scratch and write it. You’re simply adding to what’s already there. That’s quicker and easier to do, and it means you can create content without busting your budget.

What do readers get out of content creation?

They get to easily find a whole lot of resources and information, with original commentary and links to even more information on subjects they’re looking for.

With a range of information from a variety of sites, they’ll also get diverse opinions and different insights.

It’s convenient and easy for them. They don’t have to visit twenty websites to get what they need. They can just visit yours.

How to do content curation correctly

As you are using someone else’s copy, you have to be very careful when curating content:

Break it up

We mentioned duplicate content above, and you don’t want to be caught out on this one, and nor do you want to be accused of stealing someone else’s content. You can use online research but you need to bring your own slant and make it unique to you and your business. Add your own original commentary to snippets from other people’s content; do not copy it wholesale, and ensure you fully credit the authors and creators of the content you’ve quoted.

Take a look at the Brainpickings site, which is an absolute masterclass in content curation. See how the site owner, Maria Popova, uses a great mix of links to other sites, and direct quotes from other people’s writing, with a great deal of insight from her own commentary? That’s how you do content creation right.

You don’t have to be as literary or intellectual as the Brainpickings site. Just write in your own style, choose the topics that match what your site is about and what your readers are looking for, and you’ll be away!

As a ratio, it’s recommended to write at least a couple of paragraphs of your original content for every quote you use from someone else. Not only does that stop any problems with duplicate content, but it also stops any calls of plagiarism, which is also something you can’t afford.

Focus on your target market

Don’t make the mistake of choosing random content just because it’s fun and interesting to you. By all means, look for that too – there’s nothing worse than being bored when trying to create content. But look for content that really is what your audience is looking for. You’ll get far better results and those all-important rankings.

Be choosy!

Don’t just pick any old content. Look carefully at where it’s coming from and who wrote it. Is it high-quality content that reflects well on you because you chose it? Does it provide value to your readers? Does it fit what you’re writing about? Does the site have high authority and a good page rank? All of these things can help to create an excellent article on your site that gives your readers a great experience.

Mix it up

Think outside the box. Most people, when they think of content, automatically think about blog posts, but you could curate a mix of images, video, podcasts, webinars, articles, infographics and more. This mixes it up for your readers and keeps it interesting but, if properly keyworded, your site is going to show up in different areas on Google, like image search, for example. That gives you more ways for organic traffic to find you and, you guessed it, better rankings.

You can find an in-depth look at content curation for SEO on the Curata blog.

✏️  Want to read more about SEO Basics? Check out our seven-part series.

Header image: NordWood Themes 

Embedded images: Solen FeyissaMarkus WinklerTetiana SHYSHKINA

Gill Fernley

Gill Fernley

The director of her own copywriting firm, Gill writes B2B and B2C content for SMEs and digital marketing agencies. She has a background in performing arts and writes conversational, direct sales copy for businesses on a range of topics. She’s also a keen writer of chick lit.