AutoBlogging is a popular marketing and income strategy and one that can be a great way to build links, park a domain, or earn income from affiliate or ppc advertising. But too often beginners make mistakes that end up getting their hosting accounts suspended, their site flagged as spam, or even get their domain banned from the search engines. To truly be successful with autoblogging you need a long-term strategy that will ensure your site will pay for itself over time.
Autoblogs can be successful if you avoid some of the most common beginners mistakes:
1. Copying The Whole Internet
The single most common mistake beginners make is to want to copy too much content into their blog in the hopes that it will drive more search traffic to their site. But this strategy will never last in the long run. A site that grows way too big way too fast is a huge red flag for search engines. Furthermore, too much content will dillute your keyword focus and prevents you from ranking too high in any particular niche. A large site is also very visible and more likely to get flagged as spam and certainly won’t pass a manual review. Most importantly, platforms such as WordPress simply cannot handle huge sites without a significant hardware investment.
The best strategy is to build a very targeted niche site slowly over time.
2. Not Being Useful
If you are building an autoblog, you should ask yourself if you yourself would ever bookmark the site or even subscribe to its RSS feed. If the answer is no, you are probably just building a site that provides no value and likely pollutes search engine results. Chances are this site will eventually be marked as spam and will likely get banned completely from search engines. Rather than just building content, focus on building useful content. For example, create a site that serves as a portal for a very specific topic or type of content. By making the site useful you are adding value and are much less likely to get marked as spam.
3. Copying Full Articles
Many beginners want to build their autoblog by copying entire articles from other sites. While this may drive traffic to your site for the short term, it certainly won’t take long for content authors to get annoyed and report your site to Google as spam or to issue a DMCA notice to your web host. While there are a small number of cases where using full articles is acceptable, most of the time it is simply copyright infringenment and never a good long-term strategy.
However, using short excerpts is much more courteous and usually falls under fair use which avoids copyright infringement issues. By having small excerpts from a variety of sources also helps to avoid duplicate content penalties–instead of your site being a one-for-one copy of another site, you have small excerpts from multiple sites.
Another similar mistake is to copy an entire blog. Again, this a strategy that will quickly get your site banned from search engines. Instead, pull from a variety of sources and avoid too much content from a single source.
Keep in mind that content doesn’t have to be unique to be useful; sometimes how you aggregate the content is what gives it value. Google News is nothing more than content aggregated from media outlets all over the world, but presented and sorted in a way that is useful for readers.
4. Content Spinning
One of the biggest and most amateurish of mistakes is to try to spin articles in an effort to avoid duplicate content penalties. Content spinning is the process of taking an article and swapping out certain words or phrases based on a thesaurus lookup. This strategy rarely results in proper phrases and any human who reads your content will quickly spot it as spun content; it reads like a poorly translated instruction manual. Anyone who has ever visited a site with spun content knows how fast you will hit that browser’s back button; you certainly aren’t going to be lingering long enough to be clicking on the site’s ads. Any site that uses this strategy will never pass a manual review and certainly will never remain in the search engines for long.
5. Not Giving Credit
Newcomers to autoblogging often want to remove attribution and links to the original articles, thinking that providing links will only lead users off their site. But if your site gets banned from search engines you won’t have any traffic to drive anywhere. One of the most common reasons for autoblogs getting marked as spam is because a content author reports it to the search engines. One way to prevent that is to give proper credit and link to the original content. Many bloggers will appreciate (or at least tolerate) a short excerpt that links to their site and helps their search ranking as well, especially if you ask their permission first. But if you take the content and present it as if it were your own, chances are high that others will report your site as spam.
And don’t use nofollow tags on these links. Using nofollow won’t improve your own link juice, Google has stated that nofollowed link value is just lost, but allowing search engines to follow the link will help to benefit the original content authors. The small courtesy of providing a followed link goes a long way with those who wrote the content you are using.
6. Not Being Honest
Many people go to great lengths to make their autoblog look anything but automated. But sometimes the opposite is a better strategy. There’s nothing wrong in providing a disclaimer in the blog footer that says that the site is automatically generated from articles written by others. It also helps to provide an about page that explains this in more detail and provides a contact from if a particular blogger wants to be excluded from your site.
7. Not Spending Time on Design
The design and professionalism of your autoblog will go a long way in helping you pass a manual search engine review. Buying a well-designed WordPress theme and taking the time to customize the site helps the overall presentation and helps to justify its usefulness. It is pretty easy to spot a site where little time was spent on the design and customization of the theme. On the other hand, carefully selected advertisements, widgets, outgoing links, and other finishing touches go a long way to making your site not look like spam.
Think of the Long Term Quality
Rather than building massive autoblog networks that are simply scraping content and will quickly get banned, take the time to slowly build great-looking and useful blogs that will be around for years. Sometimes it is also good to focus less on traffic and more on long-term link building to complement other higher income sites. Recent changes in Google’s ranking system does penalize some content farms and autoblogs, but a well-built site that is useful and has regular visitors is not likely to be penalized.