When I’m writing newspaper or magazine articles I don’t worry about SEO ideas like unique content and unique value. My research and writing is original and I have no worry that I will be ranked lower due to repetitive content. But because I often have to rewrite news stories for my Vancouver employer I should probably learn more about these related subjects.
I’ve touched on unique content before (internal link). Copying a story word for word produces no unique content. Google doesn’t like that. So we rewrite. Substantially rewriting a story produces a higher unique content simply by using different words than in the original story. Run your variation through Copyscape (external link) to see how it passes. Let’s take an extreme example.
A famous Melville quote goes like this:
“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”
One might rewrite it thus:
I’m coming after you Mr Unstoppable Whale, rowing to you in my longboat. I’m going to fight you to the end, chuck my spear into you, and, just because I hate you so much, spit on your watery grave.”
This would achieve a 0% match with the original. You’ve just rewritten a story that Google should now see as unique content. But you’ve added no unique value. Nothing of your own has been added.
Rewriting the whale story with unique value would mean more than adding a quote from Wikipedia or a purloined anecdote from a whale expert at the Discovery Channel. Ideally, you would bring in your own original experiences with a whale, along with original images.
This is totally impossible, of course, when you have to rewrite news stories that are breaking and have to be posted immediately. Perhaps the best we can achieve is a rewrite. But how much of a rewrite? We certainly don’t have time for 100% unique. What then? 50% unique? 25%?
I’m still mulling over these ideas. A great video presentation on the topic is at the link below. Check it out to learn about a vexing problem in our information age: