9 Guidelines for Content Aggregators Who Recycle the News

Aggregating great content is just as valuable as creating great content

Content aggregation is sometimes given a bad name, because it’s so easy to do poorly. And it often is.

To be clear, if you’re aggregating content, you’re pulling content from elsewhere and republishing it. If you’re doing it poorly, that’s all you’re doing. If you’re doing it well, you’re following the guidelines below.

The best content aggregators approach the process as an art form. They recognize that many of the top sites on the web are based on content aggregation, and their work allows users to reach new depths on the subject matter they care about.

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One rule followed by great content aggregators – adding value to aggregated content – was discussed in The Rise of the News Aggregator: Legal Implications and Best Practices, published back in 2010 just as content aggregation was expanding into the mass of mainstream content.

The rules and guidelines for great content aggregators

Any publisher running a portal knows generating content and aggregating content go hand in hand.

The initial distrust of content aggregation came after Google penalized websites for poorly aggregating content. The no-value-add content aggregators were giving portals a bad name. Those doing it post Panda and Penguin were seeing major drops in traffic because additional insight wasn’t part of the content.

This is likely the reason that Google’s Eric Schmidt referred to the Internet as a cesspool back in 2008.

When you’re unearthing content to aggregate, remember to:

  • Restate
  • Revalue
  • Provide abstracts
  • Summarize the information
  • Provide a link to the source

Some publishers we have worked with practice content aggregation—every day they publish three posts:

  • One new best practice post (almost always fresh, somewhat evergreen)
  • One updated blockbuster post (recycled)
  • One news post (content aggregation)

The best practice post satisfies the main audience who is looking for tips, tricks, strategies (or recipes, knitting patterns, depending on their niche).

The blockbuster post serves their SEO needs, keeping their top trafficked posts at the top of Google by recycling them.

The news post serves readers who want the latest updates on the niche. These are also shared the most in social media where people crave bitesize news and stats.

These news posts are where content gets aggregated. Every evening a publisher can pick the most interesting news story of the day, and write about it. They will snip paragraphs and quotes from the article, but it’s at least half original content on most days.

Some publishers post short, 300-word news posts, and some do 500+. When possible, they interlink to other articles on the website so that it’s a more robust package than a simple snippet and some basic commentary. They also tackle some more newsy keywords with these posts. The reason why we consider this content aggregation “done right” is because it’s not a clear copy and paste, the publishers should make the content their own and praise the mighty original author, then give their own roundup and thoughts.

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Tips for content aggregators

Tip #1 for content aggregators: Add value to aggregated content. This is a key point mentioned earlier. You must supply additional commentary and context to make your content aggregation worthwhile.

Tip #2 for content aggregators: Link to original articles. This gives your sources proper credit and gives your readers additional content to read.

Tip #3 for content aggregators: Be accurate. Using multiple sources is a staple of great content aggregators. Point out any discrepancies between multiple sources when needed.

Tip #4 for content aggregators: Aggregate worthy information. Quality over quantity is important in online publishing. Find the best information to aggregate, or you’re wasting your audience’s time.

Tip #5 for content aggregators: Empower sources and readers. If you can demonstrate great content aggregation skills, news sources and readers might send you content directly, making your job easier.

Tip #6 for content aggregators: Provide alternate perspectives. Are you able to provide opposite opinions in your content aggregation efforts? Your audience will appreciate it when you can.

Tip #7 for content aggregators: Add anecdotes and personalize stories. Retelling stories in different ways is a valid way of teaching a subject and helps connect with other readers.

Tip #8 for content aggregators: Organize content in a way where readers can find it. This method focuses on using multiple sources, which is what the biggest portals in the world do.

Tip #9 for content aggregators: Use SEO. Not all great content sources understand the framework of the Internet. Search engine optimization may be unfamiliar to them, even if they’re experts in other topics. Great content aggregators understand SEO and help content that isn’t optimized get found.

The basic rule of content aggregation is exposing content that wouldn’t have been found or discussed otherwise. That’s precisely what Google does, and the search engine giant has a bigger built-in audience because of this approach. Google aggregates a lot of content, more than anywhere else.

Since publishers don’t have the chance to compete with Google, in order to stay relevant as content aggregators we must find content that isn’t picked up by search engines and expose it to the right audience. This requires deeper knowledge of domains, a vast array of email newsletter subscriptions, and the ability to research fluently.

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What do you think of content aggregation?  Do you have other tips for quality content aggregation?

This post was originally published in 2012 and is updated frequently.

Comments
    Mike Y.

    NewsReaderReview is currently operating at NewsReaderReview@aol.com. It is collecting many email subscrtptions. Content Aggregation is new to me. I have learned the “old fashioned way,” with many interviews. I learned something about “fair use,” back then. If I have this Content Aggregation, “rightly,” I may Reduce, Reuse and Recycle with some of my own original comment as content. Copyright Mike Yarnal and NewsReaderReview, 2015.

    Reply

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