Understanding Online Content Curation

Understanding Online Content Curation

 Like fashion, Internet Marketing and SEO promotional techniques are often recycled and “re-launched” as something new and exciting. Much of this applies to the way content is published and syndicated online. One of these models is content curation.

Chances are you are already curating content online in some form without even being aware of it. It is important for you to understand how online content curation fits into your overall marketing campaign.

Curating content means that you are quoting an existing content source, already published online.

The Need for Content

Content is the driving force behind the internet. When maintaining a website, publishing content on a regular basis is very important. If you are using search engine marketing promotion you already know just how much content you need to keep your campaigns running smoothly. The problem most of us face is where to get all this content from.

With the introduction of Google Panda updates, several content creation and syndication tactics got slapped. Specifically Panda targeted duplicate content, content farms and shallow content. So if you were quoting or syndicating large portions of content from other websites without adding much else you were probably the target of the Panda wrath.

So what was wrong with content farms? – These websites take content from all over the web, syndicate it and achieve a consistent posting regime.


The content farms themselves were low authority sites with a jumble of disambiguated articles and other content and to make matters worse they weren’t adding any value to the content. Value being the keyword here.

In addition, Google is now implementing social parameters in their ranking algorithm, curating social content is also a new phenomenon used to bring more visitors to your website. So how can you make sure your website stays associated with the right social demographic?

This is where targeted content curation can be a real help.

Online Content Curation – The Concept

Content creation as it relates to your on-line activities is the act of ensuring that you have authoritative relevant content on your site, blog, fan page, etc. If your site revolves only around yourself you are providing a somewhat limited picture to the world. There is value in discussion and providing additional references.

I am not suggesting you create a completely curated content site. Integrating other people’s content in your site can alleviate your efforts in content generation and provide you with current topics to discuss.

The concept of content curation is simple – you read something interesting, valuable and relevant to your site somewhere online. You then quote an excerpt of this information, discuss it / add to it / question it, while providing a link to the source. The main thing here is to add some value.

Content Curation – The Process

To effectively curate the best content from the Web, you will need to have a clear understanding of what your site is about and who your demographic is.  Once you know this you will need to establish a data funnel.

The Content Curation Data Funnel

Create a Content Funnel for your Online Content Curation A data funnel is simply a collection of good quality reliable, authoritative, and most importantly relevant information sources.

For this you may use Google Alerts.

The first step to creating a good data funnel is to identify your content sources and keep an open mind in finding new authoritative sources.

Nowadays, Twitter and Google Plus are considered to be at the forefront of breaking news, however if it’s not firsthand real time information you are after, then there are many other great content sources.

Gathering topical information online can be done using RSS readers and more recently new social news and content sites that get content from Twitter and the web such as Storify Flipboard, and Paper.li revolve around this concept.

One of the hottest content curation sites currently on everyone’s radar is Pinterest. When you curate images with Pinterest, copyright attribution is automatically built in to the system.

There are many other sources for great content, getting to know your niche and who the authority figures are is imperative for good content curation.

Can Content Curation be Automated?

Many people think that content curation can be an automated process. Think again. You must have a human editor aspect to actually filtering out the gems and then adding something to create a full article or post. It is the act of human editors adding their work to the computer programs that gather, collate, organize and filter content that adds value to various bits of information.

For now and the foreseeable future this process cannot be automated! There is always a human element to content curation.

Do’s and Don’ts in Curating Content for your Website

Filtering and Enhancing Your Curated Content Online

If you want to attract and keep a group of subscribers then your curated content has to be interesting and the majority of the content you post must be relevant to your subscribers. To attain this you need to apply a filter to the content you collect and then add some value to anything you save.

For example if you are curating a site dedicated to motorcycles, you might want to use part of a Suzuki press release and discuss the launch of their new model.

Your site should ideally contain a mix of content, curated content should represent a certain percentage of this.

The most successful curators are those who know the boundaries of the collection they are trying to maintain, understand their subscribers and have a well established data funnel.

In much the same way as curator of your site you should focus on a few really good high authority pieces of information to stand apart which are refreshed frequently rather than dumping in every unedited un-reviewed piece of information that appears vaguely relevant.

So the next time you’re tempted to visit a content farm and dump any old content on your page because it’s been a while, think again. What would a serious content curator do?

Here is an interesting interview with Robert Scoble, well known tech curator on how to become a content curator:


  1. says

    Thanks for clarifying content creation and sharing the Scoble interview. Very helpful. We are investigating content curation for a series of articles directed to our advertising/marketing professionals membership. I still have concerns about curation as a smart tactic since Google Panda was put in place. Have you seen any data on whether curated sites are losing search positioning since Panda was launched?

    • says

      Hi Deb,

      Thanks for your comment and excellent question.

      There are several reasons why content curation is a good way to go in light of Google Panda:
      1. Allows you to post more frequently to your site – supports the caffeine update
      2. Include outgoing links to high authority sites, thereby establishing yourself as part of that circle.
      3. Provide a wider scope of information to your visitors and subscribers.

      You do want to keep in mind:
      a. Content curation should be a certain percentage of your content – not all of it.
      b. When curating content make sure you add your own perspective and value. There is no point in just duplicating content without adding your own relevance. Many people fall into this trap – which could hurt you with Panda…

      Some of the most highly trafficked and high authority sites are built on the content curation model. For example take a look at TechCrunch

      I hope this clarifies some of the important aspects of content curation for you.

      I will be happy to look over your planned article series content and let you know if you are in the right direction. Simply contact me to let me know.

      Take action and have a great day!


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