The State of Content Aggregation
It’s no secret that autoblogging has a rather questionable reputation in the blogosphere.
Autoblogging refers to information that is scraped automatically (typically through a plugin) and ultimately published on your blog. There is virtually no limit to the type of content you can retrieve, including posts, images, and other material.
This technique, also known as content aggregation, was a fairly powerful way to build and maintain your blog during the mid-late 2000s. Admins would simply configure their tool of choice and then sit back while performing minimal work.
Eventually search engine giants like Google began to evolve, as end-users were noticing more repeated (or otherwise low-quality) content within search results.
Websites that relied exclusively on autoblogging were promptly removed from search results or were pushed down into oblivion.
And this, my friends, effectively put autoblogging to rest…
….. Or did it?
Autoblogging is Now More Powerful than Ever
To be clear: If you were wondering how to start a blog without ever lifting a finger, i’m afraid you’re out of luck. You see, the days of slapping something together and receiving an endless amount of traffic are long gone.
That being said, autoblogging is actually very powerful to this day, but only if you put some additional effort on your part.
In fact, a website that adapts aggregation features can become much better today than ever before:
- There is less competition in the autoblogging landscape, thanks to Google’s efforts
- Content aggregation plugins have gotten considerably better
- You can optimize your site while still abiding by the rules
These points alone can give you a major advantage over blogs that don’t rely on autologging whatsoever – as long as you implement some creativity along the way.
How to Make Autoblogging Work
Let’s talk more about the aforementioned “ongoing effort” required, and the best ways to make content aggregation work for you.
Option one: Create a hybrid blog consisting of original and syndicated content combined.
As autoblogs mainly consist of previously-published content, you shouldn’t expect to receive any organic traffic from Google. Why? Because it normally ranks the original content over its copied counterpart.
Thus, publishing original content will ensure you receive organic traffic for your chosen keywords. This may also increase your blog’s overall usefulness as it neatly complements and strengthens the syndicated portion of your blog.
Option two: Create a purely-syndicated website with no original content.
While I personally prefer the first option, there are ways to be successful with a blog that features no original content of any kind. This may consist of videos, images, audio, text, or a combination of everything.
Now let’s look at some real-life examples as a means of backing up the above two options.
Gather Interesting YouTube Videos
We all know how cats took over the internet, especially after YouTube arrived at the scene. Much like avid kitty lovers, there are plenty of other animals people enjoy watching on a daily basis; this is your chance to import a niche selection and grow an amazingly fun website.
Let’s say you focus on birds – all shapes and sizes. For each video published on your blog, you could write a brief description by dissecting exactly what takes place in the footage. This gives you a chance to add a unique spin or humorous commentary.
In addition, this small effort helps with your blog’s SEO while removing much of the legwork, as you won’t have to manually add relevant videos yourself.
The sky truly is the limit here: Think of niche tutorials, music genres, classic TV clips, product evaluations, and much more for your blog.
Aggregate the Latest News
This is perhaps the most common and natural idea. As news pieces never stop coming, there will always be something to show your blog audience.
Let’s say your blog is about science and technology. In this case, dedicate a page to the latest (aggregated) news and breakthroughs to complement your original content in between.
Readers could naturally visit your blog for the newest smartphone review (originally written by you), while simultaneously reading a related piece of aggregated news afterward.
And as your site will be updated 24 hours a day thanks to the power of aggregation, this could become the go-to place for many readers over time. It helps to have the best of both worlds.
Create a Niche Job Board
One of my websites actually displays remote writing gigs from all over the web. The gigs come to the end-user instead of them manually scouring the internet to find them, thus saving them a lot of valuable time.
Meanwhile, I post a fair share of original content to help elevate authority and bring in additional traffic.
These aggregated jobs have proven highly successful and many users return everyday to find new home-based gigs with ease.
Can you think of other niche jobs to add to your website? There are plenty of professions out there; make it easy by gathering them in one place job seekers will love you for it.
Feature Niche Posts/Links
Networking and building relationships is crucial for long-term success as a blogger. While you could certainly go at it alone, your connections to fellow solopreneurs helps elevate your status as they expose you to their own audience over time.
A good way to accomplish this is to link to their latest blog posts, and this is where autoblogging functions come in handy.
Create a separate page showcasing your favorite bloggers’ latest posts (as links) via RSS feeds. A content aggregator plugin can further refine your results through the use of filters and other related options.
The above also gives your audience even more to read, as they’d happily check out an article from your favorite bloggers due to their relevancy.
Build a Robust Directory
Autoblogging allows you to get even more creative by constructing an extensive directory – either niche or fairly broad.
Take a look at AllTop, for example. These guys have formed a gigantic blog directory that consists of blog RSS feeds in every conceivable category. This has made AllTop stand out as one of the best places to discover new blogs and interesting topics.
Contrary to the aforementioned idea (featuring posts from your favorite bloggers), a full-fledged directory would showcase a more extensive/broad list that ultimately link back to the original source.
Think of other ideas you’d like to bring together, as it could become wildly popular depending on how convenient it is for the end-user.
It’s highly recommended that you follow option #1 above, as publishing both new and aggregated content (at the same time) works like a charm.
How to Make the Best of Autoblogging
Here are some additional tips to truly leverage aggregated content…
I personally rely on WP RSS Aggregator along with some complimentary add-ons, including Keyword Filtering to get only the exact content I need. This has been a life-saver for me over time, as it’s elevated my online business passively and with minimal effort.
Do you wish to bypass original content – and therefore organic traffic – altogether? In that case, Leverage social media and popular niche communities. Organic search should only be a portion of your overall traffic, not the primary source.
Don’t be afraid of “losing traffic to other bloggers” by aggregating their links. As they begin to notice additional traffic and backlinks from your blog, this can naturally lead to better relationships over time. You may then ask them to share your content as a favor and make this a win-win situation.
Regardless of your idea, ensure you have the rights and permissions to display all aggregated content – especially when it comes to full-fledged pieces as opposed to mere links.
As you can see, autoblogging is very much alive – and I speak from personal experience. It merely requires a bit of creativity, especially when mixing it with original content.
Think of the material you could aggregate, the helpful directories you could build, the potential relationships you could develop, among other great ideas.
Best of luck!