Your In-Depth Guide to Content Curation

SMS Text
Content Curation

Getting creative is going to be the name of the game for content writers and marketers this year. Google has certainly shaken things up when it comes to links and keywords, but the need for quality content is always going to remain at the forefront of Google’s advice. Content curation is another way to provide this quality content to your readers, and it just so happens to be easier, quicker, and offer more information than traditional article. Why wouldn’t you want to get involved with this type of new technique? Exactly. 

Technically speaking, content curation is actually not a new technique—websites have been using this strategy for years. There are, however, quite a few businesses out there that either have A) misconceptions about what content curation is and therefore purposely avoid it, or B) have never heard of it. In either case, here is the definitive guide to set the record straight and get you inspired.

What Is Content Curation & How Does It Work?

Content curation is all about composing a list full of links to other, related content found around the web. Start by having someone in your marketing department read other blogs or websites in your industry and write a little blurb about the content (for example why you agree or disagree with the article), then add a link to that article and publish it to your blog. In some cases, a website will write a few paragraphs of original content and then include a list of multiple links. The structure is completely up to you. An excellent example of content curation is the SearchCap that you will see on Search Engine Land (see example here). Someone always goes around the web and finds other content that might be useful to readers and then publishes that link on his/her SearchCap page. When it’s all put together, you have a whole new piece of content. Again, it’s entirely up to you how you want to structure your piece.

The Benefits & SEO Effects of Content Curation for Your Website

Below are some of the reasons content curation can help benefit your website and your readers:

  • You improve your relationship with other sites. Whenever you link to another piece of content that website is gaining increased visibility and SEO benefits. They will likely be excited and this is an excellent opportunity to establish more of a relationship for the future (guest posting, sharing, etc.).
  • You increase the amount of quality content on your site. Curating content is considered a very quality piece of content if done correctly, and it’s easy to put together. You can therefore push content out faster than you may have been in the past (but don’t go too overboard). Another way to put it: If you ever had those days where you just couldn’t think of something unique, create a post where you’ve curated content.
  • You open up sharing opportunities. As discussed above, whenever you quote or link back to another company’s content that company will likely want to share. After all, they get benefits because they were mentioned in front of a new audience. On that same note, if your content is shared in front of a new audience you’ll also be getting those same benefits (the benefits work the same way they do when you guest blog).
  • Your readers can learn about new topics. For an added benefit, occasionally choose content that explains a topic you don’t specialize in or would never write about. Giving new information to your readers helps give them insight into another topic, which can help them learn something new – thanks to your site.
  • Gain credibility and knowledge. On that same token, publishing links from other websites so that your readers learn something new gives you credibility. It shows you want the best for your readers. You might even learn something new, which hopefully you can transfer into your own practices.
  • It’s cheaper, easier, and just as effective. As discussed above, it’s easy to put together a content curation piece. You find articles you like that are similar, write a small paragraph about them, publish them, and you’re done.

The benefits are quite clear, but there are other questions to be asked:

What About SEO Considerations?

As long as you are putting actual links to the content you are referencing, you’re completely following Google’s rules and your SEO will not be touched. However, a rule of thumb is to make sure you have a good balance of both. In fact, it’s usually only recommend to have a curated content piece once or twice per week, or one for every 5 pieces of original content. According to one of our older articles covering content curation, SEO Professional Bruce Clay found through research that content curation works as long as it’s accompanied by enough original content. This idea still rings true today and is something you should keep in mind.

A Few Tips: How to Become a Great Content Curator

  • Always include unique content. Again, a piece of content that is curated still needs to have enough original content. Throwing up a bunch of links and nothing more isn’t going to cut it.
  • Only link to high-quality sites. As a reminder –  only include high-quality sites in your list. Google is cracking down on those who link to poor quality sites and you don’t want to be on their radar.
  • Articles must be totally relevant. Have a plan. Having a plan before you write a piece is always a good idea. Have a clear target so you know what to research and what your audience really wants.
  • Focus on all types of content. Include videos, images, whitepapers, infographics, etc. in your list. This will provide more diversity and really gives readers a good variety (which is a huge bonus of curated content in the first place).

Tools to Help You With Your Content Curation Strategy

If you want a little bit of help creating your piece, there are plenty of tools out there to help get you started. Below are five popular tools, but visit this page for an even larger list:

  1. is a free tool where you create boards around a specific subject and look at content others are sharing. People will actually contact you to discuss putting their content on your board, so you don’t have to go looking around the Internet to find great content. Follow the right people and it will come to you.
  2. This tool allows you to create a list about a particular subject and then lets others add to that list. A really cool feature is users can vote up or down on items, so you can eliminate posts people don’t find useful before you create an actual post on your website.
  3. Bundlepost. This tool allows you to set up RSS feeds of content based on keywords. It pulls content for you that is similar to your selected keyword, then you can check out the content and see if you want to include it on your website. It might take a little bit more work than some of the other tools, but it also gives you more options.
  4. Curata. This tool is not free, but it works great for Enterprise companies that are planning on putting out a lot of content. This software finds, organizes, and even shares this content directly onto your blog or website.
  5. Storify. This is another popular tool that allows you to create and monitor different stories. This works best if you want to pull a bunch of information from different sources to create a story (as opposed to just links), but it has a great free version and is easy to set up.

In the end, it’s worth reiterating the idea that content curation should come after you’ve written some great original content of your own. Content curation is great, but a good rule of thumb is to only create a piece like this for every five or six pieces of original content you write. Do you have any tips on content curation or tools that you use? Anything that hasn’t worked for you in the past, either as a reader or a publisher? Let us know your story and your thoughts in the comments below.   Image via Shutterstock

Amanda DiSilvestro

Amanda DiSilvestro

Online Content Editor/Writer at HigherVisibility
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility, a... Read Full Bio
Amanda DiSilvestro
Get the latest news from Search Engine Journal!
We value your privacy! See our policy here.
  • Ranjeet Singh

    I totally loved this post. I have never read such a simple and straight forward explaination of content curation. I am glad i read it. Since ‘Content Curation’ seems to be the next big thing, i am very much interested to explore my limits in it.

    • So glad you liked it! Content curation is going to getting bigger and bigger I think, so definitely not a bad idea to start now. Let us know how it goes!

  • An often overlooked content format. Certainly can prove to be helpful. Thanks for the list of tools!

  • James Halloran

    Thanks for listing some resources! I’ve been hearing a lot about Storify lately, so I think I will check them out this weekend when I have time. Thanks for writing this post! (It’s all more proof I need for a post I’m writing.)

  • Glad it was helpful! I always like when posts list tools just in case!

  • Content Curation has improved the internet by leaps and bounds. In today’s world, people want instant gratification. Content curation often saves people time doing the research themselves. I think that is one reason it is so very effective. It is almost like everyone is working together to save each other time.

    It also opens the door for bolstering relationships and creating new relationships.

    Great article.

  • Awesome post, Amanda! And thanks for the mention of Curata! Lots of great information in here on the use and benefits of curation. There’s one thing I’d like to add as a lot of marketers have a concern about remaining ethical while curating. Curation is ethical when done right! Best practices include giving prominent attribution to the original piece, annotating curated articles with your own insights and making sure that your commentary on the piece is longer than the excerpt you’ve published. We’ve put together an infographic with some more information on our blog:

    Thanks again for the great post!

    • Great! Definitely 6 points you’ll want to check before you get started. Thanks for reading!

  • Really enjoyed the article, especially the listing of benefits.

    One thing I’d add (and is something we talk about a lot with our clients — we offer a content curation and creation platform to enterprises) is that curation is a great way to increase the surface area of your brand. That is, curation is an opportunity to find and comment on content and topics that are adjacent to your brand, and build a much rich portrait of who you are and what matters to you.

    Of course, none of that will work unless you’re adding your voice to the curated content and making sure you stay relevant to both your community and to your brand. But you covered that well :).

  • Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us. It is very helpful information you have given to us from this article. Keep teaching us blogging and help us to be a good blogger.

  • A really good and informative article Amanda. I’m going to be applying some these points. I think it will also help to bring visitors back to the site as I always seem to remember those articles that contain links to other great articles!

  • Thanks for writing such a great article. I wish more people understood how powerful content curation really is.

    I wish I could have gotten a hold of you sooner and gotten my Whizpress software added to your list. Oh well. Maybe next time.

    – Bryan

    • Interesting I haven’t heard of that one yet, but that’s why comments are so great! I will keep it in mind if I ever write about content curation again!

  • Great List , I am already following almost all of them ,But the content curation tools are very new to me .From now Ill try to create my content using those tools. Keep writing

  • Great article, thank you Amanda!
    Would love for you to try out our content curation tool :