Consistently coming up with content to share with your audience and customers can be challenging. It’s especially tough if you’re focused on serving the customers you already have. Private Label Rights content, (more commonly referred to as PLR content) is one way small businesses and marketers have found to curate content without the frustration of coming up with new ideas or information to share.
What is PLR Content?
PLR content is prewritten content you purchase to use to market your business. It’s typically sold as a niche bundle of short articles so you’re getting multiple pieces of content all created around the same topic. Though it may save you time from creating your own original content and avoiding the “blank page” syndrome so many writers have contended with, it may end up costing you more time and money in the long run.
In content marketing, Private Label Rights is a type of license where an author gives away all or nearly all of their intellectual property rights to their writing. PLR licenses usually include reselling rights, which means the author is free to resell the content time and time again or for a limited amount of time.
PLR Content from the Buyer’s Perspective
Once you buy PLR content, you are free to rebrand as you see fit (with the exception of copyright) for your business. You can change, resell, or repurpose the content a number of different ways under your own business and you don’t have to deal with “blank page” syndrome when faced with coming up with your own marketing content. From a buyer’s point of view, PLR content saves you time and money.
Unfortunately, most people who buy PLR content don’t understand the ways it can hurt their business more than it will help it.
The Downfalls to PLR Content
I once bought a bundle of PLR content. I’m not sure what I thought I would do with it at the time. I think the idea was to see what all the hype was about and to determine if I could become a PLR content creator myself. I was already more than a bit skeptical of the benefits private label rights content could have for those who use content in their affiliate marketing or content marketing endeavors but I needed to see for myself.
Duplicate Content Issues
I plugged some of the PLR text into Google and found word for word, the same text on multiple sites and I dug well into Google’s search results to find anything that didn’t look like a bad copy and paste job.
If I used the content as-is for my own purposes, I would be competing with an unknown number of sites for Google’s attention. Since I likely the first person to purchase (and definitely not the last), I had no idea how many times that content showed up in Google.
Though the content is sold with the understanding and intention that it will be rewritten, or otherwise changed from its original text, many people who purchase it, don’t bother. One reason I can think of is, they don’t know they’re supposed to. They buy the content and then drop it into their site (no wonder it’s such a time saver!!).
Google doesn’t punish sites for having duplicate content but it can still hurt. Why?
Each site that displays the same content is competing against one another for better ranking and traffic in Google (we will assume Google is your search engine because it’s most widely used and recognized). Google has to choose which amongst the duplicates is the best result and because search engines rarely show ALL duplicate results, it takes away the visibility of the other results.
The value of the content’s link can be further reduced as other sites choose between which piece of content to link to. Inbound links are an important part of a website’s ranking and can affect the search results for each duplicate.
This is why when you shop online for a product you often find the exact same description for that product on multiple shopping sites; it’s because they’re all pulling in the same content from the manufacturer. And no one gets Google’s accolades for that.
Consider the Quality
Until you buy the content, you have no idea what kind of quality you’re getting. A PLR content seller should offer a money-back guarantee with the purchase, but not all do. The content may be poorly written, inaccurate, or both. PLR content is often very generic. The person writing it gives just enough basic information with lots of keywords thrown in for good measure (because SEO!) You have to ask yourself, how much rewriting do I want to do? If it were me, I’d probably toss the whole thing, but then that’s money down the drain. And you’re trying to save your bottom line.
If you’re using PLR content for content marketing, the article needs to make sense and have some measure of authority with it. Which leads me to the last downfall:
PLR content doesn’t generally come with an author bio so you don’t know if the author is an expert on the topic. Most PLR sale sites purchase the content from other sites/sellers (remember what I said about being able to repurpose and resell) or they have a revolving door of content creators because most content creators, once they find out how little THEY are making, jump ship.
Another thing about expertise; maybe the content is decently written and has some authority to it, making it very easy for you to rewrite or you find there’s little you want/need to change. If that’s the case, I’d run the content through a plagiarism checker because it’s possible the content was scraped from another website or a piece of content that doesn’t appear online. While you may have well-written content, it just belongs to someone else.
In theory, private label rights content can be beneficial because of the potential to save you time and money. And content marketing is usually where businesses and brands who are unfamiliar with search engine optimization and digital marketing are willing to cut corners.
Unfortunately, I don’t think losing traffic or ranking on Google is worth the little bit of money it might save you. Remember, you still have to rewrite the bulk of the content. PLR content is only meant as an outline or a starting point. You still have to put forth the effort to write, edit, and organize the content so it sounds like it authentically represents your brand and your message.
If your goal is to have high quality, helpful content on your website, then your best option is to write the content yourself or hire a good content marketing writer to write it for you.
Anne Wayman says
Thanks. I’ve never bought or sold any content this way… glad you’ve pointed out the pit falls.
When I bought the first (and only) content bundle it was part of a much larger business resource package so thankfully, when broken down, I really didn’t spend much at all. But thankfully, I never found this to be a good business model for content creation.
Paula Hendrickson says
I’d never even heard of PLR Content, but boy does that explain why when I Google something a lot of sites seem to have nearly identical copy.
When will people realize cheapskate shortcuts are never a good idea?
When I was first starting out, I thought about being a PLR creator but after looking more into it, as a business model, I realized I wouldn’t have much to show in my business at the end of the day. And most PLR content bundles are sold for a very low price – I suppose that’s because the creators will sell it over and over again.