For those of you who aren’t familiar with a roundup post, a roundup post is an article where a writer emails several dozen experts in a given industry, asking them all the same question and recording their various responses. Then, those responses are put together into a blog post to give the reader multiple professional answers on the same topic with very little effort involved.
They sound great right? Well, yes, they’re not bad, as far as quick viral pieces of content go. I prefer them to a hastily created infographic any day; but will they ever become an over-used SEO fad like infographics?
Infographics and round-up posts have a lot in common. They are relatively easy to put together, helpful to the users, acquire lots of backlinks with little effort… and are becoming heavily abused. Once infographics started flooding the web (as people were naturally using them to acquire more backlinks), Google made a quick change to their algorithm to discount the effectiveness of links that were acquired by infographics. In my opinion, it is completely feasible that this could happen with round-up posts if this trend continues growing.
Here are some pros and cons of round-up posts, and their effect on readers and publishers.
The obvious upside of roundup posts is that they benefit both the contributor and the content creator. The contributor gets a free link back to their site, and the content creator gets a massive blog post written for them by experts. Everybody is happy.
Another upside is how easy to create. Simply email a couple dozen influencers and experts in the industry, let them know you’d like to feature them in an experts roundup, and ask your question. Some of these experts’ opinions can be very valuable content.
Lastly, having dozens of influencers emailing you is a good chance to ask for some social shares or a comment. This could drive huge traffic, as experts on a topic tend to have a healthy social media following. Not a bad way to start promoting your new post.
We’ve seen thousands of new roundup posts in 2015 (and going into 2016), so clearly this is a growing trend. However, there hasn’t been much discussion on the downsides to these posts.
One issue that I’m seeing is conflicting answers and advice. When you put 20 people together answering the same topic, you’re going to get answers that are all over the place. When you’re trying to cater to your visitors and help them with the topic they searched for, conflicting answers isn’t the most helpful way to go about doing that. They also can’t always adequately answer their question in just a few seconds. This is why expert round-up posts don’t always work for a topic.
Another issue is round-up posts are not always engaging. When you have a blog post from you or somebody in your company, the style and quality is consistent, and it is easier to keep their attention. With a round-up post, you have a wide variety of writing style, knowledge, advice, and personality, all answering the same question. This could get slightly disorienting and annoying, especially if you don’t want 20 different opinions on the same topic.
Yet another issue is that they may be a good candidate for an algorithmic adjustment in the next Panda update, similar to how infographics were discounted a couple years ago. I wouldn’t consider them a future-proof type of content.
Lastly, I think expert round-ups have become a little over-used. I’m personally emailed to do a new expert round-up every other week, and while I’m happy to contribute and share my knowledge, I can’t help but wonder if I’m creating another low-quality piece of content in the process. Doesn’t a properly-written detailed guide deserve to rank higher than a jumble of dozens of short paragraphs on the same topic?
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