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Minimum Viable Content Standards

By August 23, 2022No Comments

What’s Viable Content?

In the content publishing business we’ve learned the following minimum viable standards should apply in order to maintain a good reputation with readers, ISPs, ESPs, web hosting companies, and ad platforms (monetization) while avoiding costly missteps with regulators (FTC, FDA, etc) or violating the rights of intellectual property owners.

What’s Good Content?

Good content is valuable, useful, unique (not copied), reputable and informative. Each piece should be a minimum of 250+ words with no fluff – entertaining, easily readable at a 6th grade reading level, spell checked, grammar checked and fact checked. Statistics and claims should be referenced and backed up with reputable linked sources.

Legally Sourced Images

All imagery needs to be legally sourced in order to avoid potential copyright claims. The best practice is to get an account with a single stock image licensor like Shutterstock or iStock. Licensing allows publishers to use imagery in accordance with the licensing agreement while creating a documented paper trail to follow if the use of an image’s rightful use is ever challenged.

While sources like Pixabay, Unsplash, and even Creative Commons may seem like great, low-cost image sources, there is a great deal of risk involved. Most free image sources do not provide legal guarantees or protections from copyright claims.

Unique Content and Copyscape Results

All written content should be crafted using multiple sources and must be held to uniqueness standards. Even articles that pass Copyscape checks can still be considered plagiarized if the writer paraphrases/rewrites another journalist’s ideas from start to finish. There is a minimal acceptable standard for Copyscape hits based on the proper use of quotes and common terms, but a general rule of thumb is to keep those hits to 10% or less of your article and only if they’re absolutely necessary.

Meeting Publisher Guidelines for Monetizing With Google Ads (AdSense)

Google’s publisher guidelines dictate the best practices for publishers who wish to monetize using the Google AdSense system. Sites in violation of these guidelines receive warnings and may be suspended if not outright banned if violations continue and are not corrected in a timely manner.

Many of Google’s Publisher Policies are common sense. They include:

  • No promoting illegal content.
  • No promoting content that violates someone else’s copyright; or that sells or promotes counterfeit products.
  • No content that promotes animal cruelty; or products obtained from endangered species.
  • No content that Google feels is dangerous or derogatory. This includes content that incites hatred against, promotes discrimination of, or disparages an individual or group on the basis of their race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, nationality, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or other characteristic that is associated with systemic discrimination or marginalization.
  • No content that harasses, intimidates, or bullies an individual or group of individuals.
  • No content that could be construed to be even remotely threatening or advocating physical or mental harm to oneself or others.
  • No content that could promotes, encourages, or enables dishonest behavior (ie. hacking, technology to circumvent rules, illegal spyware, etc).
  • Content that encourages deceptive practices. This also includes creating content about political or social issues in a country other than your own.
  • No content that relates to a current, major health crisis and contradicts authoritative, scientific consensus.
  • No content that makes claims that are demonstrably false and could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.
  • No content that is sexually explicit or that may appear to promote sexually explicit, adult, or compensated acts (including websites designed for such). It is especially important to avoid the words sex, sexual, and other “adult” words in headlines and URLs.
  • Content that promotes or exploits child sexual abuse or otherwise endangers children.
  • Content that Google considers shocking. This includes media embedded in the content. DO NOT include video footage of fights, attacks, or brutality.

This is a summary of the guidelines and is subject to change.

You can view the list in its entirety, as well as updates made around current events, here >> Google’s Adsense Publisher Guidelines

You can also review a more complete list of restrictions here >> Google Publisher Restrictions

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