The ‘Good Content’ Lie That Everyone Tells

There’s this lie that bloggers – or people who build/operate/monetize content websites – tell all the time.

You hear it on every affiliate marketing podcast interview. The interviewer asks:

“What’s your secret to getting all that traffic to your site and making so much sweet affiliate money?”

The guest rattles off the normal stuff: building backlinks, keyword research, on-page SEO….oh, and one other thing:

“You have to make good content, of course.”

You know, add value.

The host is always like, “yeah, of course…we’re all adding tons of value to the world 😏”.

But both the host and the guest know that this is a lie.

They’re not making good content.

At best, they’re making average content.

More likely, they’re making garbage content.

They’re not trying to add any value to anyone’s life. They’re just trying to make money.

After getting the lie out of the way, so both the host and guest can sleep at night, the interviewer proceeds to ask their guest how, exactly, they’re making so much garbage content so efficiently, especially since they’re not experts in their chosen niche, and they have no budget for expert writers, and they don’t buy the products they’re “reviewing” and recommending…

The whole interview is about faking good content, and LOTS of it.

✔︎ Here’s how to trick Google into thinking your product reviews are legit by using Canva to create “original” images.

✔︎ Here’s how to fake E-E-A-T by adding a P.O. Box and LinkedIn button to your website.

✔︎ Here’s how to steal another website’s article using software, without technically violating copyright laws.

✔︎ Here’s how to pump out 60+ articles per month without ever spending more than $0.05/word.

✔︎ Here’s how to make your site look like The Wirecutter without doing any of the actual hard work like, you know, forming original thoughts.

The thing that drives me nuts about these interviews is the fact that everyone knows about the Good Content Lie.

The host knows. The guest knows. The listeners know.

I sure as hell know it, and yet I still find myself taking notes!

Ah yes, I should get a local phone number and add it to my contact pages to make my Google think my business is legit…

Me at 12:45a when I should be sleeping 😵‍💫

Then I snap out of it and get depressed because, deep down, I know that I too have made bad content.

And I’ve told the same lie, especially to myself.*

What are we doing?

Just because we live in an age where anyone can post a bunch of garbage online and make money off of one-time free visits from Google users, does that mean that we should?

Sure, it feels good to make money. We’re always happy to tell our friends and family and strangers-on-the-internet-who-might-buy-our-course how well our “business” is doing.

But will you proudly show off your work? Would you hope that your closest friends land on your sites when they Google something important?

For the vast majority of affiliate marketers and bloggers, the answer is no.

The portfolio is private. The publisher is anonymous. The articles are published under a pen name. His headshot is AI, and his LinkedIn profile is fake.

The vast majority of “authority site” operators would be embarrassed to share their work because it’s not good.

I’m talking about product reviews written by people who never tried the product.

Buying guides compiled by non-native English writers with zero actual interest in the niche.

Recycled, borderline plagiarized “educational” articles based on software-generated content briefs.

100% optimized pages tweaked to perfection to steal that featured snippet.

Thousands of social media posts created with Canva templates and auto-scheduled six months out with Tailwind and Buffer.

Tens of thousands of spammy outreach emails begging for backlinks to trick Google into thinking a site deserves other human beings’ precious time.

It’s insane. It’s such a dumb game.

But it works!

And the worst part is, as someone whose entire net worth came from publishing content online, it’s so hard not to play this dumb game because it works!

Exploiting this business model – if you can even call it that – is the moral equivalent of finding money on the ground and keeping it without trying very hard to find out who it belonged to.

Maybe you didn’t do anything wrong, but you certainly didn’t do anything right.

Why not play a different game?

There are many ways to make money online. Even under the content/publishing umbrella, it’s possible to do work you’re proud of, make good money, and add value to other people’s lives.

Good content is safer

Recently, I’ve heard from a few SEO/content site owners whose sites got hammered by the latest Google algorithm update.

They asked me for advice. How can they recover?

I asked them if they thought their content was high enough quality. Some of them admitted that it wasn’t.

But that quantity over quality strategy was working for a while, so they doubled and tripled down.

Then Google caught up, and the other shoe dropped.

If you run a blog or authority site, publishing garbage content is a shortsighted strategy that will always eventually fail.

Focusing on quality is the winning long-term strategy, and it’s the only strategy that you can genuinely feel proud of.

Some Inspiration

Here are some examples of “blogs” that put out excellent quality content with a focus on their readers:

That’s just a short list of sites that I’m personally familiar with and that I trust. There are hundreds of other examples of publishers doing things the right way.

Strive to be like those people. You’ll make money and be proud of your work!

*When I first got into content sites and affiliate marketing, I only cared about money. As time went on, I found that it was much more fulfilling to create content you can be proud of (and yes, that actually adds value to the world). Over the years, my standards have wavered several times, but my standards are relatively high. I proudly put my real name and face behind my work.