• http://www.seopros.org Webmaster T

    Danny agreed that quality is subjective… adding quality varies from SERP to SERP which is why blocking a domain based on the assumption it’s all spam … is not search… it is a directory dressed up as a SE… and is obviously pandering to the SEO community. Unfortunately many SEO’s see spam as… sites positioned above me.

  • http://ninebyblue.com/ Vanessa Fox

    “But the overall point is that people are clearly searching for an answer to this type of question — and Demand is watching that and putting out something.”

    I dunno. I’d think that people searching for [compare cost of bamboo floors] are actually wanting to, you know, compare the costs of bamboo floors. Like a calculator comparison chart that shows actual prices of different brands.

  • http://www.destination360.com/ destination360

    Here’s a interesting result:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=&q=how+to+renew+an+expired+passport&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGLL_enUS382US382&ie=UTF-8

    Search result #1 Ehow/Demand Media
    Search result #2 Ehow/Demand Media
    Search result #6 UsaToday/Demand Media
    Search result #10 Trails/Demand Media

  • taylor

    Thanks for the peek into Bradford’s brain, Danny. Good stuff.

    It seems picking its battles is a nice strength for Demand — as you put it here, going after topics \where there’s clearly no flood of outstanding material.\

    I bet it becomes a whole lot easier to be the best click when you’re competing in under-served markets like that.

  • http://www.michael-martinez.com/ Michael Martinez

    “The real question is, will sites step up to provide really outstanding content and be rewarded by the search engines — and in turn, make searchers feel results are getting better, not noisier or worse.”

    Oh, it still takes a little more than that. As long as Google and Bing continue to reward link building, many sites that DO offer really outstanding content will continue to be overlooked for lack of pernicious link building.

    Once a keyword has been identified as monetizable, the search results lose their naturality very quickly.

  • http://polishingpeanuts.com ian anderson

    A large amount of the content is written by paid writers who have carried out some rudimentary research.

    The results related to plastering are a classic example. The advice is plain wrong. NO professional plasterer would advise anyone to carry out plastering in such a manner.

    However, ranking against these article is near impossible.

  • DTS

    OK, a couple things. First, why do people type in complete sentences to google? It’s not, to the best of my knowledge, a natural language search engine, it’s basically a keyword search engine. The equivalent query I would use is just “bahamas packing”; that search turned up the packing light thing, plus a bunch of other virtualtourist.com stuff, but not the Demand Media stuff your “how to” post did.

    Second, the question of what virtualtourist.com is. Didn’t take much to find out; googling lead straight to wikipedia if you skip the links back to virtualtourist.com. Wikipedia agrees with virturaltourist.com’s self description, it’s a travel forum sight with a lot of members, dating back to 2001, I assume long before the days of SEO and content farms. Seems perfectly legitimate and useful, the individual entrees may not be comprehensive, but if you go through the list you get some reasonable tips and you can presumablly contact the active people there directly for more info.

    Third, to @destination360 , and back on the complete sentence thing, the query I’d make, “renew passport”, turned up http://travel.state.gov/passport/renew/renew_833.html as the first link, with another state department link 2nd and a usps link third. From this very limited sample, I’d say that if you don’t want ehow results, you shouldn’t use ehow – style queries, just punch in the keywords.

  • http://www.destination360.com/ destination360

    DTS the query you’d make, “renew passport”

    Just because you make this query doesn’t mean average Joe will. I bet you that that the long tail wins out in search requests. Why you think Demand would write four unique versions of this one topic and place on multiple sites? It makes money.

  • DTS

    Oops, minor edit to to clarify above: virtualtourist.com is the source of the \Pack Light\ page that turned up first on \how to pack for the bahamas\. Looking back on the page, the posts are all pretty old, so apparently it’s somewhat faded as a travel forum, but it still seems reasonable enough.

  • DTS

    @destination360: wasn’t meaning to criticize your example, it may be that \average joe\ types things like that in instead of keywords. Seems counterintuitive to me, it’s a lot easier to type in 2 words, and average Joe tends not be a speedy typist, but I have no idea what the relative frequencies really are.. The \how to\ full sentence query is obviously what Demand Media is targeting, anyway, and in line with the topic of this page. On the other other hand, \how to renew passport\ still returns state.gov on top; ehow does’t get to the top till you put in \expired\.

  • http://www.andykuiper.com Andy Kuiper – SEO Analyst Vancouver

    Argument made… but it still smells a bit rotten to me, the end user.

  • http://trafficsmack.com seth@trafficsmack

    Huh. . .create content for “how to pack for the bahamas”? I actually have given a large cruise company the same type of advice. To build out detailed content for all of their most popular destinations.

    It was a fairly standard recommendation when I made it 2-3 years ago, and it still works. If companies don’t build out detailed content specific to their industry, someone else will and capture traffic for those searches, leaving brands left to purchase display or paid ads on those sites such as eHow, etc.

  • http://thedailyfave.blogspot.com/ TheDailyFave

    I’m a vetted Demand Media Studios writer who never produced a keystroke after my first visit to the Assignment Queue. I’d rather eat cereal for dinner than join this company’s band of monkeys with laptops! (Ummm, please pass the milk and sugar…)

  • http://www.scottwjenkins.com Scott Jenkins

    I’m seeing a lot of people digging up lots of examples to further reinforce beliefs that they already have about how terrible the search engines are.

    I’m not buying it.

    I’m always able to find what I want. It might not be the first listing on the page and it might not be my first search. But I always find what I want.

  • http://www.ummmmheyyyy.wordpress.com Samantha McCormick

    This is such an excellent article with tons of great links. I also think it’s funny how people think content farms are something so new and evil — free magazines and newspapers that rely on advertising as a sole revenue source have been putting out crap content for decades! Case in point, Stuff Magazine in Boston of Phoenix Media :/ .. a bit of insider information – “Best in Boston” issues and articles are (surprise!) mainly cherry-picked from advertisers. Disgusting.