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Articles. VS. Blog Aggregation and Search visiblitiy December 15, 2006

Posted by Pontiff in Pontification.
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I was asked how we find blogs for the aggregation sites. The next question inevitably was why we don’t use the static article sites to create search profile for a topic or regionally focused site.

The article sites with free articles ARE where the duplicate issues come into play. That content does get seen as duplicated and might actually hurt you in search visibility.

This is speculation like all things to do with SEO but I see some problems with pulling these articles in terms of a wasted effort .

The problem you face is the information velocity is so low on that stuff. “Duplication filters” as they are termed by SEO experts only come in to play over a longer time span — the longer it sits the more duplicated it is or seems. So the articles which are pulled by multiple sites and seen everywhere are discounted in terms of relevance and therefore useless to your users. That last part is the key. If they find it relevant then so will the search engines. Its simple to know what to do. Pretend you will use the site if you have not.

Allot of this is just my own observations and some is what I’ve read but it all is verified by my own two eyes .. literally.

I’ve been asked how we find blogs to aggregate.

  1. We do a blog search on Google Blog search
  2. Look at the blogs and make a visual inspection and its hard to explain but if it looks like an article site — i.e. where someone is doing the old copy and past of articles AND THAT IS ALL. then its discounted by us.
  3. When we find one that looks okay and the content seems genuine.. even without reading it carefully we start to look at the links or blog roll for more blogs. Our assumption which is almost always correct is that bloggers add bloggers to their rolls who are of like mind and deal with like subjects.
  4. The become quickly exponential and one GOOD blog may be hard to find but once its found then others are much easier.
  5. We look at these sites. See the ones that are posting new content allot and give priority to those. then we read the content and if there are allot of comments we assume that the content is better than sites with few comments.

I’m writing this just because I think its worth repeating to myself and don’t want to let you go down a path without first hearing my take. I can easily be wrong by the way and have zero stake in being right. My stake is in proving results and not defending a positron.

There are a million and twenty SEO experts and all have something to sell. You can find a position and argument for everything and most of it is vague and not provable save for over a long time frame if then .. I.E most of it is bull.

So go back to what it is Google is selling or doing.

They see themselves as not Google but as a search engine that is as vulnerable to completion. Their search results have to be better than Yahoo or Ask or whatever. They want the users to find what they are looking for. End of the story.

So think about this for a sec. If you have a series of sites that have even ONE of the same article (as opposed to RSS fed blog) it will be a warning to anyone that maybe you are collecting ‘articles’ from the free article sites. Again the RSS feeds are SUPPOSED to be duplicated. Also legitimate blog feeds procure two way links.

Here’s the thing of it. Also its the key and the basic tenant. Google is selling users on NOT sending the to article sites.

Look at that list of things we do to find content.. I could expand it by listing some of the ancillary things like searching delicious and Technorati and IceRocket ect.

The point is that after we did it over and over and over I realized something. Every single solitary thing we do right down to the judgment on the look and feel of the site is exactly what Google does when trying to find relevant content for its users. Again look at the main things we do and look at number 3. Does that seem familiar? So I started to think about times when we don’t follow the links.. If there are too many ….

Bad

  • Too many outbound links on the first page or the blog tool
  • more than 20 key words per page
  • stale articles — ie. articles for articles sake

Good

  • anything that helps define what your really are and what your really do.

see http://publications.mediapost.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=51784

Bad

  • a site on Acne with a bunch of articles about acne that can be found in various places and seem to be in all the same kings of site. — millions of these sites.

Good

  • An aggregation site of bloggers who have acne and talk about their acne problems.. == major opportunity I think.

Users make instant decisions and remember patterns like you wouldn’t believe. Websites and content are like faces which we have an amazing capacity to recognize.,,, Its a very long story and I’m tired .. really and sorry I can’t be more convincing. My opinion. and it is only opinion is that the articles are not going to help you becasue the users will find no vaule in them. It was a short lived trick.

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