What Content Farms Mean for Your Business Blog

Yesterday’s post on Content Farms over on ReadWriteWeb makes for depressing reading. The likes of Demand Media and Answers.com are reportedly flooding the Net with low quality copy that’s ranking increasingly well in search engines like Google.

Richard MacManus, author of the piece over at RWW, noting that that both writers and readers of content will need to work harder to get quality content, urges Google and other search engines to make sure “quality rules”.

I … hope that Google and other search engines find better ways to surface quality content

What this means for your business blog

If you’re not working hard to convert visitors to your blog into subscribers, you need to.

Look again at where your calls-to-action are. Are you just using the default RSS subscribe button? Or perhaps you’re using the WP Greet Box to encourage visitors from Twitter, Google, etc to subscribe?

Greet Box helps; but so does Yoast’s excellent Comment Redirect form. I’ve noticed from the stats that first time commentators to my blog often subscribe because I ask them to with this cute WP plugin.

Social networking = the new SEO

If you’re starting a new business blog it’s also essential that you’ve optimised your blog for search engines. Trouble is with content farms filling up a lot of the SER space now, it’s getting harder to rank well. So nurture your contacts, work hard to get people to link to your site and individual posts. Perhaps enter into agreements with other bloggers to help each other build links. Get social.

One thing is certain, as the Net matures and more and more people wise up to the value of ranking well in google, smaller businesses are going to struggle to generate the same kind of traffic. In the early days blogs did well because of the url structure. Google naturally seemed to like the way WordPress blogs worked, especially as other were generous with their link love.

Now, with companies entering the market that generate 4000 articles a day for their website, it’s almost impossible for a business blogger to keep up.

Social media connections, personal recommendations, link love, and working actively to get people to opt into your blog content is what will help people find out what you have to say on a regular basis.

Update: Tuesday, 15/12/2009
There’s an excellent discussion of the rise of junk content over on TechCrunch.

Check out Martin Mosch’s piece on content farms, too.

  • http://www.smartmosch.com Martin Mosch

    Hi Jon… I agree with your advices on social networking as the new SEO. It’s a little frightening to see that good content doesn’t fit in anymore. I wrote an article on content farms yesterday….would really appreciate a little feedback from someone who seems to know the subject pretty well.. You can read it here: “Content Farms: To Write or Not To Write For?” http://www.smartmosch.com/2010/01/13/content-farms/

    So to follow your advice on “nurture your contacts, work hard to get people to link to your site and individual posts. Perhaps enter into agreements with other bloggers to help each other build links. Get social.” …I would really appreciate if you’s link back to my site. The social buttons are accessible on my front page. :)

    Also, those friendly, welcoming social “texts” that you mentioned I guess in another article of yours are really working. I’ve just clicked your RSS subscription one. Looking forward to hear more from you.


    • http://www.jontusmedia.com Jon

      Thanks for stopping by Martin. Appreciate your comment (and the tweet). Sure, I’m happy to share some link-love your way.
      I’ll update the post to include a link to your piece on Content Farms.

  • Jesyka

    Hi there Jon,

    My question to you is how much time and energy should be invested on building audience? It is not easy and one can really hope to outrace the search engines? It is indeed frightening as Martin also said…

  • http://www.jonbuscall.com Jon Buscall

    Hi Jesyka,
    Thanks for stopping by!
    I guess my answer is really dependent on where you want to be.

    Start out by identifying what you want your end result to be. More subscribers? more sales? more people asking for your services?

    Then when you’ve identified your ideal end result, you need to look at which networks your audience are on.

    If you can, say, identify two I would then start participating in social media but track your efforts religiously. I do this in an Excel file. Only by tracking your data will you see what works.

    For example, if you tweet a link to your blog 5 days a week and never get traffic, perhaps there’s something wrong in the way you’re pitching the tweet? Or maybe you’ve not got the right people following you?

    You’d then tweak your strategy to see if something else works, and when you’ve discovered what does you concentrate your efforts on that.

    I would suggest spending at least 30 mins a day to begin with. But you’re not going to see results for at least a month if not considerably longer.

    Every step of the way you have to evaluate your data and tweak accordingly.

    A great idea, if you’re worried about where to put your efforts, is to compare how Google/SEO initiatives convert compared to social media campaigns.

    Only by trial and effort, and studying your data, will you learn the best practice for you.