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  1. #1
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    What The Heck Is 'Content' Anyway ?
    Personally, I'm tired of reading things like 'content sites rank better', 'search engines like fresh content', 'content is king' and other such statements without the authors of such articles or viewpoints defining what 'content' actually is. These phrases have become web cliches and, to be honest, none of them is true - in my not so humble opinion.

    For the sake of ABW, lets' at least try to define what we're talking about when we refer to content. It seems to me that the general definition of 'content' used on this forum is things like articles, reviews, forums, blogs and commentary. Such a pity that search engines make no such judgement.

    Content from the search engines' perspective - all text on any page that gets spidered is 'content' as far as a search engine is concerned. Because search engines are software, they make no differentiation between sales pitches, articles, reviews, or any other kind of text. It's either relevant or unique or it's irrelevant, spam or duplicate.

    What the search engines ideally want to rank highly is this: quality, unique information, clearly formatted, that other sites refer to and find valuable. IE: textual information that has lots of links that isn't duplicated on hundreds of other sites. That's what search engines consider to be useful information. It doesn't matter whether it's an article, datafeed generated, a sales pitch or anything else. You don't need a lot of text, you don't need 'the history of blue widgets' or any of that other rubbish for the search engines to consider your page to be worthwhile and valuable information.

    Indeed, search engine algos make no independent judgements on the value of your pages; they rely on other sites judgements to determine whether page A has more value than page B. Even then, page B might outrank page A.

    Essentially, from the search engines' perspective, there really isn't such a thing as content. If you can get 1,000 non-reciprocated links from pages in your niche, your datafeed page will rank for whatever you want it to. It's time to move past the idea that 'search engines LIKE content' or 'LIKE fresh content' or any of that other stuff. Search engines don't like anything in particular. They're just software. They have no independent conception of what 'content' is. From their perspective, it's just text and it all has the same initial value.

    Let's get rid of the idea that 'content sites rank better' or 'search engines like fresh content'. Your pages aren't necessarily going to rank better because you have added a few articles, a review and a forum. Content sites don't rank better because there is no such thing as content. And also because search engines don't rank sites, they rank pages.

  2. #2
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    Markymark,

    I agree with you, especially with MS's new search. Have been studying it for the past week or so and it picks up any site regardless of whether it is "content" rich or not. In fact it postiions some sites that are nothing but link farms higher than sites which are full of "content". Their algo is looking for something specific and it sure ain't "content".

  3. #3
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    Absolutely on target!
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  4. #4
    ABW Founder Haiko de Poel, Jr.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by markymark
    ... search engines don't rank sites, they rank pages.
    Truer words in AM have never been said - I wanted to highlight that!
    Continued Success,

    Haiko
    The secret of success is constancy of purpose ~ Disraeli

  5. #5
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    "Truer words in AM have never been said - I wanted to highlight that!"

    The Truer words I would hi-light would be.

    "quality, unique information, clearly formatted, that other sites refer to and find valuable."

    Well in my case it might differ. I believe content does matter. One of my sites has all the above qualities and more! I was never able to make money until Adsense. And to this day believe Adsense was meant for content sites. I had advertisers from CJ, Shareasale, Linkshare the lot and guess what I made sh*t. After thousands of clicks yes thousands of very targeted clicks, I would make $200 a month, maybe. With Adsense 4 figures go figure?

  6. #6
    ABW Ambassador swampy_webber's Avatar
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    I agree entirely. I do, however, want to mention that I do think that there IS some reason to suspect that 'similar content' has been the target of some search engine algo changes. Originality in a site certainly wouldn't hurt. This is true, I think, of both feed sites or hand created sites.
    Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

    -- Lewis Grizzard

  7. #7
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Thumbs up
    I'm tired of reading things like 'content sites rank better', 'search engines like fresh content', 'content is king' and other such statements without the authors of such articles or viewpoints defining what 'content' actually is. These phrases have become web cliches and, to be honest, none of them is true
    Preach it!!!

    But don't be surprised to find lots of deaf people. After all, I've been saying that for years, and there are still content-is-kingers out there befouling the Internet with those cliches.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  8. #8
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    Leader what do you actually offer people? Not a hell of a lot by your posts. A great shot of a scooter for sale,? Please tell what does the great leader showcase. (no extra content need be added)

  9. #9
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    What does she offer people???

    Such a question!

    What she offers people is products that they want to buy.

    Amazing concept, that.

    I know it is hard to grasp. But, give it a shot, anyway.

    Sorry, Leader. I couldn't resist it.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

  10. #10
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    Yes, but ...
    I would have to agree with a lot of what you say. Content doesn't necessarily mean a lot of words. But how about a little test. Let's go to a search engine. ... Say ... oh, Google. Ok, Google it is. Now, let's type in a search term. ... Say ... oh, I don't know, how about "search engine." Ok, "search engine" it is.

    results

  11. #11
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    Amazing concept, indeed but I have never heard her say one thing on products. hard to grasp eh!

  12. #12
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    What the search engines ideally want to rank highly is this: quality, unique information, clearly formatted, that other sites refer to and find valuable.
    You mean content...?
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  13. #13
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  14. #14
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ono
    Amazing concept, indeed but I have never heard her say one thing on products. hard to grasp eh!
    WTF is there to say?! I thought *that* part was as plain as rocks and that I wouldn't need to say anything about it. I used to talk about that a lot more, a few years ago when affiliate sales was a newer concept, but I thought the Clue Train had picked up all the passengers (that it was going to), by now, plus I had resigned myself to seeing people trying to sell stuff off of content sites that were totally unsuitable for the purpose.

    But--basically it's simple, put up some kind of lead-in pitch, and (with feed site) a pic of the item and its description. Make sure to have pay links included! (Site/page without feed) Tell the viewer a bit about the product and merchant.

    So yeah, HAVE TEXT that makes sense to a human! But don't fall into the "providing content" trap and think you need to have a "review," cuz you don't. You should be aiming for people who are ready to buy--not the ones who are still so undecided that they're looking for reviews.

    In other words--on sales pages, I'm NOT convincing the people to buy the product. They already want the product! I'm there to convince them to buy it from MY merchant!

    That's a whole different thrust than most content/review/blah-blah sites that go on and on about an item without ever trying to show people that they should click THERE for it to get it from YOUR PARTICULAR MERCHANT and not just some random store.

    And "content" sites that never Get to the point--and yet expect to actually sell anything except on a fluke--are not real players in this arena (affiliate marketing) as far as I'm concerned. They're really in various forms of the *entertainment* business, and that's a whole different animal.

    what do you actually offer people? Not a hell of a lot
    You're missing the fundamental aspect: I'm not in business to offer things to "people." They're not my customers. THE MERCHANTS are my customers. And what they're buying, via CPA programs, is Sales. So, my sales sites are there to send sales to my customers--the merchants. In that regard, I offer my *real customers* quite a lot!

    As for offering things to "people," it's MERCHANTS who do the "offering." The whole point of the endeavor is to NOT satisfy all the viewer's desires, but to send them to the merchant for that--viewers should NEED TO go to the Merchant Site to get their "fix." If they get everything they need from me, except the product itself, many decide they don't need the actual product after all!

    I'm not running CPM ads or selling ad space on my sales sites. So until the viewers *leave,* they are worth $0.00 to me. Therefore, I want the visitors to SPLIT and SPLIT FAST--and the only thing I'm going to "offer" them is ways to do it (links), and the pitch (or lead-in spin on feed sites) is to give them reasons to do it through the Commissionable Links.

    Pages should wind up the viewer like a toy car. You give it a few revs, and then LET IT GO! It's nothing if it's just sitting in your hand like an inert rock. So spin 'em up with a couple paragraphs of pitch and then send 'em on...remember that in this business, the destination is at the *other end* of the track.

    That said, pages should have more than just a pile of keywords, word-salad (or other forms of super-ugly "junkyard spam"). Pages don't have to be "pretty," (in fact, I think they should NOT be too pretty) but the viewer shouldn't be scared away so fast that they simply hit the back button!

    As for "saying anything about products" as in the products themselves, there's nothing to say; there's either demand out there or there isn't...
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  15. #15
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    I think when people say Content Is King, they are looking at it more than just from an SE perspective, which basically is all that has been talked about in this thread.

  16. #16
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    I think when people say Content Is King, they are looking at it more than just from an SE perspective, which basically is all that has been talked about in this thread.
    Maybe they are. But we're trying to get people to buy stuff. I don't think content is king in any way that people seem to mean it. People seem to think sites should become a "destination" by having "great content." The problem with that is, then the sites become a destination for getting more content and *not* destinations for SHOPPING!

    Quite simply, a lot of people have the concept backwards! They want us sales-site people to PROVIDE the content, even though content-based physical-world marketing is done by getting talked about (but not ripped off) by *other* people, in *their* content.

    For example, the fact that more people will talk about the latest movie than they will about a department store, doesn't help a place like Sears at least, not in the manner that content-is-kingers would propose. Sears isn't in the movie business. And, to get into the movie business would distract Sears from its real business. The result would most likely be a Sears which forgot how to sell clothes, but never learned how to make quality movies. End result, bankruptcy.

    The *key* isn't for Sears to actually make *any* content--it's for Sears to be part of SOMEONE ELSE'S content! For instance, it'd do them a lot of good to be mentioned prominently, and positively, in a big movie.

    I think the same general principles apply to us affiliates, even though for most of us it'd be on a smaller scale than being mentioned in a blockbuster show.
    There is no knowledge that is not power. ~Hemingway

  17. #17
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    To the question "What The Heck Is 'Content' Anyway ? "

    What MarkyMark said. Anything on a page is content to an SE spider. To people it can be different things.

    As far as Content Is King. Depends on lots of things and on what the person saying that means exactly. King as far as? Getting sales? Getting SE listings? Selling advertising? Links from other sites? Mentions on TV or radio? Community building? Surviving SE shifts? Content Is King is a very general statement and depending on what the person means by that, can be true.

    To me Money Is King. So if a 50 page site that people consider to be a Content Site makes more money that a 50 page site that people consider a Sales Site, that Content Site is King in that example. And you can find plenty of examples going both ways. Too many variables.

  18. #18
    Content $ Queen Ebudae's Avatar
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    Good thread and good replys! I don't find myself disagreeing with some of the best..

    MarkyMark defined it and hit the nail on the head.

    Leader refined it to the purpose of a sales page.

    Trust put the icing on the cake.

    Read and think on...

    Ebudae


  19. #19
    Kung Fu Master Eathan's Avatar
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    As far as Content Is King. Depends on lots of things and on what the person saying that means exactly. King as far as? Getting sales? Getting SE listings? Selling advertising? Links from other sites? Mentions on TV or radio? Community building? Surviving SE shifts? Content Is King is a very general statement and depending on what the person means by that, can be true.
    Spot on.

    Leader is absolutely right about getting the customer as smoothly and quickly down the path to the point of purchase as possible, but content has a lot of other benefits, touched on in Trust's post.

    I run a variety of sites, pure sales, pure content and my current favorite - a blend of the two. I find it miles easier to get directory listings, inbound links from "authority sites", organic SE traffic, sponsorships, etc while still pushing sales with the blended approach.

    I can point confirmed shoppers straight to the sales pages via PPC and guide the rest from whatever content they land on. Works for me. Other's results may vary...

    We all do what works for us.
    Eathan Mertz

    Black Cat Mining - Gold Prospecting & Rockhounding Equipment

  20. #20
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    I see your point Leader and I have made a lot of money without "writing about my hobbies". I will advertise while others rack their brain for creative "content" ideas. It can be done both ways but I like it when the competition has plenty of "busy work" to do. I still keep to ethical standards, but Im not going to pass up this low hanging fruit.

  21. #21
    ABW Ambassador phillyburbs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrustNo1
    To the question "What The Heck Is 'Content' Anyway ? "

    What MarkyMark said. Anything on a page is content to an SE spider. To people it can be different things.

    As far as Content Is King. Depends on lots of things and on what the person saying that means exactly. King as far as? Getting sales? Getting SE listings? Selling advertising? Links from other sites? Mentions on TV or radio? Community building? Surviving SE shifts? Content Is King is a very general statement and depending on what the person means by that, can be true.

    To me Money Is King. So if a 50 page site that people consider to be a Content Site makes more money that a 50 page site that people consider a Sales Site, that Content Site is King in that example. And you can find plenty of examples going both ways. Too many variables.
    Well said, Trusty. If you're talking strictly AM, which would make sense in the context of ABW, that's one thing. But if you look at the entire Web, content is another thing entirely.

    We will never, ever make as much money on AM as we do through our other revenue channels. And we are driven largely by the type of stuff that Leader would define as content.

    If the bottom line is revenue, there are many ways to make that happen. AM is only one of them.

  22. #22
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    Very Interesting thread to say the least.. Not sure if I agree with most of it but I think it all depends on how we define content. This post also opened my eyes to an idea , Ill chime back when I got more time as I have to send a check to my content writers now.
    Vinny O'Hare - OPM - Contact Info email: vinny at teamloxly.com ~ 702-582-6742 Twitter

  23. #23
    ABW Ambassador Paul_Ward's Avatar
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    Content - it's what pisses people off who think they have sales sites

  24. #24
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    Well - I would like to bring up something that has not been mentioned here that affects a site just as much as everything talked about above.

    THE SPEED THAT A WEBSITE LOADS FOR YOUR CUSTOMER!

    Not all of your customers have a high speed internet connection that will load a page just as soon as it is clicked on.

    Your site will be book marked in a whole lot more computers if you would just make simple fast loading pages.

    Why do affiliates think customers like slow loading pages with a lot of useless items such as flash, a ton of images, and etc.

    Go to any search engine - do a search - and then click through the sites listed. You will go to sleep waiting for some of them to load - if they load at all.

    Do you sit and wait for a page to take forever to load. No! You click the back button and move on.

    That is the same thing that your customers do.

    My site pages are simple - fast loading pages - and my customers keep coming back.

    I have high ranking on all of the search engines - and - I DO NOt have what you are calling content pages. I have one product to a page. A short discription of the product, and send them on to the merchants.

    Every months some of my merchants tell me that I am their top selling affiliate.

    How can that be?

    I don't have what you call content pages on any of my sites.

    If you put to much junk (content?) on a page with the product you make that page more and more irreverlant (?) to search engines in a search for that product.

    You need to clean up your pages so that they are fast loading. If they are slow because of your host - then you need to change host.

    To borrow a phrase from one of our other members - that's my2cents worth.

    Thanks for letting me borrow that phrase.

  25. #25
    Super Sh!t Stirrer SSanf's Avatar
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    If they are too cheap or too broke to buy a good computer, they will be too cheap or too broke to buy on the internet.
    Comments are opinion unless otherwise noted. Remember, pillage first. Then burn. Half of all people in the world have IQs under 100. You best learn to trust ol' SSanf!

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