writers

Thanks to Panda, content farms start harvesting less content

Love them or hate them, content farms are a reality on today’s web. Thanks to the strength of the search economy, savvy upstart publishers realized that there was money to be made mass-producing search engine-friendly content on the cheap.

But content farming’s success may have been its downfall. As the SERPs filled up with articles of dubious value, search engines have fought back. Some went so far as to ban well-known content farms from their indexes.

Banning large, prominent sites is, for obvious reasons, a challenging proposition for Google. But it too has fought back hard against content farms using ts algorithm.

While the verdict is out as to whether it’s changes are improving search quality on the world’s largest search engine, it appears that some content farmers are adjusting their businesses.

The 25 things Econsultancy looks for when hiring writers

In the past few weeks a number of people have asked me about the key characteristics of a good writer. How has this changed in recent years? What do we want to see when hiring writers?

I thought I’d outline my views in a handy cut-out-and-keep list. I’ve probably forgotten a few things but I hope you’ll be able to see where we’re coming from…

Is AOL’s Seed.com doomed to fail?

AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has a big goal for his newly-independent company:
revitalize AOL by turning it into a bona fide content company.

A big part of his plan is Seed.com, AOL’s recently-launched content
platform. Seed.com essentially employs the same model as Demand Media, which relies
on freelance writers and editors to create SEO-friendly content on a
mass scale.

15 kick-ass retweet tips for writers

15 kick-ass retweet tips for writersTwitter is a publisher’s dream. It is a huge echo chamber that can drive a lot of quality traffic to articles, especially if the retweets take off.

Retweets are referrals. The ‘RT’ abbreviation is a strong call to action. People trust their virtual friends to steer them in interesting directions, otherwise they wouldn’t be following them in the first place. As such retweets can generate lots of clicks, and they can quickly go viral.

In addition, there are a range of websites orientated around retweets. Think Digg, but instead of ‘diggs’ you have ‘retweets’, and usually these links are displayed in order of popularity (and not buried / subject to a complex algorithm to determine front-page status). These sites can be traffic drivers too. One of my favourites is the excellent TweetMeme.

So, considering the opportunity here, how can publishers make the most out of Twitter, and optimise the retweet factor?