I first published this post under a different title almost 3 years ago (Jan 17, 2007 @ 6:55), but over the last couple of days it has become specifically relevant.
At the time Jack Humphreys was offering a training program combined with high end blog hosting called “Authority Site Center” which was the successor to his previous offering, “Content Desk”.
First of all I was just going to post it with a quick introductory paragraph, then I decided it really needed some additional examples.
A couple of days ago Darren over at Problogger highlighted why he didn’t feel good about a specific type of Make Money Blogging training product.
Even though it wasn’t mentioned in Darren’s post, it was quite clear from various references in the post that he was referring to Jack’s latest offering Blog Success.
I am going to turn this on its head a little as I spent a few hours browsing around various B5Media blogs. B5Media is being highlighted as Darren was a founder, and his primary role was training the bloggers, though I am not sure about his current involvement or influence on content strategy.
I understand that they have been going through a lot of mass consolidation of their blogs, and there are tons of redirects from one domain to another, and my taste in content may be different to the general public.
Thus I thought the best way to judge overall content quality would be to use retweets, as recorded by Topsy.com
I am using Topsy as from what I have seen they at least handle internal 301 redirects fairly well, although they don’t seem to do the same for when content gets moved between domains – Tweetmeme doesn’t even handle small changes in permalinks.
I also went through a number of their celebrity blogs which haven’t been consolidated, but didn’t see anything that suggested a different emphasis, level of quality or audience engagement.
Only BlissTree seems to have really knocked anything “out of the park” since B5 Media had their site consolidation – wait a moment, that was a post from 2006 on the effect of Coke on the body, and there is another great post on what happens to your body after giving up smoking with 3000+ comments which is also old content.
Even with an army of authors, plus the occasional mention in Darren’s twitter stream the overall public reception of the content is a little bit… muffled.
I am not knocking the strategy or the authors. The authors get paid to write content to specific requirements but ultimately the aim of the current content isn’t to get book deals or speaking engagements, though I do realise some of the B5Media writers are already published authors.
There was no attempt to sell an ebook of “Halloween appetizers” despite Alexa showing it was a recent top search term.
I have nofollowed the links as I don’t want to have too much of a positive effect on their rankings. To be honest I would have done a bit more work in making things unique, adding a point of view and personality.
I am 50/50 as to whether I would allow the links from my comments though that could be easily fixed by making the sites more personal. When Jack comments with links to the sites, he does do so as himself.
The sites are nothing special, mainly built around niched 3rd party articles, press releases etc sourced through Jack’s custom tools, and using Zemanta in some cases to provide links to 3rd party resources including sites such as the Wall Street Journal and New York Times.
I personally don’t think it is a worse user experience for a search visitor landing on one of Jack’s niche sites compared to landing on a B5 Media blog, though there would probably be less inclination to subscribe.
Can the content Jack uses rank? Probably depending on search queries, linking etc.
With some long tail queries for snippets appearing on his home page he already outranks the original article author, though that isn’t necessarily the goal.
It is too early days to see the full effects of Jack’s linkbuilding efforts, but both sites have 5-10% of content in primary index.
An alternative goal might be to use lots of this kind of site to help rank other higher quality money sites. To be honest when B5Media had 300+ blogs I always assumed they would eventually move to a more solid revenue model such as eCommerce.
B5Media blogs seem to have 5-10% of their indexed content within Google’s primary index, which can easily be achieved with 100% duplicate content.
Blog Success (on the surface) certainly isn’t the authority blogging model Darren is advocating for Problogger readers, but Jack has taught that model in the past with a fair number of his students achieving success, and also teaches that model as a consultant. I would think some of that also carries across into Blog Success.
(highly targetted display advertising)
I am not suggesting filling up the web with junk content – I have always maintained there are ways to aggregate niched content in ways that add value and create a useful end user experience, even if it might not retain long-term subscribers.
Speed Linking Slow Linking
First posted Jan 17, 2007 @ 6:55
I don’t like the term speed linking. I like it even less on some blogs that use the “more” tag on a speed linking post, so you don’t even get to click straight through from your feed reader.
I know it helps with traffic numbers, especially if you have a large subscription, but I find it just annoying. Higher traffic that isn’t going to click an advert lowers your CTR.
Another factor to think about is how long people are on your pages. There has been lots of speculation about how long a visitor stays on your site affecting search results. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t, maybe it just doesn’t… yet.
I write a fair amount about linking… hmm so does Jack Humphreys. Actually Jack writes a lot more than me about linking, and has done for years. In fact, come to mention it, if someone was to ask me to name one person as an expert on linking, Jack would be a good choice.
Jack has just written a great article “Give Links to Gain Authority Status
Jack might even agree with this next part.
Speed Linking = Bad Blogging?
- Unique Relevant Content – Quite frequently, a speed link post doesn’t have much unique content on the page, other than a few links. If you want a page to be unique, and have some value, it needs to have content. One piece of content linking through to another adds value and relevance to both.
- The Fire Exit – Linking through to others is great, but a speed link page is like a Fire Exit. I could understand it if it was an affiliate link… call it a minimalist approach, you don’t write anything to persuade the reader to click through, you just present them with a link and a choice, which pill? We are in a world of tabbed browsers now, but do some justice to the links, even if it is only including a few excerpts and links to related posts.
- Create a reference – If you present a document with lots of useful tips that can’t be totally digested in 30 seconds, there is a higher chance for the post to be bookmarked and saved for reference. That isn’t an excuse for not breaking up your writing with paragraphs, bullets etc.
- Add value – if you write something useful related to someone else’s work, there is a high chance they will link back to you either now or in the future. Are you just a fanboy or do you have a brain and a real opinion?
- Advertising – I mentioned near the start of this article about CTR
My advertising rates continue to go up because advertising today is based almost completely on page views. I get new visitor page views, but remember the 37% return visitors? My advertising is affected by that greatly.
Maybe he needed to make this a little clearer. Repeat traffic and repeat views for the same advertising message is more valuable, because consumers need to see an advert multiple times before it even registers as something interesting, or something they might be looking to buy.
Here is an example of a speed linking type post on Jacks site.
Now first off, Jack publishes full feeds – I am not forced to visit his site to use the links. Thus the links are there to be useful, and not to create supplemental traffic that won’t help CTR.
He does include some comments about why they might be useful to me. I would actually prefer him to write a little more, or to interweave the speed links with references to his own writing on similar subjects.
Speed Linking can be good for back scratching – links are better if they are surrounded with lots of related keywords, not just for the person you link to, but quite possibly also for yourself.
(highly targetted display advertising)