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December 14, 2009


Interesting take. I always wonder why companies open up for these articles - I suppose links could be one reason. I thought it was so they could build more credibility in the non-Internet space and with a more general audience. Perhaps positioning themselves for an IPO.

Reading Matt Cutts, as I am sure the Demand SEO team does, it is as clear as day that Google hates anyone trying to conform to the behaviors that its algorithm rewards just because it rewards them.

It wants content to flow out naturally and to then for Google to be the judge of where it is ranked.

So quite why Demand thinks its a good idea to come out and say their entire content strategy is built on manipulation is an interesting question indeed.

What they are doing is beyond the on-site SEO and keyword research that the little guy can do so they are effectively burying his content not by being better, but by wearing a grey hat. Mr Cutts does not like grey hats.

I don't think they did this for a few links. I think it is just poor PR. Failing that perhaps they are in the rumored sales talks with Yahoo/AOL and they though it would pump the price rather than start a fire.

@Justin I may be guilty of putting everything through an SEO filter - there are tangible benefits to media buzz beyond just links. But for an SEO driven business, links are the lifeblood.

@crowdmanage Most SEOs I know like to keep their projects and tactics pretty quiet. This made Demand's press blitz (with lots of details) even more unusual.

Hey Lawrence, I loved your talk at PubCon and have been enjoying your blog. As your first commenter suggests, I suspect Demand Media is positioning themselves for an IPO. I also suspect the stories have been at least slightly misleading. For example, the $200 million in revenue that keeps getting thrown around ... do we know where that's from? Because I've been given reason to suspect that most of that number comes from their domain registration business. They've been spinning a story that this content generation business is generating hundreds of millions of dollars annually, and this may not be true. The ultimate irony here may be that the journalists challenging Demand Media's quality may have completely dropped the ball on key parts of the story, eating right out of Demand's spin. I'm sure the article was based on a true story. But everybody's assuming that the key elements Demand Media told the media are essentially true. What if they're not? BTW, my view on the fast food content articles is here: https://managinggreatness.com/2009/12/16/quality-is-still-king/.

Gil, great points. It may very well be that the content business drives most of the traffic, but the domaining biz drives most of the revenue.

Your points are again well made. But the scary part of all of this is clearly "content development" for generating search engine traffic is changing. Don't forget Google looks for Authority Web Sites as a key part of their analysis and as these larger sites start to scale up their content silos Google may not differentiate between this type of site and a normal site with a lot of "natural" content. For the average to small business the tides are turning and it will behoove them to utilize much more sophisticated content development strategy.

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What they are doing is beyond the on-site SEO and keyword research that the little guy can do so they are effectively burying his content not by being better, but by wearing a grey hat. Mr Cutts does not like grey hats.

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Finally, somebody talked about the elephant in the room! You got guts and I like it.

I rarely come across a good post like this. What you said is very true!

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