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Old 02-09-2004, 09:54 AM
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The Jill Whalen Effect

Some of you wonder why Phil Craven and I along with a few others feel the need to counter the false information Jill Whalen is promoting. She is the undisputed oracle of the "content is king" school.

Now if any of you think she has not had an impact with that teaching look at these Poll results from WebProWorld. It is simply unbelievable. http://www.webproworld.com/viewtopic.php?t=13198
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 10:05 AM
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The poll is too narrow, though - link exchange by itself I wouldn't rate as a great SEO strategy.

EDIT:

I made my contribution.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by I, Brian
The poll is too narrow, though - link exchange by itself I wouldn't rate as a great SEO strategy.

EDIT:

I made my contribution.
But that isn't the real issue Brian. The question said if you had a good base of content in place what would you spend your time on Content or Link exchanges. 95% of the idiots answering said content even though the question said that there was a good content base in place.

The answers are clearly a continuation of the content versus link debate that John had over there. These people were not nit picking about link exchange versus other linking methods they were arguing content versus links.

It just shows you the prevalence of the message that Jill has been preaching all these years. I know she isn't the only one but she sure is the chief spokesperson for the movement. And it is a hell of a movement. 95% of what is supposed to be a half way knowledgable audience vote to do more content before working on links. In fact I am the only one who voted for links.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:56 AM
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Maybe the whole thing goes beyond just *having* content. Of course content that no one links to is going to do no good.

But, what if you have unique content that everyone likes? You get links then without even asking. CNN has lots of content, and I really doubt they go around asking for links, and it seems to do well for them. On a smaller scale, our website has done the same. About 1,500 unreciprocated inbound links from various sites to various points within the domain (since they do it on their own, they go where ever they feel like). For us, that works great... and requires far less effort.

In the last few months (when I started making free online tools), we have gotten lots of links to those as well without asking (206 as of today).

So what does that mean to me? That the "content is king" argument is valid, as long as the content is good enough that random people on the net link to you without asking.

- Shawn
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:03 PM
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Good post Shawn! Well presented point.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:15 PM
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The whole problem here is that Jill's perspective is skewed. She started out with a content site - it was a "parent's place" type site. It talked about kids and stuff. Kind of like www.surebaby.com

Here's a relevation for you:

For content sites, of course content is going to be king!

Duh.


Problem is, even with sites like SureBaby.com, which has 383 pages indexed, and PregnancyLounge with 5,550 pages indexed, or even this site (IMR) with 73,500 pages indexed, there would be no traffic without a lot of link building.

Content is a dime a dozen. But therein lies the problem - if you can put content up, so can the next guy, and the next guy, and 400 guys after that.

And what happens when 400 people put up the same crap content? The guy with the most links wins.

And, don't tell me about "natural links". Might as well be talking about the pink elephant. Natural links are fewer and farer between than most people would like to admit. People talk about CNN or Google, but those sites have exceedingly unque content. Are you going to hire reporters to go get the news first hand? And you going to develop a 100-million dollar search engorithm? No? Then stop mentioning CNN and Google.

And most sites that need SEO are not content sites. It seems Jill either misses this, or wants to turn all ecommerce sites into content sites.

"Oh, wow, I think I'll link to BuyCheap******.com today - I'm not ashamed at all of my sexual inadequacy."

:

Not going to happen like that. That's why we say that aggressive link building is necessary.
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Old 02-09-2004, 12:22 PM
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I agree there... for affiliate sites or even sites without truly unique content will get no links. So of course the only option is link building. I'm just saying that sometimes there are things that are unique that people link to and are not (easily) replicated by other sites (I had a PR7 before I ever heard the term search engine optimization or link building). The tools in my signature are a perfect example.

What is *very* powerful (in my opinion) is if you can pull off the huge minority of "truly unique content that is cool enough people want to link to it", then link build on top of it. I'm sure it would be far easier to build links to our keyword tracker than it would be to some random ****** affiliate site.

Of course, I'm not a SEO... I'm a coder, so don't listen to me.

- Shawn
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:30 PM
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The advantage with your content is that it is not simply unique, but extremely useful.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 01:48 PM
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Yes, there are going to be some sites - content based - that get links, based on their content. But most of my clients don't operate content sites. They operate ecommerce sites.


One idea we use on occasion is buying or setting up content sites to compliment the ecommerce site. Still, it requires a lot of link building activity, but the content site in itself creates link pop for the ecommerce site.
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Old 02-09-2004, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
What is *very* powerful (in my opinion) is if you can pull off the huge minority of "truly unique content that is cool enough people want to link to it"
So if we concede all that as true. Do you think 95% of the web sites out there fit into that category?

If not how do you explain the Poll results on WebProWorld? The answer is they have been brainwashed by people like Jill Whalen.

You can't prove the Content is King argument by citing a trivial minority of the sites on the web. Content cannot possibly be King for the vast majority of main line products commercial sites.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:02 PM
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If content was king for the "vast majority of sites", there would be too many kings. A king (of anything) cannot rule if there are many equals. By definition, a king is the minority.

From my standpoint, content *is* king, but to *be* king you need some seriously worthy content. "All" you need to do is have the best content on the Internet and you will be king (by way of natural linking). But if I was a SEO consultant that is the *last* thing I would tell my clients. Because it's unachievable for 99.999% of sites.

So in the literal sense Jill is right... content is king. But in practicality (for purposes of manipulating rankings), it's an impossible goal.

- Shawn
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:02 PM
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Yikes! At least over here the results would be the exact opposite.
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:03 PM
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So you're saying content is king because it gets you links? I think that would make links king, and content just a tool to get links.

No?

BTW, Bob seems grouchy today....
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:09 PM
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I totally agree... I'm just saying links are a reaction to content (if you have king-worthy content). That's what I was saying in my original post.

For *me* (I'm not preaching anything as right or wrong), my time is better spent building content, because I can build naturally linkable content faster than I can acquire links.... And I'm a lazy bastard.

- Shawn
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Old 02-09-2004, 03:11 PM
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May be a lazy bastard, but a generous and welcome lazy bastard.

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Old 02-09-2004, 03:15 PM
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See what happens when I don't have anything to do?

- Shawn
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:44 PM
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Heh, all hail King Shawn! LOL!

You are quite right that there cannot be many kings. And in the kingdom of the blind...
 
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Old 02-09-2004, 11:57 PM
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John makes a very good point about content sites vs other sites. I think this highlights a common oversight - different sites work differently and an SEO strategy has to take this into account. It's not a case of "Content is King" or "Links rule" - these are generalisations which apply in varying degrees to different situations.

Because my content is relatively niche, I can get new traffic simply by publishing more of the same sort of content. But if my site was all about selling PCs then it wouldn't matter how many pages of specs and prices I put up - it wouldn't help me that much.

However I think there is also a case for hybrid sites. As a test case I am working with a client who sells outdoor furniture. He has found it impossible to get his site noticed even though he has a large range of top-quality furniture. I have suggested that he writes a whole bunch of pages about how to choose furniture, how to care for it, how to use it effectively in landscape design, etc. My theory is that he could attract some new traffic based on this original content. We'll see how it goes.
 
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