Ranking Suppression Penalty Advice for PopularArticles.com - Need Strategic Guidance From Gurus1 Recommended Answer
Since then, I've learned about the proper use of widgetbait and other legitimate links from the excellent interview of Matt Cutts by Eric Enge here: http://www.stonetemple.com/articles/interview-matt-cutts-061608.shtml The off-topic widgetbait has since been removed. In addition, I've also removed links to PopularArticles.com from our other sites, stopped all other questionable linking practices, removed unintentional internally-duplicate articles (thanks Webmaster Tools), cleaned up misc. listings in our directory, and, most importantly, re-focused on publishing original, well-written content.
To make a long story short, I firmly believe that PopularArticles.com can be an excellent long-term brand for decades to come. (It's a good brand for the non-tech crowds.) I've received a lot of positive feedback from visitors, and I want to invest further time and resources into developing original content for the site and to build natural awareness to the site through legitimate methods as outlined by Matt Cutts' interview.
I've earmarked $20,000 USD for the acquisition / development of original content for the site, so I do have some funds to work with - if the risk can be mitigated somewhat by assurances that I'm headed in the right direction. (Everyone needs some positive reinforcement from time to time, right?) Going forward, that should be enough of a shoestring budget to start generating some level of revenue to allow for reinvestment in new content generation (via UGC or original content acquisition).
My questions to the community are these:
1. Is the site, as it is now, suitable for a reconsideration request? If not, what specific changes should be made before submitting a reconsideration request, considering the content that's on the site right now and the current backlinks to the site?
2. Please check out the following URL that lists new articles added to the site: http://www.populararticles.com/index.php?page=article_datewise&date=2008-12-14 Are we on the right track with these types of articles? After much research, I've identified dozens of repositories and classes of original content that are nowhere to be found online, but I need to know that we're going in the right direction with this site. The last thing I want to do is throw $20,000 down the drain. My wife would kill me. ;)
3. We have about 16,000 non-unique articles (i.e. they are syndicated on other sites) on PopularArticles.com right now (which pales in comparison to the number of non-unique articles in other article directories). This was just a batch to get some traffic going to the site initially. In order to meet the Google Quality Guideline of not having "substantially duplicate content," does this mean that we will need to add greater than 16,000 unique articles to the site? Should we remove all the articles that are published somewhere else online, and just start from scratch? I hate to split hairs, and I know the emphasis should be on following the spirit of the guidelines, but I need some numbers to work with.
I appreciate any advice the community can give, and if someone from the 'plex should stop by, I'd appreciate some specific tips for getting out of the doghouse.
Editor in Chief, Popular Articles
Sure, that would change everything. A site with 16,000 unique articles would fight like crazy to stop people from copying the content to preserve their rankings and copyright and not encourage people to copy it for a near worthless link from another site that republishes stuff already freely available all over the web. Therein lies the key problem with article submission sites. They are filled with content available all over the place which get links from sites that are filled with content available all over the place. The authors of such content may get some traffic if enough people syndicate it, but sites planning on getting any search traffic by republishing the content are misguided.
Here's the biggest problem, for example:
Is already listed on 373 pages in Google, you being one of them (#50 out of 343). Had anyone actually search for the exact title of the article, what would inspire them to pick one over the other? They are all the same.
I just don't see much of a future in it if all the content is already available. I don't even see much of a penalty, just a site that ranks #50 out of 343 for exactly quoted phrases, which generally results in very little search traffic, You're #3 for [popular articles], had it been penalized I wouldn't expect it to be seen there at all.
1. Where the article directory is strong fewer and fewer people is likely to submit, fewer and fewer people willing to use content from them as the "directory-copy" will be indexed.
2. Where the article directory is weak- simply the directory will not get traffic.
3. The really high quality content is a huge value and nobody will give it for free- and as time goes by in the near future it's not likely to remain true that regarding to Google traffic "loads of junk" (or not so high quality) content can bring equal or better results then fewer high quality content. The evaluation of content quality surely one of the factors that will be more and more important in the future for Google.
So personally for the first view mainly in the long run I don't see the real-jackpot in your site, as cannot see how these conflicts can be solved.
But I'm completely open to hear how you want to solve/neautralize these quite serious conflicts in the long run, and if I have any additional idea, thoughts will try to help.
1. If you read the interview at http://www.stonetemple.com/articles/interview-matt-cutts-061608.shtml, Matt condones article syndication to a certain extent.
2. I don't think asking for a link in exchange for free content is against any guidelines whatsoever.
3. As to your concerns about the classes of original content, don't worry about it. It's 100% legit; Google itself is investing hundreds of millions of dollars into it, and I'm not sharing. ;)
Let me ask you this: If this site had 16,000 unique articles, and we did not allow syndication, would that change your perception of it?
Phil, not sure why you posted the URL to our link buttons and banners page, but if you're implying that there is something wrong with giving people buttons, banners, and links to voluntarily place on their site, then I would have to strongly disagree with you.
This post has really been answered folks. Thank you for your time and comments.
Editor in Chief, Popular Articles
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