If you’ve been following Demand Media and their success in creating mass content creation using sophisticated search data combined with cheaply paid editors for long-tail search traffic, then you may find a recent post by Gil Reich interesting.
I discussed Demand Media during my UGC talk at Pubcon and fully intend to cover them on this site, even if much of their content is actually paid for, versus purely user-generated. The reason I usually discuss them is because I often find myself educating people about the goldmine that is available in long-tail SEO (with UGC being the top tactic at targeting the long-tail).
Onto the post. Gil works for Answers.com, a direct competitor of Demand Media for many long tail search queries. I haven’t met Gil, but I will soon as he will be speaking with me on the UGC panel of SMX East. When Demand Media released some numbers for their IPO, Gil took a look through the 269 page document to highlight some numbers that are counter to the story that has been written about Demand Media. In particular, he noticed:
- Demand’s content farm made $73 million, not $200 million (still a sizable chunk).
- Demand lost $22 million lat year (the number should be higher due to amortizing creation costs over 5-year periods rather then when the service is performed). Demand has lost $52 million since its formation in 2006.
- 60% of eHow’s pageview traffic comes from Google. There’s no question that eHow and LiveStrong heavily depend on Google for their traffic and a single update could greatly decrease their traffic (I expected the Caffeine update to hit Demand Media hard, but it didn’t seem to affect them as much as I would have thought).
If these numbers are of interest to you, especially if you are considering investing in the IPO, I suggest you read Gil’s article about Demand Media.
We’re pleased to announce we pitched the topic of UGC SEO to SMX East and it was just selected for its own session on the first day as an intermediate SEO topic. This is the first time a major search conference has covered UGC SEO as its own topic. I spoke about it last November at Pubcon, but it was part of a mostly forum-focused session.
The session description is mostly about comments & reviews, but I’ll be covering other types of user-generated content:
SEO & User Generated Content – The “voice of the customer” can be a dual-edged sword. Positive reviews and comments can help reinforce reputation or even persuade others to buy. Negative feedback can be the kiss of death if it gets out of hand. But ultimately, applying good SEO to user generated content extends the reach of your site and gives you more potential touchpoints with searchers, particularly if you mine your UGC for keyword research. Come see how several sites are turning the (free) content created by their customers into search engine gold.
The session will be October 4th, 10:45-noon, during the 1st day of SMX East. Here’s the full agenda. If UGC SEO is of interest to you, I suggest you follow this site’s RSS feed and consider registering for SMX East (it is $400 off if you register before July 30th. Note: the conference will likely sell out).
Other speakers will be announced soon, but I (Dustin Woodard) have already confirmed. If you have any ideas, stories or suggestions on what I should cover, feel free to leave a comment.
I came across an interesting experiment being promoted on YouTube by famous Director/Producer, Ridley Scott. He’s hosting a one-day event where people across the globe will help to create a user-generated film that is already being promised a spot in next year’s Sundance Film Festival.
It’s not the first time a big director promoted user-submissions that could end up in a big budget film. The last one that comes to mind is Watchmen – where Zack Snyder worked with YouTube to have people submit commercials that could end up in the film. It’s also not the first time hundreds of user-submitted video clips were tied together to create a video–a fun one that comes to mind is the Gmail video.
Life In A Day will be filmed on July 24, 2010 by an unknown number of participants who will upload their videos to YouTube in hopes of being part of the first user-generated feature-length documentary. Kevin MacDonald, Ridley Scott, and a team of editors will review the footage, looking for a way to cut it into an interesting documentary (this will be the hardest part by far). The teaser video shown here confused a lot of people as it isn’t clear what they want the video to be of, but further digging revealed the following requests:
- What Do You Love?
- What Do You Fear?
- What Makes You Laugh?
- What is in Your Pocket?
Since I’m a filmmaker and am a big fan of crowd-sourcing, collaboration, and user-generated content, I’ll be watching the progress of this video closely – I might even participate.
Considering videos are one of the greatest ways to attack universal search (when you see videos, images, news, etc. on page one for a given search), you may want to think of creative ways you might be able to get a crowd of strangers to submit videos for your benefit. The video will surely get links from the participants and, hopefully, many more. Besides YouTube exposure, the video links acquired will send signals to Google that your video is relevant for the search query you targeted.
UGCSEO.com is slated to launch later tonight with my first article about UGC SEO, but an interview that went up on Search Engine Journal today might bring people here a little quicker than I expected.
The interview is relevant for this site because one of the questions asked is about user-generated content being the “holy grail” for generating search traffic. In the interview on question #5, I touch on topics that will be covered in-depth on this blog.
Check out the interview and come back to this site tomorrow to start learning about using UGC to drive your SEO: SEO Auteur: My Interview With Dustin Woodard
After speaking at PubCon in Vegas on “Harnessing UGC to Drive SEO” last November, I’ve had a few requests to publish more information about my experiences with user-generated content sites.
This site will launch next week. I’ll be covering some of my past experiences working at Wetpaint and Allrecipes, plus interviewing SEOs who currently work for large sites that feature UGC. There’s so much opportunity and untapped potential for any large site to garner massive amounts of long-tail traffic by simply giving their community a voice. I’m excited to finally write about this topic.
See you next week!