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Antidote to Content Farms?

generic-cans.jpg

Do you buy generic medicine? Or generic soda? Or generic anything? I don't. You know why? I like brands. They make me feel good. They let me know what I'm getting before I get it.

And I like how brands distinguish themselves. Its usually with a snappy design. Or a color. Or a jingle. Or a slogan. Or combination of all three. I see those Golden Arches, I know exactly what I'm getting. Because brands don't surprise me (unless of course the brand is associated with surprises), I never walk away feeling unsatisfied.

You know where brands don't exist? Search result pages. Nope. Every result looks alike. Title (usually blue, red for blekko), snippet (black) and URL (usually green, gray for blekko). This is the same for the paid results as it is for the organic ones. Type in a medical query, and the results from ehow.com look exactly like the one from the Mayoclinic.

Actually I take that back. Ehow hires SEO experts to match titles and query terms better, so they actually look more appealing (something we call perceived relevance). Silly Mayo Clinic hires doctors, nurses and medical librarians instead.

A search results page has one brand, and one brand only, on it: the search engine's. If that brand doesn't elicit user trust, the search engine is in trouble. This is why we take the spam and content farm issue so seriously at blekko.

If brands lived on search result pages, you'd click on the ehow result for medical queries as often as you bought generic diet soda. But they don't.

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Comments (2)

Fred:

You/we assume those silly doctors are smarter than us though for medical opinions, right?

I think the issue could partially be solved with incentive. Ehow has an incentive to optimize ect or they won't make money. What if advertising on your site was a negative ranking factor? Remove the incentive then in theory the best content will rise to the top, regardless if it has been paid for, which doesn't mean it is good or bad.

mike:

yes, factoring ads into the equation makes sense.

and yes, i do think doctors are smarter w/r/t medical issues.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 5, 2011 8:14 AM.

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