Yesterday's post on Content Farms over on ReadWriteWeb makes for depressing reading. The likes of Demand Media and Answers.com are reportedly flooding the Net with low quality copy that's ranking increasingly well in search engines like Google.
Richard MacManus, author of the piece over at RWW, noting that that both writers and readers of content will need to work harder to get quality content, urges Google and other search engines to make sure “quality rules”.
I … hope that Google and other search engines find better ways to surface quality content
What this means for your business blog
If you're not working hard to convert visitors to your blog into subscribers, you need to.
Look again at where your calls-to-action are. Are you just using the default RSS subscribe button? Or perhaps you're using the WP Greet Box to encourage visitors from Twitter, Google, etc to subscribe?
Greet Box helps; but so does Yoast's excellent Comment Redirect form. I've noticed from the stats that first time commentators to my blog often subscribe because I ask them to with this cute WP plugin.
Social networking = the new SEO
If you're starting a new business blog it's also essential that you've optimised your blog for search engines. Trouble is with content farms filling up a lot of the SER space now, it's getting harder to rank well. So nurture your contacts, work hard to get people to link to your site and individual posts. Perhaps enter into agreements with other bloggers to help each other build links. Get social.
One thing is certain, as the Net matures and more and more people wise up to the value of ranking well in google, smaller businesses are going to struggle to generate the same kind of traffic. In the early days blogs did well because of the url structure. Google naturally seemed to like the way WordPress blogs worked, especially as other were generous with their link love.
Now, with companies entering the market that generate 4000 articles a day for their website, it's almost impossible for a business blogger to keep up.
Social media connections, personal recommendations, link love, and working actively to get people to opt into your blog content is what will help people find out what you have to say on a regular basis.
Update: Tuesday, 15/12/2009
There's an excellent discussion of the rise of junk content over on TechCrunch.
Check out Martin Mosch's piece on content farms, too.