Sgt_Kickaxe - 9:22 pm on Aug 8, 2010 (gmt 0)
While I don't share your enthusiasm for their SEO prowess, in my opinion they're doing some things right and accidentally benefiting from some other things, but the fact they can rank so many pages on page one is indeed a tribute.
eHow has some funky rankings love going on, an example is the image thumbnails they have on a lot of pages. Google gives credit for the full sized images to the pages with thumbnails when in fact those are links to other pages, not links to a bigger version of the image.
~ you can dump images on less useful pages and rank for them from the pages you want visitors to "hit".
~ you benefit when a visitor sees the thumbnail and clicks through to read what they came to find (pageviews, more "hits")
Google also seems to be ranking pages based on unique individual browser hits, as reported to them via their various web beacons, browser add ons etc and eHow is harvesting a lot of that well. A+ internal link structure too... but some of it is by pure chance, dig around and you'll see where they get it wrong too.
Anyway, my point is - unique content has legs but when those legs get too big they get knocked off rather harshly, they become the go-to for spammers and that does have an effect, especially when the quality content sinks within the sites hierarchy.
I'd be surprised if Google doesn't manually grant many sites certain levels of status much like they de-rank others, I wouldn't worry about eHow falling out of the serps unless they have a meltdown and use blackhat SEO and I don't see that happening. Getting pressured by wall street however, many have secretly bought links to please investors before.
Great interview Brett, lot's of good stuff in there. To illustrate my point, from the article...
He once spent two weeks in a bird blind in his native Chile to capture striking footage of a rarely seen Andean condor.
Now, if he uploaded that quality image to his website and it went viral how many other sites would re-print the image as "news"? Lots, including every major publication and search engine "trends" pages. It would be mashup fodder, the same happens with good content. Is it easier (and less expensive) to mashup another sites content to benefit yours or to spend two weeks in a bird hut for an image?
Also from the article...
To get there, Demand is using an army of Muñoz- Donosos to feverishly crank out articles and videos. They shoot slapdash instructional videos with titles like “How To Draw a Greek Helmet” and “Dog Whistle Training Techniques.” They write guides about lunch meat safety and nonprofit administration. They pump out an endless stream of bulleted lists and tutorials about the most esoteric of subjects.
I submit that they hope for quality but shoot for speed. Quality isn't the priority, speed is to the tune of 4,000 videos and articles a day.