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In these searches, I'm finding an alarming trend. It's one thing to monetize a site, we all have bills to pay. But lately I'm finding that actual content is so crowded out it's a fraction of a site's real estate. Just today I was on a site, in frames, surrounded by affiliate ads, adSense, buy now's, and all sorts of other gizmos, with the actual content reduced to a meager 4" X 6" space scrolling in a frameset.
Is anyone else bothered by this? Do you think a site's value to the site owner is improved or degraded by an overuse of commercialism?
Off to my tiny corner of the 'net . . . .
Don't worry about it - good content wins out. Years ago I built a site that was nothing more than a collection of short stories and poems by myself and some friends - we really just liked to write, and were all dumb enough to think other people would be interested in reading our little tales.
All told, there's only about 120 (or so, I forget) short stories and poems on the site. Clean, easy layout and easy to follow nav, but nothing too spectacular to look at. No graphics or blinky things to look at. Other "projects" forced me to set it aside (no time to work on the hobby, alas). I haven't updated the site in 3 years.
To this day I get people "submitting" stories at least once or twice a week, and it's in the top 10 in G (out of 90 million or so results) for a key phrase that a lot of MFA sites would kill for. The two blocks of google ads/page more than cover the hosting costs.
Good content, and the attention to detail that comes from a labor of love will always have an impact, and a place on the web.
Therefore the only thing Google can do is hate MFA site too.
Sorry, I was calling anything with adsense a MFA. I'm usually seeing a website with adsense in position 1,2,3 or 4 of the SERPs. It's a source of revenue that G does not ignore, but, of course, they are probably trying to reduce results that show low content real estate.
On completion, I showed the website to a few friends and family - I received the same reaction from most of them "this is nice, but maybe you could have added some flash - eye catching images. Movement is missing".
This is a bit off-topic . . . . but a common plight . . . .
You must immediately recognize two things about these comments:
First, anyone who says "it needs movement" or it "just sits there, it looks dead" is speaking from an amateur viewpoint. Like you say they are just reacting to your request for a review based on presentation because they have no knowledge of the topic, and really aren't aware of all the things we are that make a web page work.
Second, you have to ask - are these people interested in your topic? Find someone who is looking for the resources offered by your site. They will have a different view; how easy it is to find guitar tabs, etc. This is your real market anyway.
Concerning ad-cluttered pages: i usually move on directly when I see such a website by closing the page. However, many users will navigate away from poor pages by clicking a well blended ad and that is exactly what the creators of such sites want. Creating low quality content pages can actually pay of if users navigate away by clicking an ad.
People who are actually going to read your content do into care how good it looks (although they do care about how easy it is to read and how easy it is to navigate).
I have seen a website killed, at least partly, by spending far too much on looks and loosing focus on the the content (this was a dotcom boom site I worked for, with millions of pounds in funding).
Both are company slogans used around here almost daily for the last 10 years.
I realize people have to eat and people have dreams. New and sometimes better entrepreneurs appear daily. The Internet is a strong lure for get rich quick schemes. yada-yada-yada
But the crowded Internet that has resulted from suppliers signing up affiliate site after site in hopes of getting their sales up is the main problem. If they get affiliates spread thin enough that no one affiliate ever reaches minimum payment their revenue is up even more. Free salespersons. who would have every thunk up that one? One large affiliate recruiter that sells software comes to mind but there are many others across the entire product spectrum. The hotter the content nitch, the more affiliates you find.
There needs to be higher standards for affiliate advertising sites. Right now all you need is a web site and they will sign you up.
Raise the bar on the quality of content required to become an affiliate and watch it thin out in a hurry.
2 more cents worth,
The #1 result in Google was a news site, and the snippet looked promising.
When I reached the site, the page was 90% advertising, 9% internal links, and the 12 words in the snippet was a copy of the the entire text of the story. Every page of the site was like that.
b/ you see these web 2.0 site with "be the first to rate this product / wirte a review" everywhere - that is EVIL!
However, I am sure content has the future and its price will increase once it turns out that there are just user reviews around and there is no good content left.