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Farhad Manjoo at Slate ponders the long term viability of what has to date been a successful strategy in garnering eyeballs for the Huffington Post (oh and thousands of other sites). From the article: "Not all SEO is bad, and not all HuffPo articles employ shady SEO, but some of the tricks that HuffPo uses to gin up search traffic are pretty sketchy. These tricks include: stuffing articles with strings of meaningless keywords (HuffPo does this on every piece), repeating potential search queries at the top of a story, and carefully engineering articles in response to rising search terms. These tactics exploit obvious weaknesses in Google and other search engines. If Google's mission is to provide search results that you—a human being—find useful, then HuffPo's keyword-glutted pieces don't belong, because no human being considers a list of synonyms an interesting way to start an article."
Comments5 Comments  


Avatar Administrator
from MattMcGee 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 0

It's good to see an even-handed SEO-related article on a more mainstream site like Slate.

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 1

From the article:

Aol, Aol Acquires Huffington Post, Aol Buys Huffington Post, Aol Buys Huffpo, Aol Huffington Post, Huffington Post, Huffington Post Aol, Huffington Post Aol Merger, Huffington Post Media Group, Huffington Post Sold, Huffpo Aol, Huffpost Aol, Media News.

See what I did there? That's what you call search-engine optimization, or SEO.

Isn't it lovely what people call SEO these days?

Sad thing is that it's true.

The author of this article says it won't last forever, that eventually Google will stop it, but I'm not sure I agree. They seem to be at a place in time where as long as the content answers the search query, it's unimportant how they got to be in the top spots.


Avatar Moderator
from hugoguzman 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I honestly don't think Huffpo needs to stuff those keywords at the top of articles to rank for those terms. It's their domain authority that does the trick.

But then again, I haven't tested that, so I can't say for sure.

I know that Wikipedia doesn't do it yet still ranks for almost everything under the sun.

Avatar Moderator
from Jill 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 0

I would bet you're correct about that, Hugo. It's a shame they're setting a bad example. And it's a shame that the Slate guy believes that's what is necessary for SEO as well.

He forgets that there are tons and tons of people who like HuffPo's actual content, and it gets zillions of natural links because of that. Which in turn means they can rank for pretty much anything they put on the page. (Which I guess in turn is why they put so much crap on the on the page?)

from Aaranged 2661 Days ago #
Votes: 1

Whether or not they appear for the purposes of keyword stuffing, can someone please call "those keywords at the top of articles" what they are?  Namely tags - links to subject-aggregated pages.

This is not an unimportant distinction.  I think one could reasonably argue that over-use of tags (certainly something HuffPo is guilty of in a lot of situations) hinders rather than helps search performance as a result of keyword cannibalization (as you're actually creating competing pages for any given search term).

Not that HuffPo doesn't know this, and actually there's a lot of back-end semantic processing both to autogenerate tags and organize them (you'll see, for example, that in situations where a subject page has been promoted to the "/news/" folder, that the equivalent "/tag/" page 301 redirects to "/news/" - as is the case when a "/tag/" matches one of HuffPo's upper-level categories like "/entertainment/").

All of this to say that their tagging system is a sophisticated one, and used for other purposes besides SEO (such as relevancy matching for related posts).  Typifying this as some sort of 1995 "keyword stuffing" is a gloss.

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