I completely forgot I was part of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
I signed up a good couple of years ago and then forgot to use it. I pretty much forgot it existed until I got an email this week thanking me for the past nine years.
“At Yahoo, we’re focused on making daily habits more inspiring and entertaining. That means we’re constantly reviewing our products and experiences and, in some cases, we have to make tough decisions to no longer support a product.
“As part of our ongoing effort to sharpen our focus, on July 31, 2014, Voices.Yahoo.com will be shut down; on August 15, we will make the final Performance Payment before Contributor.Yahoo.com closes.”
It was a blanket email sent out to people that have an account with the Yahoo Contributor Network, which was an awful lot of people.
So what’s the deal?
The Yahoo! Contributor Network was a content network where people could create and share their content across its specialist sites including sports, news, movies, and more.
It was a fantastic resource for writers old and new to earn a little bit of money and bolster their portfolio. Articles would often be featured amongst those written by staff writers and others, giving writers priceless exposure.
Yahoo! Voices was a place where individuals could publish user-generated articles.
So why are these properties being closed down? Yahoo! is no stranger to poor management, but the finger is being pointed at Yahoo!’s closest search competitor – Google.
Were you part of the Yahoo! Contirbutor Network or Yahoo! Voices? Has closing them had a serious impact on your life? Let me know in the comments below.
Not so cuddly…
Google Panda is getting a fair share of blame for the closure of both the Contributor Network and Voices.
The algorithm which focuses on quality content has been used in the past to target content farms and low-quality content networks.
And with the Yahoo! networks creating approximately 10,000 articles per week many are pointing to Panda as the source of Yahoo!’s ills.
Though Yahoo! hasn’t come out and specifically blamed Google and Panda there’s form here. Yahoo!’s previous content venture, Associated Content, had two-thirds of its content hit by Panda in 2011 when the algorithm was first released. That’s a BIG hit.
Yahoo! is also shutting down other properties but there are two things that I feel the closure of Contributor Network and Voices underline. That there is no more room for mass-produced content and that Google will always hold all the search cards.
If those two statements are indeed true then it would also be fair to suggest that Google is the ruling judge on what is and isn’t quality content.
The official Steps to a Google-friendly site say ‘Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site.
‘In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site.’
That’s very vague and subjective for a lot of people though. Consider this – I don’t like Heat Magazine, Take a Break and similar publications. I wouldn’t class these as quality content, yet they have their own market and the editorial is respected by the audience.
That content’s online, too. But just because I think a lot of what’s written is garbage doesn’t mean I think it should be penalised. It has its own audience and is appreciated by its market.
I feel a lot of what’s on BuzzFeed is terribly flippant but it’ll outrank a lot of other sites, despite the content being little more than a few gifs and headlines.
What do you constitute a quality piece of content, and what’s the perfect long-term content marketing strategy? Let me know below!
Judging the judge
Thankfully the links were reinstated after a public outcry but it sets a worrying precedent for what constitutes an acceptable piece of content in Google’s eyes.
A lot of people find top five lists interesting. A lot of people find interviews interesting. How-to articles and guides generate a lot of interest, while in-depth long-form features are great for sharing.
From a marketing perspective the best thing to do is to first identify your audience and who would be interested in the content you want to create.
I think that’s the number one lesson you need to learn when it comes to creating content. Take the Heat Magazine example – their priority is to create content that interests the readers that keep coming back for more and have helped them grow, both offline and online.
Always write for the benefit of your audience, never for the benefit of a search engine.
If you’re doing it right and sharing your content the right way – whether via social media, email marketing, or other – then the traffic and the rankings will come over time.
That’s a mistake that a lot of people make when online marketing, they think too much about the impact of search engines and try and revolve their site around how they work.
Is a search engine going to spend money on your products and services? No. That’s what customers are for!
If you’re not a writer at heart or a journalist then don’t worry! The most important thing is the message, and if you can get it across to the right people on your website and do something creative then your content can go further than you imagined.