SEO and Quality Key to Competing in the Long Tail

Suite101 Talks Strategy for Competition

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A while back, WebProNews had a conversation with RateItAll President Lawrence Coburn about how the long tail of search is getting more competitive. Companies like AOL and Demand Media are working on dominating long tail searches with content across a broad scope of article subject matter. We had another conversation with another company that is doing this, called Suite101, which is placing an increased amount of emphasis on SEO to up the competition in this space even more. Suite101 President and CEO Peter Berger took a break from Olympics mania in Vancouver (home of the company’s headquarters) to tell us about it.

Peter Berger, CEO of Suitie 101 Talks about SEO , Quality, and the long tail "Making sure well-written articles get found online involves continuous hard work and search engine knowledge," says Berger. "We know that in order to help our writers get their stories found, we need to increase our expertise in the area of search." That’s why the company just hired search strategist Aaron Bradley as its SEO Director to implement new SEO tactics across its articles.

Berger tells WebProNews Suite101 attracts over 25 million unique monthly visitors. The company’s revenue comes from advertising – mainly AdSense, but other networks have been integrated as well. They don’t charge writers fees, but they have a strict submission process. Only 20% of writers are accepted, with 80% being turned away. Writers are required to submit work samples and resumes before being accepted. The first article must be submitted before it goes live, but after that, articles go live and are then reviewed by editors.

Berger says "quality is key," and is the reason he doesn’t seem too worried about competition from big name brands like AOL. That, and he says most writers want to write for numerous publications, so even if a writer does work for AOL, there’s a good chance they’ll submit to Suite101 as well.

Presumably Berger is hoping the hiring of Bradley will help with the competition in terms of search engine traffic, the company’s biggest traffic source (though they do see spikes from social media as well). One writer for Suite101 achieved a monthly earnings record of $5,000 for articles published at the site, which splits revenue with its writers. It will be interesting to see how quickly that record is surpassed with the company’s new SEO efforts.

Naturally, the more quality articles the site is able to obtain, the more content it will have out there in the search engines, and if their SEO efforts are as effective as they hope, they will be getting a lot more eyeballs and clicks on their ads. Berger thinks writers like Suite101 because it’s the "closest" they can et to "actual professional editors in a lot of cases. Quality, he says, is the "key differentiator" between Suite101 and its competitors. 

There has been a lot of talk about how SEO practices can hinder quality, because you should write for people, and not search engines. Berger thinks they can achieve both.

SEO and Quality Key to Competing in the Long Tail
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  • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4209248/concrete_floor_paint/ Concrete Floor Coatings

    Articles can be written for people & search engines. But the ratio should be 80/20 for people/se.
    People comes first, and when you put your keywords in the article- back to basics (proximity, prominences).

    • Chris Crum

      It should be interesting to look at the content coming from the site in the future, to see how reader-friendly it is.

  • http://www.targetwebs.com Target Webs

    Too often we as SEO professionals ignore the vast potential in Long Tail keyword searches conducted by the public as we tend to painstakingly go after the often flooded Generic keywords which seemingly dominate visitor traffic.

    This was a great article and matches our experience and often used vialbe means of generating targeted traffic for our SEO web design clients. It works extremely well for us…. finding those little “nitches” which add up to more sales and profits for our clients. That’s what it’s all about regardless of the path you take to get there.

  • http://www.supremeautoparts.com ac condensers

    most of the time web marketing specialists go with their competitors in the normal two tail and three tailed keywords.

  • http://www.pr.belong.co.il/ ???? ?????

    we need to start thinking about users and not search engines

  • http://www.helpfulguy.com/ helpfulguy

    Nice blog! thanks to Article writing, it is a good SEO way to promote a site

  • http://roxseo.com Chinese SEO

    SEO should only serve the purpose of indexing, when we do copy writing , we should more focus on readers. Keyword stuffing doesn’t work any more and we should all appreciate that.

    Long tail is a way of improving the general traffic but it is difficult to get highest rank .

    • Chris Crum

      I don’t know what all SEO strategies are going to be used in this case, but Berger stressed the importance of the quality in writing, so he appears to agree that the focus should be on readers, but he maintains that they can achieve both quality writing and better optimized content. If it’s just keyword stuffing and the writing suffers, I don’t imagine it will help the site’s success, but I get the impression that’s not going to be the case.

      • Stupidscript

        I’ve often wondered about the differences in these 3 approaches:

        1) Writing for people
        2) Writing for generic keyphrases
        3) Writing for the long tail keyphrases

        #1 is clearly all about readability, and therefore the communication of the idea as a whole.

        #2 is classic SEO … “keyword stuffing” if done poorly.

        But what about #3? Is it a method for “nano keyword stuffing”? Or is it really just a buzzphrase? I’d be very interested in seeing brief snippets of each approach as written by a professional copywriter.

  • http://www.chinesehandicrafts.net Alievivi

    over 25 million unique monthly visitors…that’s great.

    SEO, the mostly is content and links …right?

  • http://homesteadwebsitebuilder.com Intuit Sitebuilder SEO

    Quality content and lots of it will keep us in the search results. This is what I am discovering… Who ever gets the phrase first seems to be winning in the race.

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