Demand Media is getting serious about increasing the quality of eHow content. This has become clear after talks we've had with the company, as well as various presentations and interviews they've given.
They also launched a major redesign last month, that came with a feedback feature for users to let the company know whether or not any given article was useful. They've been making partnerships with celebrities who are generally considered authorities in their industries, as well as a partnership with Getty Images, to get quality images on content.
A job opening from eHow Money, posted on PublishersMarketplace.com is further evidence that they're doing more to attract quality authors. The gig pays $17-20 per article (up from $10-15) and has strict qualifications requiring a degree in business, finance, or law, and "extensive experience in business writing."
eHow Money is a channel of the eHow site, and includes sub-categories like “Saving & Spending,” “Real Estate,” “Career,” and “Your Business”. The “Your Business” category is broken down into “Starting a Business,” “Managing Employees,” and “Running a Business”. These categories are broken down even further, and so forth.
We reported that Demand Media was looking for more business content writers last month, when they tweeted as much, and noted that any expansion in content here is significant, because there’s a good chance people looking to start a business or improve their existing business will be seeing articles from this section a lot, as they search Google for advice on various aspects of business life.
Granted, that was before the most recent round of the Panda update, where eHow took a significant hint in Google search visibility, based on various data sets from different firms. Still, there are plenty of search queries where eHow is in fact still ranking very well. Currently, for example, for a Google search on “how to evaluate employee performance,” I’m seeing an eHow article rank at the very top.
It’s good to know that Demand Media is requiring the above qualifications and paying a bit more, as this should (in theory) attract a higher caliber of writing.
The Panda update didn't do anything to help Demand's stock, and the company can downplay the significance of Google traffic to its success all it wants, but losing a large amount of Google traffic isn't good for any site, particularly one running Google AdSense.
The more quality content users happen across on eHow, the less likely they'll be to immediately seek a different search result (Google's looking at this). Also the less likely they'll be to block the domain from future searches (Google's looking at this too). Users might even click the +1 button to send a signal to Google that the articles are in fact high quality, and worthy of top ranking. Maybe.
Regardless of how eHow continues to perform in search, quality content is also the kind of content that people like to share with others in their social networks. Less dependence on Google for traffic is always a good thing too. Of course if the article is doing well (in terms of shares) on social networks, Google will likely see that and consider it in its rankings too.