Landing Page Quality Scoring

Summary: Your website link(s) in your article’s resource box MUST provide our users with perceived value when they land on your website…and we intend to figure out how to quantify/qualify whether your URL adds value or turns off our visitors as part of our obsession with wanting to improve our users’ experience.

Today more than ever, we live in an “ad-scoring” world where publishers not only want quality advertisers, but they are concerned with the quality of the landing page once one of their users clicks on the ad, that the experience is positive.

How does this apply to EzineArticles and our expert authors? When our website visitors come to us because they trust us to provide them with a (5) star quality experience, we look bad if they click on the website in the resource box to a (1) star website experience or worse, broken/dead link. Therefore the more relevant your website is to the content in your article, the higher the relevancy and perceived value will be to our user who is leaving our home to visit yours.

Here are (7) initial guidelines on what a 5 star vs. 1 star website landing page looks like:

  1. Does your website provide related / relevant value to what your article topic was about? ie: If your article was about “corporate sales training tips”, will the user find more of the same on your website or will they find completely unrelated content that confuses them as to what your real area of expertise is?
  2. Is your website up? If you have dead or broken links in your article resource box right now, your landing page quality score is ZERO.
  3. Has your website been updated in the last 6 months? Stale content is boring and less valuable.
  4. Does your website provide contact information? If you don’t want to be personally found, your website quality score is lower than those who provide multiple ways to be contacted (email, contact-us form, telephone, skype, fax, Instant Messaging, etc). Your website is more valuable to our users if you openly share information about your business.
  5. Squeeze pages can be perceived as evil by some users. If the only way you’ll cough up more value to our user when they visit your website is by them having to cough up their email address, your website is less valuable than one that offers both (the free information or an opt-in way to get additional information). I’m not saying squeeze pages are evil, but they can be a turn-off to a visitor who doesn’t trust you enough yet to give you their private email address. Try to give your web visitors an option to receive value without being forced to register with you.
  6. Does your website have pop ups, no privacy guarantees, and no delineation between your content and ads? First, we already don’t accept links that force a pop up, but websites that intend to deceive will score lower than those that offer more transparency behind their intentions. Make sure you don’t try to hold your web visitor hostage by over-controlling the exit click or disabling the back button (now that’s evil).
  7. Do you honor your deals and do as you promised on your website? You’d be surprised how many folks report to us when they have a bad experience with a particular author.

Before we make our website landing page scoring part of the EzineArticles article review process, we’d like to hear from you.

What changes to the above (7) should we make, add or delete?

67 Comments »


1
Arthur Levine writes:

Hi, i notice that when I write an article on marketing, I get a pick up in my regular article category which is spiritual. I don’t know why this happens.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:13 AM

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2
Louie Latour writes:

Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with a squeeze page. People work hard to build content on their sites. Subscribing to a list with the option to unsubscribe at any time is a fair trade for good content. Website owners should be compensated for providing quality content for free. I think adsense is a greater evil than having a squeeze page, and eZine Aricles is filled with adsense ads.

My 2 cents, remove squeeze pages from any list affecting quality score.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:16 AM

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3
Ian Feavearyear writes:

Personally, I don’t think the landing pages should be reviewed at all, except for broken links or sites with absolutely no content.

Remember, the source of most of your revenue is from articles provided by the authors on your site, free of charge – the author’s pay back is getting visitors to their site. If you now refuse articles because the sites aren’t up to scratch then you are going to reduce the number of people prepared to submit articles for free. I know this is a mutually back scratching scenario but I’m concerned you may be heading too far in the wrong direction – you’ve got to give your authors links otherwise why would they submit?

One other thing, the landing page is in the “About the Author” section not an “About the Article” section. As long as the landing page is connected to the author, that should be fine, IMHO.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:26 AM

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4
Rick Lannquist writes:

I agree with these standards. You already hold the articles to tight standards, so these only make sense.

I might suggest some kind of ranking for the blogs the author or site has.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:26 AM

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5
Audrey Okaneko writes:

There is only one of the above that could affect me. My site is scrapbooking. I write 3 types of articles, scrapbooking, parenting and home business. I would hate to see you reject my parenting articles because my site is about scrapbooking, versus parenting.

Audrey :)

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:33 AM

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6
Edward writes:

This will discourage more authors from submitting articles.

I hope EzineArticles is not going to become like Google Adwords where advertisers who are affected by “a low Landing Page Quality Score” have no idea what they specifically have to do to their landing page to please Google.

Websites can experience downtime…updating content on a website can be expensive and time consuming and the updated content may not be as useful to a user as the original content.

Requiring people to provide their contact information on their website means that they have to sacrifice their privacy. I wouldn’t want someone from Asia who doesn’t know what time it is in the United states to be calling me at 3am in the morning if I provide my phone number on my website.

I say that as long as a website owner is not doing anything illegal or unethical their website should not be judged.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:43 AM

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7
Clayton writes:

Can I assume there will be no rating if there is no website link, as is my current situation.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:50 AM

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8
John Barrington writes:

Both my websites, directly follow on the information that is contained in my articles, only, obviously, it is far more comprehensive.
The websites are up and running at this moment.
Regards,
John

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:51 AM

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9
Edward Weiss writes:

Great idea! You can create your own version of pagerank for resource boxes.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:51 AM

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10
Kamau Jackson writes:

I agree with Louie.

I think users are familiar enough with squueze pages to reject them and move on.

Only authors who make compelling offers would probably get clickthroughs anyway. Readers who respond can decide whether it’s compelling enough.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:52 AM

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11
Stephen Bush writes:

I feel that ALL of the 7 points have substantial merit in helping to determine an “annoyance” index, but feel that number 7 would be the most difficult to quantify. Short of your acting like the Better Business Bureau and interviewing dozens of actual clients/visitors, how could that actually (and practically) be accomplished in your review? I would hope and assume that after you adopt a final mix of criteria and then apply them to a landing page that you present your findings to the impacted author in order to provide them with a PRIVATE opportunity to revise the potentially offending aspect BEFORE issuing a PUBLIC landing page rating.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:54 AM

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12
Louie Latour writes:

By the way, since Adsense is notably missing from that list, one could argue that Adsense is the number contributor to the lack of quality on the Internet. Single-handedly Google and Adsense are responsible for a gazillion junk page and splogs littering the Internet with no purpose other than getting an Adsense click.

Shouldn’t Adsense be a part of any quality discussion?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 11:58 AM

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13

Chris:

I think this is another good idea that will build more credibility for EzineArticles.com. The trust this will build with site users will benefit all authors.

As for the squeeze page: I agree that the landing page should not be used that way. The landing page should tell people who you are and what you offer and give them a reason to look further at your site. If you have content that you feel is valuable, don’t put it on the landing page. Make an area of your site that offers more and make that area accessible only by subscription.

A good example of this is most newspaper sites. There is a lot of free content for visitors, but if you want the special articles or more in-depth news, you must subscribe.

The landing page is your chance to make friends. If you turn them away there, where can you go?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:01 PM

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14
Jeanette Fisher writes:

Besides writing articles, I also post other author’s articles on my websites. I never use an article if it points to an adsense site with no useful content. If you added a landing page score with adsense deductions, that would help me find articles to use.

I think squeeze pages have a good purpose and should not be penalized. I give away a lot of information on http://preparehome.com and think it fair for someone to give up an email address in exchange. Besides, most people use a throw away email address anyway.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:15 PM

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15
Thad Ferguson writes:

I dont think adsense should be part of the discussion for two reasons
1.EzineArticles uses adsense
2.Plenty of other high quality websites use adsense as well

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:46 PM

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16
Melanie Negrin writes:

Would this require us to include a separate landing page on our web site for articles and limit us from directing individuals to the main page of the site?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM

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17
Marte Cliff writes:

I think you’ve got a great idea here. You’ll keep us all on our toes with regular site updates – which we should be doing anyway – and perhaps eliminate some hucksters.

Just this morning there was something I thought interesting, so went to a site, only to be greeted by a squeeze page. I decided I wasn’t interested enough to take that extra step, which of course could have turned into several extra steps. I applaud you for discouraging that practice.

My reaction: “Go for it!”

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:47 PM

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18
Heidi Caswell writes:

On squeeze pages, I never, never give even a junk email address to a site unless I have information than what you commonly find. And it is only fair that I have the contact info for someone I give my email to. I have no problem with signing up for a newsletter or bookmarking a website I find interesting.

Heidi

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:50 PM

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19
Lance Winslow writes:

This makes sense although what about the newbie breaking into the business doing their own website on a limited scale. Perhaps they have a 4-5 page website and they are doing the best that they can. Perhaps most of their articles are indeed on a similar topic, but some are not. For instance they have written articles about hobbies of theirs, lets say Playing Tennis, but their website is mostly about selling an eBook on starting your own online business? So they have 5 articles on Tennis, two on backpacking and one on weight loss and their eBook and their other 40 articles are on the different topic of their eBook you see? Do they get a lower score on their articles or website? Then their linkl would show lower scores on some articles and higher on others? Sure sounds arbitrary to me.

Now this is not to say I do not agree with you, because I do find many articles are filler articles, basically Encyclopedia re-writes and then go to some ridiculous one-page BS website with Adsense all over it and links from here to hell and back. That obviously makes for a problematic issues with viewership trust?

Another issues is that someone who knows little about a subject may assume that the website has nothing to do with the subject when in actuality it really does, so who is the judge and jury on this matter? How can that person empathically know what the Internet Surfer is thinking while searching? and one man’s relevancy is another man’s critique. These are my initial thinking outloud thoughts on this subject.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:51 PM

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20
Marte Cliff writes:

Now I read the other comments… and have to say I have no objection to adsense. Adsense is a good way to support good free content.

Sites with no content aren’t destined to live long, so why should we worry about them?

I do agree that when we give away content it would be nice to be compensated, but believe in that relationsip-building that Cynthia mentions. We have to give people a reason to trust us before we demand their names and addresses.

Audrey’s comment about her parenting articles and her scrapbooking seem related to me. After all, parents want to record their children’s lives. Could she be considered “legal” if she added a page to her site about parenting, with perhaps a link back to her articles?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 12:56 PM

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21

Hi Christopher,

Thanks for your latest ezine about landing pages.

By co-incidence, I was just submitting an article about a better alternative to squeeze pages when your message arrived. It might be helpful to other authors, so here’s the link: http://EzineArticles.com/?id=358059

Warmest regards,

Paul Hooper-Kelly

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:09 PM

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22
Jack Krohn writes:

I agree with and applaud all efforts to improve the already high standing you (we) share together. What worries me is some of the criteria invites subjective analysis which will lead to lots of unhapiness on someone’s part. If the subjectivity could be taken out then maybe you’d have something to firmly build on.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:15 PM

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23

Clayton,

No link in your resource box already makes your content suspect to us because it tells us that you don’t have a direct or easily identifyable profit motive.

Our ideal author has a profit motive and that motive helps us understand why they are submitting articles. I’m not saying we don’t like your content because a lot of authors submit articles without any mention of a website in their resource box and we do value this content… while at the same time being suspect of it.

This might not be fair to you, but often times the content that is submitted without a website URL in the resource box is usually highly political or religious charged content that often causes complaints.

Ian F:

I think we’re more interested in doing the landing page quality score thing to help folks identify which of our content is the best and help direct more traffic to the best articles while minimizing the level of exposure that lower quality articles receive.

Small Example: I’d like our home page to only show the freshes articles of authors who have a website with a high quality score.

Another example: A publisher using our advanced search wants to identify content from a real expert vs. someone who only hired ghostwriters. The quality score of your landing page would help us figure out who’s real vs. who’s submitting ghostwritten content.

John B,

Don’t worry if we catch your website when it’s down. We would determine a link is dead if it’s dead multiple random times that we check in a multi-day time period. We’re not perfect either and fight to keep our uptime high.

Edward,

Yes, I get that providing contact information does sacrifice your privacy; but real businesses provide this information.

In our case, we don’t provide a phone number on our website, but we’re highly responsive via email and via our contact us forms. If you give folks a way to contact you, you’re quality score will be higher than someone who tries to hide completely from public contact.

Melanie N,

At this point, this landing page quality scoring thing is just a thought. We don’t have any implementation plans or due dates, but it is on our mind.

Most likely we’d do it only to TAG and identify the quality of an article based on the landing page and then spend months anayzing this data before taking next steps to change what we would or wouldn’t accept.

Thanks everyone so far for your comments… Wow, this is a hot button issue for sure. :-)… which means, we will study your comments before taking any actions.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:27 PM

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24
Lance Winslow writes:

Clayton, you say no resource box makes you look suspect? Yet, think of all the articles in Print Journals, media, newspapers with no resource box under them? Do they look suspect? Let me tell you that an advertisment under an article makes it look suspect to the reader or viewer because you are trying to SELL them something, although you are doing it above board, you are still trying to SELL them something and thus your article is indeed trying to SELL them something and you have a profit motive and you are trying to SELL them something so obviously your article is automatically jaded because you are trying to SELL them something? How on Earth could that not appear to be suspect?

Someone with no resource box would clearly be writing the article for another purpose, which could include dissemination of information rather than trying to sell them something. See the point? So whereas this site may want a resource box with links to sell something, the reader does not necessarily care if it is there and your articles may get picked up more from other sites if you do not have one, as you are not diluting their click ad traffic on their site. You see? Different strategies for different purposes only. I therefore win this debate.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:46 PM

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25
Karen Pina writes:

Yes, this certainly is a hot topic! I spend a lot of time, energy, and money providing a valuable website and love the idea of ensuring links in a resource box provide value to the readers. At the same time, I also agree that value is perceived differently by different folks. Hence, if/when implemented be clear about your goals, an author’s goals, and the goals of the readers and be sure to include some tangible way to measure the effectiveness of whichever course you take–pre/post implementation.

I am coach a’generalist so I write on many different topics relative to a leader’s life so when landing on my page you’ll find many different items of interest for leaders that tie into the various topics I write about to support leaders. Just some food for thought in terms of how diverse this is and how discerning one may need to be in “spotting the appropriate guidelines.”

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:50 PM

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26
Louie Latour writes:

Chris,

You said:

“I think we’re more interested in doing the landing page quality score thing to help folks identify which of our content is the best and help direct more traffic to the best articles while minimizing the level of exposure that lower quality articles receive.”

Since you’ve already stated the majority of readers come to the site from search engines, which articles the search engines send traffic to isn’t up to you, right? Google’s not going to care about a quality score when indexing our articles. Also, wouldn’t this type of restriction reduce your income as you make money from adsense clicks?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 1:57 PM

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27
Josh writes:

alternative to squeeze pages; on average only 1% of unique visitors to any website take action. Therefore a whole new form of information capturing is generating speed.. It’s called “Recycling”. take the 99% of people who leave with no action taken and hit them with a pop-up ont he way out. Offer them a free something to give you their email address. These captured email addresses are the holy grail of future marketing efforts by you.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 2:18 PM

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28

Louie,

I think you’ve mistakenly thought that we’re going to reject articles that have a poor landing page score.

All we’re trying to do is identify the quality of an article based on the landing page of the URL within the resource box of that article.

Once we are able to score an article based on the quality of the URL in the resource box, then we’ll be able to identify this on our advanced search results and we’ll be able to stop showing poor quality articles on our home page and other high profile places within the site.

Got it now? :-)

This is a quality bar raising move and right now, it’s only an intention that we’re sharing.

Action will be around the corner and TAGGING or IDENTIFYING an articles quality score will be how we introduce this concept.

A year ago, I wanted to give an editorial award button to various articles that our team thought were outstanding, but we were never able to figure out a non-subjective way to do that without irritating folks. Giving a quality score to the landing page and the numerical metrics of a resource box (how many links it has, whether they are to the home page or deep linking, how many links are the same site vs. not-the-same-site, etc) would give us a new quality score to help us sift articles or rank them from quality to not-so-high of a quality score.

This is also information that I think will please the ezine publishers who come to us trying to separate the true experts from the quasi-experts and at the same time, will reinforce the quality / trust focus we’re aiming to achieve with the marketplace.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 2:43 PM

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29
Terry Weber writes:

I answered YES to all but # 5 (no) and # 6 (no)
Hope this helps.
Terry

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 3:21 PM

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30
Genevieve Smith writes:

With regard to pop ups. I agree with you however pop ups come in different forms. I’ve landed on a page with an annoying pop-up showing up immediately. However, it was not difficult to remove – a simple click on its X sufficed. The rest of page was excellent – I was so happy with it that I bought the product. It would be a shame to exclude landing pages simply because an easily removable pop-up was there.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 3:39 PM

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31
Andy Beard writes:

You allow multiple links in the resource box.

I can’t see a problem if one of those is a squeeze page of some kind, and the other is a link to a resource site with some free information.

The bigggest technical hurdle if you do decide to introduce this is continually monitoring all pages that are linked to, because one of the fundamentals of marketing is test and track, and that should include using a squeeze page.

You have recently removed from the benefits the “SEO” benefit of article syndication.

Suggesting links should be going to content sites slightly flips that back in the other direction.

I would suggest don’t have a policy which has negative views of articles.

Instead, have an internal policy of highlighting articles on the front page which when submitted the links led to interesting related content.

That way it is a bonus for good content, not a penalty for bad.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 3:47 PM

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32
Thad Ferguson writes:

I think that ezinesarticles is big enough now where they almost have a right to be more picky in their policy finding ways to get rid of junk articles is going to do a world of good for everyone and if one way to help minimize that is by have a strong aarticle policy then go for it

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 3:58 PM

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33
Louie Latour writes:

Hi Chris,

Thanks to replying to my question. I recently listened to the interview you did with Debbie LaChusa, specifically about the percentage of visitors click on an author’s resource box. I’ve already determined that the percentage is enough to justify the 2 or 3 hours I devote a day to writing articles in the mortgage category; however, allow me to play devils advocate for a moment regarding quality score.

I understand your desire for quality articles and the need not to link to bad neighborhoods in the resource box. Beyond that, who are you really catering to with this site? Is it the authors such as myself that devote countless hours to writing content that brings you traffic and Adsense revenue to pay your staff and keep the lights on?

Is it the visitor that comes to the site through Google, reads the article, clicks the Adsense ad and leaves the site? Where should your priority be? With the 37,077 Expert Authors that give you the content that drives your revenue, or that person that came, read and clicked on a resource box link?

The quality landing pages is important for the 2-3% of visitors that click on a resource box link. Maybe you should keep your focus on the expert authors that drive your revenues. EzineArticles.com is the best article site I know of on the web; I truly hope it stays that way.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 4:11 PM

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34
ali rae writes:

Sounds good – at first. I do believe it is important for the readers to be able to expect to hit a good landing page when they click. However, after some consideration of the matter I’m not so sure the hard and fast rules are beneficial to the authors.

I am thinking that my only site at the moment has to do with learning to play the piano. I am a teacher, and not just a music teacher. Actually, I am a writer, now. I have submitted articles that have nothing to do with piano lessons and I do write well about other things.

Perhaps in the signature block this could be addressed. For example: ali rae is a freelance writer, former teacher/tutor. (She pens articles on different subjects?) Visit her at pianolessonstoday.com.

I’m not really sure about this. Maybe it would be better to put the related articles in a free blog and then direct that person to your blog. For example: for similar articles by ali rae visit hypothetical blog@blogspot?

At any rate, it does deserve more consideration. Writers do not write exclusively to promote one website. But, I do agree that the links should work and that the reader should find a quality page when they click.

Also, do you plan to publish the rating?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 4:16 PM

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35
ali rae writes:

Oh, just one more thing. Part of the reason I work on the web is because communicating by email, forum or blog is the way I like to communicate. I don’t have a brick and mortar store and don’t see the need to be downgraded for not having a published phone number. I worked on the phone in my life plenty. No phone needed. or my address.

ali likes her privacy

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 4:20 PM

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36
Carla writes:

Is it possible that the people who disagree with any of these concepts are most likely the ones who do not have an ideological grievance, but an inability to meet the criterion?

Lance,
I understand your comment about a person having a young site and “doing the best” they can, however, until they have a reasonable presence built (20+ pages), traffic is meaningless. Links aren’t even of major concern at this point. Content is essential for a young site to be taken seriously.

Once their site is somewhat established, then building traffic and inbound links can begin.

Chris,
I do not have a single issue with any of the proposed ideas listed.

~Carla

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 5:56 PM

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37
Derrick writes:

Chris,

The only point I would argue is the squeeze page point.

Just like you cannot judge an article simply by it’s title(how many articles do you see that are amazing with a really really poor title), you cannot judge a squeeze page by it being a squeeze page, it is the underlying content (or lack of) that would make it a poor or good user experience.

I think Google with it’s many Adwords changes are doing more and more to weed out the little guy, the people that helped get Google to the status it has today.

What I always have loved about EzineArticles is it levels the playing field, a big company cannot sweep in and instantly knock out the little guy here.

Quality and user experience is a good thing, but only to a point, sometimes you can take it too far.

If some type of quality standard is set it has to be spelled out. A constantly moving or impossible target really sucks.

Derrick

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 6:13 PM

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38
Rod writes:

I don’t agree that we should have #3. I have dozens of sites, many of which are a combination of sales pages and content and may not be updated because it’s not relevant to my strategy or even the visitor. They might come to my website to sign up for a newsletter and they will receive their content via email / RSS. So I strongly disagree with #3.

I think there are good squeeze pages and bad ones. But one fact remains, it should be up to ME to decide who I want to access my content, free or otherwise. There should be some standards though. For example, the squeeze page should differentiate if you are subscribing to a newsletter or a list, instead of just downloading a free report (as an example). The squeeze page should also make it clear what’s on the other side. There should also be contact information as well as privacy statement, TOS links at the bottom, etc.

I think the rest are reasonable. The internet is going that route anyway.

Rod Cortez
TheDatePRo.com

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 6:59 PM

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39
Tom Shaw writes:

Hi Chris,

On a similar theme, I tried to contact you a week or so ago via your askChristopherKnight.com box, but I got no reply.

My question then was about how to give Ezinearticle customers a genuine discount.

How about a special landing page to say “Welcome to EzineArticles Customers:here is your special discount voucher.”

Or something like that.

Regards,
Tom

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 7:08 PM

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40
Marte Cliff writes:

Hey Christopher! What say you to that last post? I get really upset with business people who don’t reply. What’s the excuse for not answering Tom?

Just for the record… when I write to “Contact us” and don’t get a timely response, I write that person/business/website off as a flaky and don’t bother with them again.

Now, we all know that EzineArticles is a good place, so why insult your contributors in that manner?

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 7:42 PM

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41

Marte,

First, my AskChristopherKnight.com is a *survey site* only and I haven’t guaranteed or promise a response to anyone who uses that survey form. When questions come in that can get an easy response, I give it or I ask our author support team to give it. The rest of those questions are answered here in the blog or used for the email newsletter to guide the content decisions so that we’re responding to what the market wants to know or read.

If you ask a question of our author support team, you can expect a response within 24-48 business hours and most of the time same-day depending on how caught up we are.

If you are a paying customer (of which we only have a few hundred right now), you can usually expect a same-day or early next day response.
No insult was intended towards Tom and I’ve emailed him off-blog privately with a response.

I completely agree that our contributors deserve a fast and professional reply. :-)

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 7:51 PM

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42

Rod,

I agree that #3 will be hard to quantify. I guess I was thinking that if your website shows that it wasn’t updated since 2003, it might not be as valuable as if it had updated info… but this will be difficult to put to a numeric value as most times we will have no idea how often or how long its been since a site was updated…

Ali,

You asked if we planned on publishing the rating? First, this is all conceptual and we’re trying to understand how the market feels about our landing page scoring intentions. I think today we’ve been given a great gift of feedback and I know we appreciate every single response as it has given us much to think about for our leadership meeting on Tuesday!

Louie,

2 years ago we made the distinction that our primary focus should be to please our authors because they are the reason that EzineArticles exists. This has not been forgotten.

Somewhere along the line of our growth, it became clear that we are serving multiple stakeholders ranging from our authors, advertisers, users, publishers, those who drive traffic to us or promote us, and so forth…

It’s a balancing act for sure and I hope our authors can appreciate why it’s necessary for us to focus on the needs of our end-users… because the happier they are, the more they return and tell their friends… which in turn brings more attention and exposure to your articles. :-) …which in turn encourages you to submit more articles and we begin the cycle all over again together.

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 8:47 PM

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43
Strephon writes:

Your first point could be edited into two points:

-Does your website provide related / relevant value to what your article topic was about? ie: If your article was about “corporate sales training tips”, will the user find more of the same on your website? Will the user find at least five to ten addtional articles in your subject area? This qualifies you maybe as an expert. Or will your site be mostly ad descriptions of your products?

– Will users find completely unrelated content that confuses them as to what your real area of expertise is? If so, you will be perceived as dishonest and manipulative of user need to know.

-Users should be given at least two comparisons to your own product, and not just none or only one, if you are to be considered an expert.

-A mark of an expert in order of quality ranking can be seen in the following: focus on a problem and solving it, comparisons with other products that solve the problem, limitations as well as the values of your product and other comparison products, links to other informational sites not your own, giving information that shows you originate your product and not just sell it, giving information that you know all about your product and therefore are an expert about it. The ratio of expertness should be about eighty percent subject information to twenty percent your product description, or the user will feel you are deceptive and interested in sales and not really expert.
–Strephon

Comment provided November 13, 2006 at 9:53 PM

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Adrian Pepper writes:

Yes, I think it would really raise our game if landing pages were assessed.

Although I reckon that my web pages meet the seven criteria, I would still value comments and feedback on how i can improve them better so that people who follow up on my articles get what they want and act on their need.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 2:23 AM

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Ian Feavearyear writes:

To follow up on my initial comment, which I wrote from the perspective of a contributor.

As a user who publishes articles from EzineArticles.com, I have never once expected any links in the About the Author section to be related to the content of the article, I’ve merely expected it to be somehow connected to the author. I do, however, expect links within the article body to be relevant and to go to a place relevant to the hyperlinked text and I think EzineArticles.com should be concentrating their efforts in this respect on the links in the article bodies NOT the “about the author” links. Are article body links even going to be considered in this quality score assessment?

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 5:31 AM

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Pamela Beers writes:

I believe in the golden rule: “Treat others the way you like to be treated.” To that end, I believe a good website needs to be full of useful information, user friendly, and graphically interesting. I work hard on my site to provide all those criteria. I also realize I still have a lot to learn.

Thanks for the useful tips, Chris.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 8:12 AM

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Jean writes:

It’s your site, so obviously you can do whatever you like.
That said, I don’t think evaluating the quality of an article should necessarily have to do with the links within the resource box. You can have a quality article with great information, that goes to a crappy website.

I also don’t know how you are going to be able to tell if a website is updated frequently. If I have 250 articles about a topic on my site, how are you going to know that I added 2 more?

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 3:11 PM

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Paul E. Harvey writes:

I generally agree with and accept these conditions. You expect high value, so do we. I also agree with Stephen Bush’s post concerning the public/private issue.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 4:34 PM

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JR Middlebrook writes:

i think your 7 guidelines make sense w/the exception of the word evil for squeeze pages, generalizing them all that away is kind of on the dark side, for example some requests from websites for email are necessary such as requests to look at homes available on the mls for real estate. :)

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 5:04 PM

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Scott Lyons writes:

I just bailed out of adwords because of somewhat similar policies apparently new at the big G. Poor landing page or keyword quality? OK, $10.00 for that keyword. Bye big G.

I can’t believe you guys would actually follow Google’s FLAWED model, let alone have the nerve to link to their site showing what you mean.

I’m not one of your customers(yet), but I think you should thank your lucky stars you have the contributors that you do. I’d like to see your adsense check every month. Do you inspect every site that turns up in your adsense ads? Are you making sure that they are all following the same rules you are putting forth in this post? I’ll bet not. Look at it this way, adsense is YOUR resource box. Police those before you police that which is bringing in the traffic that clicks on them and makes you money.

I say let the articles on your site stand alone and not worry so much about anybody’s links (aside from porn, hate etc.). I’m sure that the vast majority of visitors just read the articles and go on their way.

If you must make some kind of “rules”, please don’t model them after Google, make up some of your own.

Scott

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 5:16 PM

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Chris writes:

It seems to me you wouldn’t have a business if it weren’t for authors submitting articles to you for free… so why make it harder on them and drive many of them away?

A lot of these rules seem arbitrary- if someone has a site about World War 2, are they supposed to update it often with all the new WW2 news?

I also don’t see the need for contact info on content sites that don’t sell anything. How insulting you demand that of site owners, yet call squeeze pages evil…

If your Adsense checks are getting too big, this seems like a good way to deal with that.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 7:09 PM

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Dave Saunders writes:

These are reasonable requirements and just another step forward as Internet Marketing matures.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 8:07 PM

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53

Chris,

I didn’t say that I or WE call squeeze pages as evil… I said that “Squeeze pages can be perceived as evil by some users.”

I use squeeze pages from time to time for various marketing projects, so I’m going to be the last person to call them evil.

Also, we’re not demanding anything from our authors on this landing page quality scoring idea… it’s just that, an idea that we’re floating.

Scott,

I agree that we should always be thanking our lucky stars that we have the contributors that we do. :-)

———-
All,

So far, we’ve learned a lot on this issue from your feedback.

It’ll be 2007 before we can act on any of this because it’ll take us at least 2 months to create a broken/dead link identification, verification (that it’s not just a transient outage), reporting to the author, and correction process routine.

Right now, our only actionable 2006 priority on this issue is to help our authors fix the articles that have truly dead links in their resource box.

Comment provided November 14, 2006 at 8:34 PM

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54

My question would be whether all this is required on the landing page or just on the site itself. I offer a contact us page on my website, but you won’t find contact information on the landing page itself.

Comment provided November 15, 2006 at 9:35 PM

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Donnie Graham writes:

I’m a newbie to the Internet, and to all the intricacies involved. As a builder for many years, then a Bonus Surveyor, checking various kinds of tradesmen etc, I picked up some knowledge of the skills required along the way. Due to ill health, I had to give that up, and started writing–3 books published, 1 at the publisher’s, and another 1 on the way. I read about online articles, and thought that it would be nice to share some tips with readers. I don’t have a website, but I’ve got no hidden agenda. I honestly didn’t know that there was money to be made out there.I did put my email address once in my resource box, but it was deleted. Now it seems that people like me might be banned from writing foe EzineArticles. It would be a pity, as I enjoy reading other articles, whether they have website addresses or not.

Comment provided November 16, 2006 at 6:59 AM

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56

Donnie,

Sorry, not true.

Whether you have a URL in your resource box or not will not have ANY impact on whether we will accept your content or not.

In fact, EzineArticles experts that don’t include a URL in their resource box are doing us a favor by eliminating an exit click possibility and they are most likely submitting original content that was never published before elsewhere, thus driving up the unique content ratio that makes EzineArticles.com an even more valuable place for everyone involved.

Putting your email address in your resource box IS allowed; even though it’s never recommended. We don’t want to be a catalyst to help the spammers who might try to harvest your email address so they can spam you and then sell your email address to their fellow spamming clients.

The reason I said that authors who have a URL in their resource box are perceived as a higher quality is because their profit motive is clear to us and their intentions for writing are more obvious. If we have to struggle to understand why a person is writing an article, it greatly expands the amount of human labor required to review and approve the content… and thus, we’ve learned that authors with a URL in their resource box are easier to trust than authors who don’t have a URL in their resource box.

We’re glad you don’t have any hidden agenda’s :-).

I took a peak at your articles and they’re great!
http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Donnie_Graham

I’m certain we’d have no problem with accepting hundreds or thousands of articles just like them.

For everyone:

Last night as I was preparing for a guest teleseminar event, I recorded 16 minutes of thoughts on this topic to try and clear the air of misunderstandings:
http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2006/11/landing-page-quality-follow-up-mini-podcast.html

Comment provided November 17, 2006 at 1:58 PM

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Gayle writes:

I am new to most of this and so far am just happy with putting the link to the one webpage that I am working on in my signature.

However, I plan to write on a variety of topics, and not just send people to one web page to try to sell them something.

I enjoy writing, and want to submit more articles but it is intimidating to think that my website is going to be judged if the content does not match the articles.

Other than that I am to new here to write more of what is on my mind.

Comment provided November 22, 2006 at 8:17 AM

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EM writes:

Hey there. I certainly would hate to see you (heck–us–as an author, I’m part of the network!) lose good content because authors are feeling too intimidated to submit. But I’m still behind ANY and ALL quality control you’re willing to do. The better the articles and resource links on the network, the better I look for being on here too. I wouldn’t even mind if you added qualifications for the landing pages that had to do with layout, organization, and even asthetics.

Frankly, if you raised the bar so high that I no longer made the grade, I’d simply make whatever changes I needed to in order to be included again. The more my “Expert Author” status means to people, the better it is for me–because it also means more to editors, publishers, readers, consumers, etc. Your good reputation raises our reputations, and vice versa.

So go ahead, raise the bar. It’ll still be a heck of a lot easier than getting published in quality print magazines–I figure that gives us a lot of room to work with.

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 11:01 AM

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Chris writes:

I don’t know how anyone can compare EzineArticles.com to a print magazine! Magazines typically PAY the authors for their articles, and it’s a lot more prestigious to be published in a magazine than on a website.

Frankly, I wonder if that last comment was written by an employee of this site, since it’s so syrupy sweet.

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 12:00 PM

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60

The post from EM was NOT an employee of EzineArticles.com.

EM told us that her domain name is (MindUnbound.com).

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 1:45 PM

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Marte Cliff writes:

What is with people? See something complimentary and think it’s fake.

I’d say that EM really does have a “Mind Unbound” but I’m not so sure about some other people! I’m with EM.

I do think it’s fun to occasionally write about something different, but if the rules change and that’s not OK, then so be it. I will still appreciate the opportunity to submit articles to you.

Thanks!
Marte

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 2:08 PM

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EM writes:

LOL, no not an employee. Just a writer out sick today–joining in the converstion because I’m bored out of my mind lying here all day, but I’m too sick to work on anything important and too awake to sleep.

And you’re right that it doesn’t compare to print, but EzineArticles is still a moderated third-party publisher, which is a lot more prestigious than publishing stuff on your OWN site. My input is for more quality control to make EA’s “Expert Author” status mean more. That’s all I’m saying.

And now back to my DVR…

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 2:10 PM

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EM writes:

Why thank you, Marte. You’re a sweetheart! :)

Comment provided November 28, 2006 at 2:37 PM

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Christine writes:

These guidelines look good to me. The only other thing I can think of as a visitor to a site that makes me exit quickly are: slow to load and difficult to navigate.

I would appreciate the feedback that all of this would offer.

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 2:16 PM

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Marte Cliff writes:

You know what? This is your site, and if you want to implement quality controls, then you should do it with no argument from anyone. We should all thank you and be glad to be associated with quality because it reflects well on all of us who are accepted as members.

I personally think we as authors are shooting ourselves in the foot if we take people straight to a squeeze page without giving them an opportunity to get acquainted.

How many people do you lose by being heavy-handed?

I also agree about the contact info. After being burned a few times, I just plain will NOT do business with any site that doesn’t have a name and a phone number where I can find it easily. If someone wants to hide, go for it… but get a different customer, ’cause it won’t be me.

One concern, however. For those of us who have been posting for quite a while and have had changes in our web sites, autoresponder hosts, etc. Is there a simple way to go back into old articles (en mass) and change the resource boxes to reflect current information?

I’m hanging on to a subscription from an old autoresponder just because of those old articles.

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 4:14 PM

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EM Sky writes:

It is tremendously important for authors to provide a quality website to back up their quality articles. But what about the quality of the publishers who are picking us up? I’ve been less than pleased with some of the “publishers” I’ve seen picking up my own articles lately. I’m not personally of the belief that all publicity is good publicity… I’m curious what others think about this.

Comment provided August 27, 2007 at 4:39 PM

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67

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Comment provided September 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

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