A Deeper Dig into Quality that Heightens 3 Areas of Focus

Our focus today was to narrow our search on what qualifies as quality content. You can reasonably expect that this was not an easy job but we narrowed it down to 3 starting points that we could take action on immediately.

1. Resource Box Relevancy

The information you provide in the Resource Box must be relevant to the content of the article. If your article body offers tips on business presentations and your Resource Box is about selling golf balls, you missed a key opportunity in creating a positive experience for your reader. Content that is not relevant will not be accepted. Your focus and intent must be transparent and your end user should feel good about wanting to know more about you. Keep in mind that the Resource Box does not need to be specific. ie. meaning you can still offer a sentence or two about yourself that is generic enough to be used as a template across all articles. The focus in this discussion is the blatantly obvious errors in discussing your expertise in fishing when you wrote an article on home building.

2. Link Relevancy

Choose your links wisely. This is a continued focus on point #1. Links that are completely unrelated to the topic of the article don’t belong in that article’s Resource Box. If your article is about tips on fishing and you link to home building you’re confusing your readers and disqualifying yourself as an expert in your niche.

Some examples:

  • A fitness article should link to a fitness-related website, not a site selling premier cruise destinations or auto repair.
  • An article about dog training should link to a website related to pets, not a site about swimming.
  • An article about link building for SEO purposes should link to an SEO-related website, not a site that reviews classic literature.
  • An article about how to fix a dishwasher should link to a website about home appliances, not a site selling a speed reading manual or a site about self-defense.

3. Localized Niche Articles

We’ve always applied a big measuring stick to localized niche articles. This is not a recent change. ie. If the title contained a locale and the article body failed to deliver on the promise made in the title by not offering specifics on the locale, it was rejected. As a result of that strict policy, we have seen a few who have begun to remove the location from the title and leave it in the article body in an effort to get the article approved. This is not OK as it’s abundantly clear the author is not writing to provide real value to the reader. The act of location stuffing does not provide a positive user-experience and will not be approved. Keep in mind that both the title and the article must connect.

We’ve started to take action that may ultimately lead to thousands of deleted articles that fall below reader expectations. We welcome your feedback and comments.

59 Comments


1
Dan Ho writes:

Sounds reasonable on all 3 counts!

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 4:12 PM

[Reply]

2

Do you really get a lot of submissions with the kind of links that you describe in #2? I can understand how a resource box might have links that don’t relate, but the article body itself?

To clarify, let’s look at the first example you mentioned. What if you received an article submission about staying with your fitness routines while on a cruise vacation for example? Would it be okay to link to a cruise site? Or would the link need to be specific to fitness options on a cruise ship? Personally, I’d want to have the latter if I was writing such an article, but how do plan to determine the relevancy?

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 4:48 PM

[Reply]

Bill,

If your article content point is on “What to do with your fitness regime while on a cruise”, you can link to a cruise site. There is relevance. I would recommend that you limit how often this is done. While a good topic to write about, you’ll lose your point and relevance quickly with too many. Fitness articles should link to fitness related sites but there are very good and legitimate reasons why there are exceptions to this rule.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Plus you’ll also dilute the Relevancy. Ideally each article should only use ONE Topic or Keyword / Keyphrase. The more you add, the lower the Relevancy. Think of it this way: “1 / # topics or keywords = Relevancy”, so 1/2 = 0.5 relevancy with just two topics or keywords. Those things with a Relevancy of “1” will typically appear higher in Google. There are many other factors that go into Search Result Placement, but why not do everything possible to get the highest relevancy possible?

I should mention that isn’t the same as the keywords area at the bottom of the article itself. That is only used by EzineArticles for searching on the site – which has WAY less competition to work against (only those on EzineArticles, as versus the entire world). Google ignores the “keyword” metatags people use – though I still think it has some other uses.

[Reply]

Those are good points @DevonK. I can see an article about two different niches might make sense as part of a series of articles on a blog, but it probably wouldn’t be as useful on EzineArticles where articles tend to stand alone.

@Penny, it is good to hear that there will be exceptions when the relevance is legitimate.

[Reply]

3
J Chase writes:

Seems pretty basic. You should always want your resource box to relate to your article or you are wasting your time.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 4:51 PM

[Reply]

4
Jonathan writes:

Hi Penny,

This seems very strange. Why on earth would someone write a fitness article and link to a totally unrelated site?

As to deleting articles, I feel that a certain grace period should be given to authors in order to correct their articles before they are deleted, especially as in this case the article itself may be good, but the resource box and links are just not connected to the theme of the article.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 5:12 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

Sadly, it is actually a common Scam used by people trying to game the system or “increase someone’s traffic volume”. By writing about something people want, they will click the link and go to the “suckers” website instead. It then looks like they are getting a lot of traffic, even though it’s 100% bounced.

There are many scams out there and the internet is a very ripe picking ground as the vast, vast majority of people don’t know what’s really going on or how things work. Given that most website owners are obsessed with getting TRAFFIC, only makes it easier for the scammers to prey on them.

I myself get e-mailed almost every day with people offering to increase my traffic, get higher results in google, etc. (between my different websites). Sadly one of my websites is related to SEO and lists a lot of the common scams out there, but they still try and get me to use their “services” anyway. There’s just too much money out there waiting to be stolen from the uninformed or unwary.

[Reply]

Jonathan writes:

Hi Devon,

I see what you mean, but getting untargeted traffic doesn’t help anyone, does it?

What’s the point?

I guess that some people do this, but to me it seems pointless.

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

When there’s money to be made SOMEONE will always be willing to do ANYTHING they can to get it. Traffic building represents big money – both real and scam versions. So nasty people will happily take advantage of that fact.

[Reply]

5
Marte Cliff writes:

This all seems like common sense. Too bad it requires a “rule.”

As for links – The last several times I posted I was only allowed one link in the resource box. And I have never been allowed any links in the article body for any reason. And no, I wasn’t trying to link to my own sites.

On a side note… I think you’ve gone crazy – inviting comments after that last go-round. If I were you, I might just say “This is how it is.”

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 5:15 PM

[Reply]

Edward Weiss writes:

Didn’t Moamar Ghadaffi say that Marte?

[Reply]

6
Tim Gorman writes:

Chris,
Like these changes because they will eliminate much of the gaming of the system that takes place and help aspiring article marketers stay on the proper path to success with their published content.

Respectfully,
Tim

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 5:30 PM

[Reply]

7
Sonny Lanorias writes:

Hi Penny,

Thanks for the reminders. Yeah pretty basic but very important. Thanks again for sharing.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 5:50 PM

[Reply]

8
DevonK writes:

I had an idea the other day that any article that is six months old and hasn’t been shared, published, etc. a reasonable amount should be auto deleted – regardless of what it is. If it isn’t really being used by anyone then what’s the point of even keeping it?

The only issue I know exists is that Ratings are subjective because each author can rate the own work and get friends to do the same. At least when work is truly published you actually can find it on other websites so you can verify it is being used.

On that note, it may be a good idea to have PUBLISHERS specify where the article is being used to make it easier for the author and EzineArticles to ensure it is being used properly (and that it is actually being published and not just having the “publish” link clicked to make it seem like it is being used – which would happen if you implement this idea).

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 5:57 PM

[Reply]

9
KC writes:

Totally understood.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM

[Reply]

10
Wayne writes:

Can the resource box be local?

Say that you write about ways to tell if your roof needs replaced and the resource box features a link anchored with “location + roof repair”. Would that violate the no “localized article”policy?

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 9:50 PM

[Reply]

11
Nick Kellingley writes:

I think there has to be some mass deletion of poor articles – all those articles that are full of abysmal grammar and spelling (sorry ESL speakers but if you aren’t fluent you need to hire a proofreader who is), all those articles that say nothing (you know who you are), and all those articles which are purely there for search engine gaming.

I’d like to see most of the dating, dieting, article marketing stuff die too and all similar niches – so much of it is identical re-hashes over and over again.

But in conjunction with this I’d like to see more niche categories than before so people can become more targeted.

But I think that one of the biggest problems e-zine articles will face is that many of the big number contributors of articles (not all mind you, but many) are most likely to have paid for additional services. And many of these authors churn out garbage. So they’ll be left caught between a rock and a hard place, forced to slash revenues if they touch these contributors offerings. Because let’s be fair they’ll leave if they can’t get their pieces published here (and so would you in their shoes).

The other big issue for e-zine is going to be the increased editing times, that’s going to cost a lot of money and whether that’s going to be economic for a free directory in the long run is a huge question.

I like this site, it brings me and my clients real business. The google changes actually appear to have increased the ranking of my articles so I’m not fussed about them. So I’d like it to remain economically viable.

Maybe the long-term answer is for e-zine to offer some premium services to volunteers from their contributors to police niches that aren’t their own.

Even today a quick scan of the home page shows a large chunk of poor content still making it through the editing process.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 9:56 PM

[Reply]

DevonK writes:

I think that’s not a bad idea at all. I know someone else said on the other thread about having a way to report individual articles so they can be re-examined and dealt with, which is also a GREAT idea. However, having us Platinum level authors have an opportunity to review things on other niches than our own is a great idea too. Both would add another level of QUALITY to everything – which is in all of our best interest. Could turn that idea into having a “peer-review” step in the editing process (perhaps the very first step). If it doesn’t fly with other authors, then it shouldn’t likely be published in the first place. You could offer Free Paid Membership in exchange for our services, etc. (Again, as long as were editing outside of OUR OWN niches – it’s an awesome idea)

[Reply]

12
Derek writes:

It’s very helpful for new authors to have clarity and consistency. One of the things I appreciate about EzineArticles is that it attempts to do what’s best for its readers, writers and of course its own business.

Improving the content quality without punishing Authors who submit meaningful articles is a win-win.

Comment provided March 1, 2011 at 10:23 PM

[Reply]

13
Nauman writes:

Adding special EzineArticles applications for android, iphone and windows 7 phone might help regain the trust of search engines especially google which now gives importance to how people interact with a site.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 12:09 AM

[Reply]

14
Devon K writes:

I just had a thought on something EzineArticles might want to consider. As has been said on the other thread, there should be a better way to let people know the quality, Platinum level authors than just a small star by our names. Since the biggest issue is one of quality, perhaps it would be better to have a range of levels, instead of just the Platinum one. I know you were talking about making some changes that way. My thinking is that there should be more levels, something like:
0 stars = basic level
1 star = basic-plus
2 starts = Writer (10 quality articles)
3 stars = Author (25 quality articles)
4 stars = Expert Author (50 quality articles)
5 stars = Platinum Author (100+ quality articles)

Then, like many other places you can earn higher stars by putting in more quality work. With the major standards overhaul currently happening, this would be the best time to launch such a program. You can then offer different “benefits” at each level – like unlimited article submission, higher recognition for your work, perhaps ad timed release as a benefit of the top level, etc. You can come up with a benefit scheme that would work best with your business model.

You could also set two different article levels as well depending on how they are written – Acceptable, and Quality. To take away some of the subjectivity about setting quality levels you could work with all us like you are currently, to come up with a list of criteria for each article. Those them meet one level = acceptable and don’t do anything for your “advancement”, while those that meet the top level are then rated as “quality” – meaning truly exceptional work – and allow for advancement.

That would help address the issue of people working to become better authors. If they need to be better to get advancement, then those who actually care about their writing will put in the effort – and thus get rewarded for doing so. Those that aren’t, but still write acceptable works, can happily stay at whatever level they are at. Thus adding an additional incentive for QUALITY works, instead of just a minimum standard that must be met.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 12:53 AM

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

I kind of like this idea at first glance, but then I remember that at the moment the editorial team seem to have trouble distinguishing “acceptable” from “garbage” and this system would place even more work on that team struggling to get things right at the moment.

My other thought is that maybe e-zine needs to add a basic english test for its authors, which is free to take once – but if you fail you need to pay for repeats and can only retake twice.

This would at least prevent things like this from slipping through;

“Sony publishing its new Action Shooter game for PS3 on 22 February. Killzone 3 is also follows the same procedures which were in Killzone, Killzone: Liberation and Killzone 2 but with many new advance features. Here you can find the story of Killzone 3 that in which worst conditions ISA soldiers have to survive.”

Which is the opening paragraph of an article published today on the homepage.

Quality really has to mean quality from this point on, and the first step must be to communicate accurately in the language you post in.

[Reply]

Devon K writes:

I thought I had said it here, but I guess it was on the other thread.

I have been saying for the last three days that it would be better to come up with a set of guidelines that the editors should follow in order to help eliminate some of the subjectivity. By quantifying elements it also specifies what is expected of the editors, instead of simply setting vague outlines that can mean many different things. Some options can include: spelling, grammar, delivers on promise in title, isn’t blatant self-promotion, etc.

I also suggested it would be a great idea to open it up, like has been happening the last three days, and have all of us help to create those guidelines. Then it’s based on both sides of the fence and will create something truly usable. I also suggested not letting people know EVERYTHING on that list as it would be too easy to find ways to abuse it. Just tell people the big ones.

Then quality becomes much easier to define. If you score 75/100 then the article is acceptable. If you score 90/100 then it’s classified as quality. Add to that some auto fail options, like more than three spelling errors, etc., and it opens a lot of new doors. All the while making it a lot easier to define why things got rejected, and ensures a much more uniform acceptance policy. One that will hopefully eliminate all those crappy articles people have been showcasing lately – some of which don’t make any sense, and other that “could” be a matter of opinion.

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

I know where you’re coming from and respect the position too. You’ve put a lot of thought into this and I still like where you’re coming from. But…

I still think realistically this is too much work for an editor to do in a 1 minute scan and approve routine. And every time you drive up the workload time, you drive up the costs for ezine – who have to be able to make money or it’s not worth their effort.

Occasional random sampling of people’s work – particularly high-volume contributors, and scoring them like this could add value though. Particularly for training editors.

[Reply]

All,

Thank you all for the feedback. Many if not all of the suggestions you have provided are on deck. We are working diligently with the editorial team to help streamline this process.

[Reply]

Mark Stetsin writes:

|you drive up the costs for ezine – who
|have to be able to make money or it’s
|not worth their effort.
LOL! That’s hillarious.

But, certainly true. And, of course, the author’s will be rushing in droves to write for your site, driven by their altruistic nature to help you make money. They will sacrifice their own interests to ensure that Ezine remains profitable. Ezine comes only second to the authors’s desire to “help” people, as the primary motivation for them to write articles.
LOL

[Reply]

15
Nick Kellingley writes:

Here’s another “high quality” piece from today:

A lady who managed to write over 600 words to give the advice; “Set you alarm if you want to be on time.”

http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Never-Late-Call—Set-Alarms-for-Appointments&id=6005153

Seriously?

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 1:55 AM

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

your* not you, sorry.

[Reply]

Mike writes:

Nick – Looks like you succeeded in getting her article removed. Is she a competitor? I found a cached version of that article though Google and it looks useful to me. I’ve forgotten my alarm clock more than once when on a business trip. Her suggestions would have saved me from buying another alarm clock or relying on a wake up call. I didn’t know that my computer can be set up as an alarm. I’m not aware of the zillions of additional functions of my cell phone because I don’t have the time or inclination to explore them all. Knowing that it also has an alarm function will be useful to know the next time I’m in need of an alarm clock but don’t have one. Things seem obvious and “dumb” only if you know about them already. Your summary of the article as “Set your alarm if you want to be on time.” is unfair and inaccurate. Anything can be trivialized if you’re cynical enough. What really infuriates me is that the Ezinearticle staff acted on your comment and took it down. You people (the staff) are running scared, making hasty decisions, and second guessing your own editorial judgement because of your traffic problems with Google. You’re a bunch of amateurs.

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

Yes Mike she was a competitor – I too write articles on how to use an alarm clock and was terrified that she would infringe on my space.

Not.

Her advice even explained the difference between a watch and a clock. It was the most ridiculously overblown piece of nonsense I’ve ever read.

If you’re seriously suggesting adults need this kind of “in depth” information – I’d seriously suggest that you’d need help tieing your shoelaces too.

[Reply]

16
Mark writes:

One thing which I have often wondered about EzineArticles editors: Do they ever think…

“Actually this article is just crap”

??

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 2:08 AM

[Reply]

Melissa writes:

Do they ever think an article is exceptional?

These days I doubt it, because they are approving articles, yet they are coming back saying that articles are not exceptional.

LOL.

[Reply]

17
Jeff writes:

Hi,

You recently said:

“…it is going to shake up everything we’ve ever done to date in the name of delivering a significantly improved end user experience.”

If you would like to significantly improve the user experience, then the best way to start is by removing 7 of the 8 ad blocks you throw on the articles pages.

If you don’t, rankings will continue to plummet. Why? Because 8 ad blocks provides a HORRIBLE user experience.

Yes, your revenue stream will drop a bit, but not as bad if you keep things the same.

I recommend that you remove the unnecessary ads above and below the articles and just keep the one ad block thats to the right of the main article.

Or, track which adsense blocks are bringing you the most clicks and stick with just that one.

Until you make these changes, your millions of viewers (and google) are going to continue to see this site as a junky site full of ads… and google is punishing those sites.

It’s not lack of words. It’s not lack of relevance. It’s just too many ads. That’s why your rankings dropped.

Always keep the visitor looking for information in mind. They don’t want to see 50 advertising links. They want INFORMATION. Give them that.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 5:40 AM

[Reply]

Jonathan writes:

In my opinion, the Chitika ads are the ugliest, and they are not always relevant to the topic of the article at all.

It’s true that in the current layout, the article is not the center of attention. in Ehow’s layout, the article is the focus. Maybe this is why they weren’t hit by this latest update.

[Reply]

18
Derek Jansen writes:

I am in agreement with and fully support your new initiatives to increase article quality on EzineArticles. As was mentioned by another commentor, those who are providing quality content have nothing to worry about. Also, when it comes relevancy, the more relevant we are “forced” to be, the more our efforts will pay off. So all in all, I’m glad. Thanks EzineArticles.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 7:42 AM

[Reply]

19
Bob Darrah writes:

Seems like good points here and actually is necessary. I know from my experiences in blogs, I begin reading about elk hunting in Montana and 20 comments later, I’m reading a post about planting flowers in Florida. I know this is from many readers, but a writers mind can sometimes work in the same way. This is why keyword research, a great title, as well as a good focus on what we hope to accomplish is all tied together with the resource box.
Only having a couple of links available to the writers is also good as it helps to bring this focus into the entire article.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 8:17 AM

[Reply]

20
Sid Kal writes:

I still have a hard time figuring out what is considered “relevant” by EzineArticles. The examples Chris cites are all too obvious. However, consider this:
I write an article on, say, alternatives to eBay. Then the editors insist that I link to an article on eBay! This sounds as absurd to me now as it sounded then. I explained clearly that my article was about ALTERNATIVES to eBay and I linked to an article discussing another website which is, like my article suggests, an alternative to eBay. I really have a hard time understanding relevancy here. Can someone help me out?

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 9:22 AM

[Reply]

21
Ajeet Khurana writes:

Let us say I am a retailer of eye glasses. And I have determined that senior folk are a big audience for me. So, I write an article on “grandparenting” that would appeal to my audience. And in the resource box, I mention a link regarding eye glasses. According to your present rule that link would be irrelevant (as the article has nothing to do with eye glasses). My question is: Does EzineArticles really want to become the police when it comes to me deciding what works for me?

See, improving quality is a good idea. Always. But going overboard because of a Google change is counterproductive. Try to fix what you think is broken. Don’t just hammer everything you can.

Comment provided March 2, 2011 at 5:07 PM

[Reply]

Bonnie Jo Davis writes:

Ajeet,

I think EzineArticles does need to be the police of their own site. It isn’t up to you to determine what works for you when you are using their site and their free services. They should decide.

Bonnie

[Reply]

Nick Kellingley writes:

I think Ajeet has a point, just not very well made.

In his example he’s casting the net far too wide – a retailer of spectacles won’t have global reach. So an article targetted at every senior in the world with a link to his shop would be awful.

However an article targetted at seniors in his town might gain some clickthrough as long as his resource box was completely honest about his intent.

Having said that, it’s almost impossible to police so I think e-zine have made the right call regarding this.

[Reply]

22
Merlina writes:

Its must to much relevant with the whole article itself, as we can see huge changes with the searches coming up these days by that “Big G”. If we dont follow their rules of being relevant then get ready to get penalized.

As of now spun articles has made so many topics “weird” on the net and its hard to find some positive articles with good content for the readers. Its warning to get change.

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 3:12 AM

[Reply]

23
Kathy writes:

It seems to me that everyone here is stuck in an old paradigm. Everyone is talking about ways that EzineArticles.com editors can better identify low quality articles. Why not think outside the box?

Ask yourselves this question: Is it realistic or cost effective to pay people to manually review every single article that gets submitted to this website? I doubt it. You would likely have to automate it somehow or else rely on outsourcing it to people who might not even be proficient in English. But that is not really my point. What you should be doing is looking for a way that you can extract the truth about the content quality on your website from people who are qualified to honestly rate articles.

Who would that be?

That would be the readers themselves. That could also be the writers that you already allow to publish on this website.

There are ways that you could extract truthful opinions from both of those sources that would serve as the ultimate quality control system for your published content. It would not cost you anything other than the initial costs of implementing such a system. In fact, if you implement it properly, you will have a system that generates continuously rising content values. Plus, that system will stay up to date according to whatever standards the general public uses to classify content as being high value.

Don’t you think that would be way better than expecting an employee to properly inspect them?

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 10:13 AM

[Reply]

Jonathan writes:

Hi Kathy,

I imagine that people will be able to hire other people to rate their articles. It is good in theory but nothing replaces editors. This is why newspapers have them.

[Reply]

Kathy, Jonathan,

There are many automated processes in place that we use to filter articles. We add to them often. You may have seen them a time or two while accidentally flagging a potential problem when trying to submit your article. :)

But Jonathan is right, there is nothing better than the human eye. It allows for variances in writing styles and topics that AI would have a difficult time detecting properly.

[Reply]

kathy writes:

I guess I did a poor job of making my point. I was not suggesting that you use something other than the human eye to check quality. I am suggesting the opposite. I am suggesting that 75% or more of your review process be based on human interpretation of whether or not the article is high quality. But it must be done by people who are qualified to make that decision. I am saying that other authors and the readers themselves who have just read that article and have interpreted its meaning are more qualified to make that decision than some employee who has to inspect hundreds of articles each day.

You can do that by simply asking other authors here if the article is high quality and asking the readers of that article if the article is high quality. You must simply put a mechanism in place for people to report low quality articles. There isn’t one currently.

If you so much as had a button on an article that says “REPORT this article as being SPAM” and another one that says “Report this article as being very low quality”, that one step alone could have alerted you to the vast majority of the spam that you have let slip through.

I would take that whole idea a step farther. I would mandate that every author needs to review another article and rate it based on a number of factors. They would have to do this once for every article that they wanted to publish. One published article requires one review of another article. Make it part of the submission process for new articles. Make it a very detailed process where this author has to explain exactly why they reject the article if they reject it.

That one step alone would assure that every single article you publish here is exposed to at least one critical opinionated review process by someone else with writing skills. There are mechanisms you could put in place to prevent abuse.

Once an article is published you also still need a way that readers can report that article as being below their acceptable quality standards. Require that for an anonymous individual to cast a negative vote they would have to leave an explanation why. An article that gets flagged as being low quality by enough readers (as a percentage of readers) would then be reviewed again by a paid employee who understands the subject matter of the article.

Human review is the only way to make good judgment calls. But, that review should come from someone who is qualified to make that judgment.

[Reply]

Currently, there is a ‘Report article’ option on every article. We are alerted by readers/authors when they feel it’s necessary to contact us about low quality articles.

Doing peer-reviews is time consuming and we want authors to focus on their writing. I think authors would be deterred from writing if they feel it’s too much work. I don’t dislike your reasoning for it though.

Thanks for the clarification and suggestions. It’s something to think on and evolve.

[Reply]

24
Jeff writes:

Hi Penny,

The vast majority of the articles that I write are related to the niche in which I sell. However, ocassionally I will choose to write about a topic that personally interests me. In the past I have placed a link to the website that I run in the resource box. Is that the type of activity that you are talking about in number 2?

Out of the 2000+ articles that I have published I think that I only have 5-6 of these type of articles. However, it is nice to be able to write about a non commercial topic ocassionally and still provide a bio about myself with a link to my site.

Jeff

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 11:56 AM

[Reply]

Jeff,

You can offer a generic or personal site in your resource box. This post didn’t target that area. What is frowned upon is the combo of 2 completely unrelated topics.

I don’t want to be lured to an apple farm website when I’m trying to grow my tomatoes. BUT I wouldn’t mind learning more about you as the author of an article that taught me how to grow tomatoes.

See the difference?

[Reply]

Jeff writes:

I can see the difference. However, when I would write an article on an unrelated topic I would normally still put my standard bio which would say something like …

Jeff McRitchie is VP of Marketing for http:\\… and regularly writes and publishes articles on topics related to…

The bio is about me and my expertise. It isn’t meant to mislead readers.

Since I write so few of this type of article, it isn’t really a huge deal to me. However, a rule like this would probably just keep me from writing on topics that aren’t related to my commercial site.

As an interesting fact. One of the most read articles that I have written is not related to my industry at all. It is about building a Media Center Computer (a hobby of mine).

Jeff

[Reply]

Lance Winslow writes:

Jeff, yes, this is also my point, I guess, as I really love to read articles where the author has a passion for it, and find that articles where people are not trying to sell something. Which your example shows.

Penny, thank you for clearing that up. I have articles I write about my passions or hobby, that I don’t really care if I have a link or not, I’d be just as happy as just putting my name after the article with or without any bio, kind of like in the newspaper, when a writer just puts by Jane Smith.

I certainly wouldn’t want my article deleted, as it’s my way of sharing with the world my thoughts, observations, solutions, and passions. Which I think is very relevant to the Internet as a whole, and the type of content that readers really enjoy reading. In fact, I sure get a ton of private emails on the articles I write from people all over the world, and most are completely unrelated to my Think Tank endeavors. And you know what, I am really pleased to talk with these folks around the world hoping to share insight, and who knows maybe they will come to have a breakthru in their industry thanks to one of my ideas or insights.

As a reader of articles, scouring science magazines, newspapers, and online content, including EzineArticles for which I subscribe to at least 10 categories, only a few in my niche, I really appreciate articles that make me think, like the topic that Jeff uses above as an example.

Jeff, by the way I am reading the book “Not on My Watch – Hollywood vs. The Future” by Peter Dekom an Peter Sealey. It’s very good and I bet you would like it considering your Media Center Computer hobby.

[Reply]

Jeff and Lance,

You both are rare species. (That was a compliment!) You are the reasons why we have human editors and why variety is cool.

These are very good and perfect examples of why this rule may not make everyone happy but it’s a line we needed to make.

I appreciate your feedback. It’s helps in understanding why I may get flack about it. :)

[Reply]

25
Jack Krohn writes:

what about opinion articles? does that eliminate them?

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 3:49 PM

[Reply]

Jack,

Not entirely. The News and Society category as well as a few other categories we are more lax in due to the nature of the subject matter.

This doesn’t mean that we won’t reject it, but we will review them differently.

[Reply]

26
Lance Winslow writes:

Well, if someone is an accountant and runs an accounting business, but loves fishing, shouldn’t they be able to write about Fishing, their hobby, and still put in the link to their accounting firm?

Okay so, taking myself as an example. You see, I have many interests, and things I study, and would like to write about, such as long-distance bicycle riding, running, flying, etc. But I don’t run an online business or brick and mortar business which selling bicycling equipment, running shoes, or aircraft sales.

But, I do know quite a bit about those topics, often as much as those who have blogs or websites on the subject. And thus, my articles do provide good information on the topics. Additionally, before retirement I was in the franchising industry, even founded a franchising company, but today, I am retired, but I guarantee that I have more knowledge in the sector than anyone else writing on this site. Thus, I have 300 articles in the Franchising Category. See that point?

In the opinion category, I have lots of articles, and lots of opinions. Most people do have opinions on many things. In such a category, I don’t many of the people who write on politics or opinions, are actually running websites that deal with those specific websites.

Another issue, I read 3-5 books per week and I write book reviews, but I don’t sell books, does it really matter if my link goes to a bookseller, instead of my current website. In my case, I run a think tank, which thinks about all sorts of topics – transportation, communication, technology, water, energy, politics, marine, automotive, aviation, economics, stock market, entertainment industry, science, education, space, geo-politics, military, security, popular social topics, etc, etc. So, in a way I guess that fits into every category, considering our goal is to recruit experts from every category.

One thing that bothers me would be someone who is in business under one-niche, but is literally an expert in their hobby, for which they do not sell anything, it’s just what they do in their spare time. See that point? Because, I really like reading the articles where someone is giving out lots of good information and advice, but not trying to slam-sell me something.

Nevertheless, I have noted a few folks who are high in many categories have articles that are cheesy, irrlevant, and many which look as if they were lifted and re-written from WikiPedia. So, I understand the problem, but I would also defend my articles written in any category and the expertise or observations I depart even if I am not selling something in that particular niche.

Anyway, this comment is obviously from my point of view, and would effect me personally. So, I wonder if I’d be persecuted due to others who have abused the system. Indeed, I’ve noted some authors who put up one-two page blog on a topic, sprinkle it with adsense, and then write articles, who are hardly knowledgeable in those fields, and I’ve seen BRILLIANT articles by some authors in their hobby niches who are maybe the owner of an Insurance Agency, hardly related to the topic of the article. Now I suppose they may have insured something in that industry, or it could be remotely related but, we’d be pretty arbitrary in calling that content less than desireable, and we don’t know the many potential links to the niche and what they do, without indepth studying of their website.

One last point, before I over stay my welcome with such a long comment. I’ve written 10-eBooks, which I give away on my Think Tank website, and many are in endeavors or niches I sell nothing in. If I took the Internet Surfer to the page listing all my books, essays, papers, etc. – that probably wouldn’t be considered a relevant link, but this website doesn’t allow me to link to a .pdf which is what I’ve put these writings into.

I would somewhat fear the blanket net of this ruling, (because it effects me, or maybe it doesn’t really, since my niche is thinking about the human endeavor which is a wide net to begin with) as I am worried about catching dolphins in the wrong net, perhaps for the wrong reason. Thus, perhaps this rule might be better moving forward than retrospective. There are authors who have absolutely abused this, for what reason I cannot figure, but maybe if some authors complain, they should be removed from the expert author lists in specific categories, or if they are really abusive with junk articles, maybe their accounts should be simply closed out?

Let me think some more on this, as it is a very interesting consideration.

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 4:58 PM

[Reply]

27
Lance Winslow writes:

Okay, so, I’ve just finished my daily jog, we have beautiful weather out here in Palm Desert, CA in the Winter time, I’d invite anyone to come out here as a tourist just to see it. Lots of hotels, golf courses, shopping, and just soak up some Sun.

Now then, after jogging, here is my assessment on this topic:

1.) We set up an Author Editorial Board to come up with a fair way to handle this, with simple criteria, simple enough to get the computer system to handle it.

Such as an automatic rejection with a RED WARNING which states; “Please modify Author SIG – Resource Box for relevancy or go to a different resource box”

2.) Put another “resource box” in the Author section for “Non-niche articles” called Non-niche resource box for hobby type articles”

3.) I volunteer to be on this Author Auditing Committeee.

The reason I believe article authors should pick up the slack and labor in this is because, Ezine Article reviewers don’t have time, and EzineArticles needs to conserve resources to grow the system.

These are my thoughts on a possible solutions and EzineArticles could give instructions to the committee on objectives of this mission.

Comment provided March 3, 2011 at 8:16 PM

[Reply]

Lance,

We’re buried in snow and you’re talking about beautiful weather in CA? I’m feeling robbed! Oh well, San Fransisco will always have my heart. :)

ps. Fun ideas. Should I worry about #3?

[Reply]

28
Richard Hearne writes:

If you think that the problem here was about resource boxes I strongly suggest you read this interview published yesterday with Google on this whole affair:

http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/03/the-panda-that-hates-farms/all/1

It’s clear that the one of the primary issues is what appears on the page above the fold more so than below. Particular notice should be paid to Adsense and ad blocks.

Don’t for one minute think that advice received from Google’s Ad people is good for organic search. If anything what’s happened here is Google has decided that what’s good for Adsense publishers is not always good for searchers, and the many mentions of trust in that article mean the page quality is now a big factor.

When ad click thru becomes more important than content you’re in a veryu dangerous place for Google. Reading that article carefully and more than once should help you determine some of the changes you must make to reverse your site out of the “low quality” bucket.

Comment provided March 4, 2011 at 7:12 AM

[Reply]

29

All,

Thank you for taking the time to comment and offer your feedback and suggestions. There has been an overwhelming amount of feedback and we appreciate your time.

This thread has run its course.

You can continue to comment in Tuesday’s post: http://blog.EzineArticles.com/2011/03/over-saturated-niche-decisions.html

Comment provided March 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM

[Reply]

RSS feed for comments on this post.