Spammy SEO w/ Good Web Video

April 22, 2008

Earlier today I ran across a blog with a URL. I noticed it was ranking for a number of keywords that one of my sites ranks for. Its a lead generation niche that targets homeowners. Anyhow, the blog titles were blatant spam – all lower case, just random words that don’t make a sentence or phrase, etc. The body had just a list of keywords, and so on. Blatant blog spam.

The intent was to rank in Google’s blog search through keyword relevance and frequency. That is, they didn’t try to be the most trusted blog or blog post in order to rank, but rather they just posted 10 times a day so they would always be one of the 3 or 4 most recent posts for their chosen keywords. Some cheap auto-posting script could probably accomplish this.

This is nothing terribly new… But here is what was different – they had some very nice, reasonably professional videos in each post. They were their videos too, not just something generic scraped off of YouTube.

I had to think – why such a low-end method (spammy auto-posting blog entries) that delivered such a high-end (nicely done videos) form of content? It seemed clear that the intent was for the content to be the video. By not really having any text they just wanted you to find their site via search and then watch the video. In this sense, while its search engine spam using WordPress, it was still a “relevant” result. Usually when this is done its crap on both ends.

I wonder how well the video converts traffic? Do users overlook the spammy headings and text? Do they even notice it?

Anyhow, I was logged in to WordPress at the time, so I had that little blue bar that lets your report a WP blog as spam. I clicked it. The form asked me why it was spam, and I basically said what I’ve typed earlier in this post (10 times per day, just a bunch of keywords and no actual thoughts, etc.).  About 6 hours later I got an email from a guy at WordPress saying the suspended the blog.  The email address it was sent from has “TOS” in it so I’m guessing their decision is based on whether or not it violates the Terms of Service… which I suppose would make rather obvious sense.

I’m now thinking about how much time the videos must have taken to make. They were clearly relevant, decent content. Perhaps I jumped the gun in reporting them? I don’t think so, it was still abusing the WordPress system. I admittedly don’t know (or care) about the letter of the law, but I’m guessing the WP guy that decided to ban them was the real judge here. You can just call me the whistle blower.

Anyhow have any thoughts or experiences with how well video helps convert traffic? How about when the content and rest of the site are low-end? I would think pairing high-end video with high-end layout/content would be best, but perhaps the other method steers eyeballs to the video which (using multimedia) can make a stronger impression.

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