Those who did build huge websites with thin content probably did manage to get lots of traffic and probably valuable traffic enough to make money from affiliate programs and earn adsense revenue. The more savvy of the website operators not only built out huge websites quickly using minimalist design using their voracious appetite for unique content mainly composed of thin HTML and a few sentences (formulated by Markov chains and the like) – they also got loads of cheap links mixed in with a few Text Link Ads to build authority. Thus some building vast fortunes overnight and cashing out, others with even more business savvy developing relationships with brands and real businesses to create their own super affiliate online brands in their right.
So what happened?
What really happened is that build it and they will come actually worked. The extent to following that philosophy depended on what was actually being built. Building loads of pages on a website could work but to a lesser extent and there would have to be lots of them to see the results. Building a moderate volume of links was in my view far more successful and far more likely to get rankings on highly competitive terms – afterall you could only make one or at best two pages rank for any given search so why not focus on links? Build both pages and links, you probably conquered all and may be reading this post from your villa in the Algarve sipping cocktails reminiscing what wonderful times they were when SEO was too easy. What was built in both instances (links and pages) was content. You build links, you’re building content. You build pages i.e. HTML, text, images, videos and any other usable media – you’re building content. So in essence, to get traffic..
Build content and the traffic will come
Nothing has really changed in terms of strategy. Sure it’s much harder to get away with building a high volume or any volume for that matter of thin pages of content – Panda did a great job of cleaning that up. Then there are thin links (links from keyword stuffed SEO pages may also be included in that bracket) which in my view was cleaned up by Penguin – again making it much harder. The upshot of all of this is, if you’ve been dedicating your ways to scamming the search engines (and the greedy business clients you sold the dream to) via SEO then you can either move on and get a real job retraining in analytics or you can see the error of your ways and focus on building real value for your clients by building content. Oh sorry the real upshot, apart from real people doing real jobs is that you don’t need as many links to get traffic on competitive terms. You can get traffic and even rank on competitive and long tail terms (more important seeing thats where the sales and enquiries are made) just by building content in fact more pages of something meaningful and value. That means valuable links earned from sites with audiences that matter and content that your audiences will care about.
So there it is, learn from the past and build content with meaningful value and the traffic will come.