March 2011 - Issue #67
       
Did Google's Farmer Update Affect Your Portfolio?
 
Google made a major change in their search algorithm at the end of February to punish "content farms" that serve-up warmed-over low-quality content.  There have been some interesting discussions of the impact of this online, including one by Matt Bentley, formerly of Sedo.  Matt argues that the Google change is a good thing for domainers.  One impact of the change is that some mega-sites (like Associated Content and eZineArticles) are pushed way down in Google.  Domain owners who have original content on their site now have an opportunity to move higher.  
 
SEO expert Danny Sullivan has analyzed the results and noted a few surprises.  Demand Media's  eHowsite, for example, actually increased in rank.  Sullivan quotes from a Sistrix report analyzing which content farms lost the most.  The biggest losers are:
 
Domain Positions Lost % Loss
associatedcontent.com 162,917 75%
suite101.com 141,469 79%
ezinearticles.com 130,231 71%
hubpages.com 102,820 67%

Internet marketer John Reese painted a somewhat different picture.  Reese sent out an email stating that:
Thousands upon thousands of marketer are seeing their free Google traffic PLUMMET overnight. This change has wiped out a lot of the free traffic that was coming from Article Directories and sites like Hub Pages and many others. Other "Auto-generated" sites also were wiped out. I bet some marketer just lost nearly ALL of their income with this change if they were heavily relying on their organic Google traffic.
He goes on to remind people that Google does things like this from time-to-time and that we just need to suck it up and build they kind of sites that will still rank well in Google.  Expect that domainer content farms like WhyPark have been pushed even further down in rank, except for any high-quality unique content that you have added.    
 
It's a challenge for any algorithm to judge the quality of original content.  Google has penalized duplicate content for some time, but their task here is much more difficult.  Expect SEO experts to be analyzing this algorithm shift for weeks to come.  In the mean time see how your own domains are doing, and err on the side of good original content whenever you can.  Some of the mediocre big guys are no longer blocking your way.
 
 
Compare Parking Companies on Your Portfolio with Above.com
 

For the last few years we've been comparing domain parking companies at Parkquick.com and NameMonetizer. For the most part we've been manually moving domains from one company to another to see how they do.  We also look at the relative income we get from some of the affiliate programs, and we read the domain forums to see what other domain owners are saying.  We've started using a new tool that is available to all at Above.com.   

Above.com will import the data from most of the major parking companies.  If you choose, they can also try the domains at different companies to see where they make the most money.  Above.com features:

  • A single dashboard for a side by side comparison of all parking companies for every domain.
  • Use your existing parking accounts.
  • Normalized RPMs for real transparency of domain parking earnings
  • Detailed Analytics: geo-graphics, search terms, referrals, URLs visited per domain
  • Automatic optimization of your domains
  • Easily test and compare different parking services on a single dashboard
  • Automatic redirection to alternate parking service if earnings drop

When you allow Above.com to rotate your domains they will test 10% of the traffic with another company to see if they provide better results.  If so - they will send most of the traffic there.  The service works best for domains that get significant traffic.  If you only get 10 uniques a month, their rotation of one visitor to another company won't really tell much. 

Above.com also has an optional "Maximizer" service that will monetize Chinese traffic and other traffic that is difficult to monetize with mainstream parking companies.  They likely take a cut of this traffic, of course, but they do not take a cut of the income from other parking companies.  Above.com is owned by Trellian, and they are providing the service for free as a way to consider your traffic for other Trellian services such as their Direct Search network that sends traffic directly to sites for a fee.  

We are in the early stages of testing Above.com, but I expect that it will be of great help as we evaluate parking companies.  Give it a try if you have a significant number of traffic domains

                       

Thousands upon thousands of marketer are seeing their free Google traffic PLUMMET overnight. This change has wiped out a lot of the free traffic that was coming from Article Directories and sites like Hub Pages and many others. Other "Auto-generated" sites also were wiped out. I bet some marketer just lost nearly ALL of their income with this change if they were heavily relying on their organic Google traffic.

  • A single dashboard for a side by side comparison of all parking companies for every domain.
  • Use your existing parking accounts.
  • Normalized RPMs for real transparency of domain parking earnings
  • Detailed Analytics: geo-graphics, search terms, referrals, URLs visited per domain
  • Automatic optimization of your domains
  • Easily test and compare different parking services on a single dashboard
  • Automatic redirection to alternate parking service if earnings drop