Content: quantity over quality?

thescrrr

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Found this on Reddit, and I pretty much always came to the same conclusion. What do you think?

Source: https://www.reddit.com/r/juststart/comments/ijs8es

"The current iteration of the SERP landscape rewards an ability to mass produce mass content, especially in infoniches. From siloing and keeping users on site to more natural link opportunities (numbers game). Generating thorough content or even hands on reviews are not rewareded in the same way from an ROI perspective (EDITED FOR EMPHASIS)

We actually tested this across two niches vsing another agency in a "friendly" battle. I was going to share this later this year in a more detailed post, but will give a glimpse now. It's 11 months in, but the results are already telling. We knew what the results would be going into this, but it was still interesting to see how little has changed in terms of content quality.

Essentially, the goal is to prove that for maximum roi, user engagement and retention, quality content doesn't matter - ESPECIALLY if relying on google.

Long story short two niches based around a particular product. They could be considered small niches in that around 500 pages max. would see the site reach it's limits in terms of content. These are relevent to this sub and would be your mix of info/affiliate content.

Each site had 60k invested. For one niche, we would create the "re-written content" focusing on quantity and attempting to fill out the niche (site A), and the other would do hands on research such as buying, testing and photographing content, conducting more thorough research etc a slow but steady approach (Site B). We then reversed our roles for a second niche. We followed a set of mutually agreed upon rules to keep variables down.

Site A

  • ~400 pages
  • ~6k daily visitors
  • ~$14k (Last months earnings)
  • ~14 Natural backlinks
Site B

  • ~70 pages
  • ~1k daily visitors
  • ~$3.5k (Last months earnings)
  • 0 Natural backlinks
Niche 2, where we swapped, returned a similar result.

It's clear that producing content faster gives you a significant edge. Sure, the site that focused on quality produced a higher ROI per visitor. But it just couldn't produce content quick enough to keep up. On a big enough timeline, the site that can produce content faster will continue to get ahead. Site B also had to skip specific pages that wouldn't be worth testing for (think best X for Y) due to low search interest. Not an issue for a re-written site. That's the game at the moment, and it's very well known by larger media companies. Investing into mass content, assuming you have an above average understanding "SEO" is currently the right choice.

In both instances, we found the re-written content approach significantly easier to scale and set quality guidelines. There are some other interesting things I want to touch on too, since some of you will be curious.

  • The sites that focused on physically reviewing a product and attention to detail drew a more discerning crowed. These would often research elsewhere before buying. Site A had fewer comments and discussion regarding the quality of the "testing criteria" and similar. There was a significantly more comments questioning testing methadology, expertise and similar on Site B. These added busywork as they needed to be addressed. If you do more, people will expect more. When the content is essentially "free" this may not a good thing.

  • By becoming a complete resource quicker, it's easier to build a community. More people on the site presented more opportunity for optins. In small niches where building a community is an arms race. Forums are a chicken and egg problem, and once people are paricipating in a like-minded community, they are less likely to go elsewhere.

  • A larger spread of articles gave more opportunity for natural backlinks than a small spread. Obvious, but it was surprising just how different the backlinks were. It essentially came down to, if a page appeared 1st google for a given queary, it was likely to be the source linked to in other blogs doing research on a topic. This feeds these rapid content sites ability to grow.

  • Producing a thorough, detailed review is both time consuming and expensive. If you are going down this route, and don't have a hefty budget, you are giving competitors the opportunity to fly past you.
Does this mean you should churn out rushed content? I'm not condoning that in the slightest. Over the long-term, it's possible that the SERP landscape will shift. But that doesn't mean it's going to be favorable. AI written content and other obstacles lay ahead, in addition to increased competition from people who are making bank now. One of my favorite mottos is money now beats money later, and currently, it's pretty easy to see where the money is, if google is your only play.

EDIT: I think my point may have gotten lost, or I didn't make it clear. Probably the latter. My point wasn't that dotdash can't be beaten. On a page by page basis, it's the exact opposite. If you can't beat them over time, it points to weak content on your part. But more that a dotdash approach, mass producing content is the play if seeking to maximize ROI. The faster you can produce content, even sacrificing quality, the better. As long as your SEO skills are up to scratch.

Edit2: rewritten content in the case refers to content that is largely compiled from easily accessible sources. For instance, a google search on a topic."
 

spyderman4g63

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This is interesting. I come from a paid traffic background and am taking my first dives into SEO. I average about 1 visitor per day per post vs your 15 per day per post. I'm obviously doing something wrong.
 
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I think we could balance both: quality and quantity. Then we can have all the advantages?
 

Unreliable Witness

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I'd also go for high quality, because user interaction is important to rank in the top positions.

I was amazed yesterday though. I found a site ranking for "service + location" using the same text for each of 100+ pages except for the location name. The keywords were pretty low volume with low competition, but it amazed me that large scale duplicate content would rank so well.

Each page linked to the next in a massive wheel through footer links.

I thought the ability to do that had gone 10 years, but obviously it hasn't.

The lesson is that in some niches, large volumes of low quality (duplicated) text can rank if the keyword is a low competition one.
 

BimTop

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Quality articles that address users intent will do well any day and anytime
 

spyderman4g63

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I'd also go for high quality, because user interaction is important to rank in the top positions.

I was amazed yesterday though. I found a site ranking for "service + location" using the same text for each of 100+ pages except for the location name. The keywords were pretty low volume with low competition, but it amazed me that large scale duplicate content would rank so well.

Each page linked to the next in a massive wheel through footer links.

I thought the ability to do that had gone 10 years, but obviously it hasn't.

The lesson is that in some niches, large volumes of low quality (duplicated) text can rank if the keyword is a low competition one.

Found the same. The shittiest freaking content with just the location changed. About 100+ pages with the same content all ranking on the same domain. All linking to each other in footer links.
 
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safeSEOboost

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Nice post OP. Imho, the play in IM is: maximize ROI.

So you can do quality, quantity, top quality, spam, fast, faster, whatever. At the end of the day, the question is not how you rank, but how you bank. So other than ranking, there are other factors such as how you convert, and what is your cost. Which leads to ROI, ultimately this is the number to watch.

Yes you can get more visitors faster possibly, but that's only part of the picture. Also it depends if this is churn and burn, as fast rising sites often tank fast as well. So do I prefer fast earnings for a short time or slower earnings for a long time?

Regarding rewritten content, the entire Web is rewritten. Even a top writer will mostly do one thing: rewrite. Yes there are different degrees of rewriting content, but imho search engines can see this is the same content overall, with better grammar or not, more word variety, etc. But same concepts, the essence of a page is easily computable, and can be compared to another page for a measure of their similarity.

Nevertheless I see a lot of top sites with high quality content.
 
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thescrrr

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Which leads to ROI, ultimately this is the number to watch.

And that's the conclusion of the test they make. With high quality articles the ROI / visitor was better, but with mass produced content they just more visitor thus more revenue.

I would go for quality over quantity any day

I see you don't buy articles here ahah.

The lesson is that in some niches, large volumes of low quality (duplicated) text can rank if the keyword is a low competition one.

It's not low quality content, it's rewritten content. See here: "rewritten content in the case refers to content that is largely compiled from easily accessible sources. For instance, a google search on a topic."
This is the type of content that most people buy.

Quality articles that address users intent will do well any day and anytime

Yeah but they are slower to produce, and what I find interesting is this:

The sites that focused on physically reviewing a product and attention to detail drew a more discerning crowed. These would often research elsewhere before buying. Site A had fewer comments and discussion regarding the quality of the "testing criteria" and similar. There was a significantly more comments questioning testing methadology, expertise and similar on Site B. These added busywork as they needed to be addressed. If you do more, people will expect more. When the content is essentially "free" this may not a good thing.
 

safeSEOboost

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And that's the conclusion of the test they make. With high quality articles the ROI / visitor was better, but with mass produced content they just more visitor thus more revenue.
If I read the article correctly this is 11 months in, right? so still early to predict the future!

Site A

~400 pages
~6k daily visitors
~$14k (Last months earnings)
~14 Natural backlinks

Site B

~70 pages
~1k daily visitors
~$3.5k (Last months earnings)
0 Natural backlinks

Which month is this? the 11th? if you only show 1 month of data, this is incomplete information; I would not be surprised this is the best month: time to post on reddit!

Site A has more backlinks, Site B better conversion rate (strange is it?).

Too many moving parts to be so certain about the results.
 

safeSEOboost

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Still not my post.

It is a very interesting article, but I will just try to summarize my final comment; they say below (and this is where I do not agree):

It's clear that producing content faster gives you a significant edge. Sure, the site that focused on quality produced a higher ROI per visitor. But it just couldn't produce content quick enough to keep up. On a big enough timeline, the site that can produce content faster will continue to get ahead.

This does not mean anything. Not proven, not including ROI, not long-term, and providing partial data/results .That's all folks!

edit: or maybe they are right: churn and burn rules; yeah but we knew this a long time ago!
 
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deedee1whoa

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I don't think this is enough of a proof that it's always quantity over quality, even talking just about Google.

There's just too many other factors involved and I'll still, always, stick with quality content.

I'd be embarassed to stand behind a bleh brand. Talking long-term, it's a must-to to be hella good.

You do you though and, I'll do me.
 

Sebastian Velandia

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I agree with @deedee1whoa. In my case study, I started a niche site about 9 months ago, I publish 1 high-quality piece of content per week, my site right now has 25 high-quality posts and it is getting 3k daily visitors from organic search.

Focusing on the quality I have been able to outperform all my competitors in SERPs, and my competitors have hundreds or even thousands of posts, and me, a simple guy with 25 posts on a 9 months old website is outperforming them.

I have not made any effort for a backlink, I have been able to get some nice backlinks naturally.
 

Writerly

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Churn and burn has always been an extremely effective way of putting out any content, there is no arguing that. Just look at how many YouTubers are going down simply because they can’t keep up with modern output requirements. So, yeah, a greater volume of output will always work well.
But here’s the thing: not everyone can play the high-volume game and those who do tend to crash as soon as they slow down. The kind of audience that you will get via producing extreme amounts of quantity will also not be very loyal, which can have detrimental effects on your brand later down the line.
I’d always go with quality. It’s simply more sustainable and rewarding.
 
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