AP Almost Gets Something Right… But Then Gets It Wrong
from the so-close... dept
Zachary Seward over at the Nieman Lab is revealing more of the AP’s “top secret” plan to figure out this darn web thing. Following the plan to hold back some content from its members, the latest installment is focused on trying to attack Wikipedia’s search dominance with its own SEO play: creating “landing pages” designed to be the definitive destinations on certain topics, with the idea of using inbound links from partners newspaper sites to goose the Google juice and shoot them to the top of the list.
Now, as a first pass, this is actually not a bad idea. Creating compelling topic pages that become the main source for people to go to is a good strategy. The problem is that it’s just not that easy. A bunch of other sites have tried to do the same thing and have failed miserably. Many of these are startups, obviously, but even Google itself tried to do something similar with its Google Knol offering, and that’s been a massive disappointment. And it has the inside scoop on how to get good PageRank.
Even worse, as Felix Salmon points out, the AP seems to think that these pages should be autogenerated! Yes, the AP seems to think the way to take on Wikipedia is with a computer spitting out spam SEO-trap pages. Wow. The biggest asset (and yes, it’s a huge asset) that the AP has is the wealth of knowledge in the heads of all of its reporters. They could actually create some very useful definitive content pages… but instead they’re going to hand it over to computers to autogenerate? Talk about missing the point…