Content Farms and Their Functionality

content farms are a cash cow

The only cows you'll find at content farms and the cash cows that they are for the owners.

Do a search online for almost any knowledge subject, such as how to install a hard drive or how to teach a kid to add and you’ll almost inevitably come across articles written for a content farm. These include places like eHow, WikiHow, WiseGeek and the like. So what are these places and what do they have to do with marketing and search engine optimization.

An Effort to Focus on Almost Every Variation Imaginable

Content farms are well known for spewing (and I use that term deliberately) out content on a regular basis, some if it good, much of it quite bad. One of the things they do in order to maximize their chances of earning money from advertising is that they write articles with every variation imaginable of a long tail keyword.

For example, they may try to write articles on how to buy house by writing, how to buy a house, how to buy a home, buying a home, picking the right home for you, etc. etc.

Hiring Thousands of Writers for a Pittance

The content farms, especially places like eHow and Associated Content claim to have hundreds of thousands of writers working for them. The majority make very little or nothing at all, though that doesn’t stop dreamers from coming to them thinking that this is the way to make a great living writing for the Internet.

However, the fact that these places employ so many people and pay so little (eHow pays $15 for a 400 word article while places like “Life Tips” pay nothing at all – they offer “exposure” and, if you manage to write for them for a while, they will gather your articles into a book from which you make $2 each if copies are sold) does benefit us in the SEO field.

Writing for the Internet Can Be Had for Cheap

The benefit that these places offer is that content writing for the Internet tends to be relatively inexpensive. While in any traditional media market, paying $50 for a well researched article would be considered an insult, for Internet writing, $50 an article is considered an extremely high rate of pay.

This means effectively that if you need written material for your blog or website, it’s often quite inexpensive, even from good copywriters (the junky ones can be had for $1 per article, but they’re not worth bothering with. I personally charge $20 per article if the project isn’t too research intensive).

Google’s View of Content Farms

Another thing that is quite interesting regarding content farms is Google’s reaction to them. While many such places do tend to rank quite high in the SERPs, there have been some rumors in the blogosphere that Google may start slamming these places since much of their content tends to be crap (though certainly not all).

One More Benefit for Those Doing SEO

There is also one more benefit for those doing SEO work. Content farms are a great way to get some high PR backlinks. At least for now, many content farms tend to rank high in the ratings (especially those which screen the writing that they publish, such as eHow and Bright Hub).

Now while most content farms will not let you put your own links in the body of the article, most do allow you to have a link back to your website or blog in the author bio. This means that (at least until Google changes the rules), they can be a great source of backlinks for your SEO needs.