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The Rise of Content Discovery Platforms

SEO, as we knew it, does not exist anymore. Last week, Paul Boag wrote an interesting piece in Smashing Magazine explaining why companies should no longer spend money on third-party SEO companies. The article was followed by a heated discussion and Paul had to write another post explaining his take on the necessity of SEO companies. Paul Boag pointed out:

If you hire a SEO company to improve your placement and you measure their worth on the basis of how high they get you in the rankings, then you are out of line with what Google is trying to achieve. Your primary objective should be better content, not higher rankings.

(via SmashingMagazine)

Suddenly, after all those Zoofixations of Google (yes, I am referring to Panda, Penguin bla bla algorithm changes), informative and useful content took the crown. Everyone seems to be so obsessed with ‘content marketing’. Jason DeMers wrote an article on Huffington on the same topic; entitled ‘The New Era of SEO: Content Strategy’. I can see that marketers are embracing this as a paradigm shift. I am, in no way, resisting this change. However, this scenario somehow reminds me of the time when people were equally excited about link building. That phase has gone. Again, I am not implying that content marketing will have a short life span as well. Indeed, I think content marketing is here to stay for long and we will witness its rapid evolution in coming years.

Content Content, superstar- how I wonder where you are

While the experts are all talking about what great contents are and how to produce those; I want to emphasize on another challenge. This challenge is to connect great contents with one another. When one informative article supplements another great piece of writing, connecting them can increase the amount of traffic for both of them. Content Discovery platforms are already here to serve this purpose. However, it seems that this is just the beginning of content discovery technology. The service is not yet ubiquitous, i.e. it is mainly limited to written contents. We are yet to see cross-type content suggestions such as suggestions of text content in video contents or vice versa. Though I am pretty sure that content suggestion tools will soon evolve to get better, bigger and more inclusive.

Outbrain is a good example of how a smart Content Discovery platform can add value to your business

I think the main challenge for this industry will be to keep the relevance. Readers are far more likely to check the contents that add something to the content he/she is reading. If this service is delivered smartly, it can become a more effective traffic generation tool than PPC campaign. Outbrain is a good example of how a smart Content Discovery platform can add value to your business through intelligent filtering and placement of your contents on some of highly popular content meeting points of the web. Besides Outbrain, there are some other content catering services here. Let’s take look at who they are.

1. Outbrain

Outbrain the leading content discovery platform out there with clients like Mashable, Slate and New York Post. However, they have adopted a philosophy that contradicts my opinion about the importance of content relevancy. In their words, ‘The world is brainwashed by relevancy’. Rather, Outbrain emphasizes on determining what could be interesting to the reader. They use four kinds of signals to determine the ‘interestingness’ of contents- Popularity, Contextual, Behavioral, Personal.

2. Nrelate

With 60,000+ clients, Nrelate is growing quickly. Nrelate has a number of different products both for publishers and marketers with capabilities to show related content, most popular content, intext linking and flyout suggestions. The diversity of their widgets and service should help them to grow bigger in future.

3. LinkWithin

LinkWithin is a free service. Independent bloggers can use LinkWithin widget to show related posts within the blog on every post. It doesn’t require any signup to use and can be used on almost every platform including WordPress and Blogger.

4. Disqus

This popular comment curation widget provider has extended its reach to content suggestion. Through its content suggestion tool, publishers have the opportunity to monetize their contents.

Content Discovery for Marketers

The growing popularity and effectiveness of Content Discovery tools should be noticed by marketers. While crafting a digital marketing strategy, Content suggestion as a way of increasing traffic and pageviews can be considered. And here goes a few suggestions:

  1. Use multiple tools for content discovery and suggestion. Independent bloggers can take this tools both as publisher and marketer.
  2. Do not lose relevancy. Ever noticed how superstores place items inside the store? The placement of contents can do the same in a virtual environment what the placement strategy does for brick-and-mortar stores.
  3. Mapping topics and subtopics of your contents can contribute to the richness of your site. It will also help the readers to stay focused and dig deeper into your website.

Concluding Thoughts

This article was started with Google emphasis on Quality Content and the important of Content marketing. However, in the last one decade a lot of trashes have been produced in the name of content. For a better web, it is time to looking for ways to cut through this content chaos and deliver quality to readers. Content discover platforms have a big role to play to make this possible. Here, Jay Meattle of Shareaholic expressed his thoughts on this issue:

“we’re aiming to make content discovery and consumption on the Web a simple, delightful, and elegant experience for readers. There is a tremendous amount of room to innovate. We see a not-too-distant future that is less chaotic and less noisy where you consume content on your own terms on your favorite screen.” (via xconomy)

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Iftekhar Inan

Digital Marketing Strategist at Vocabridge
I am a Digital Marketing Strategist, working with startups and individuals to enhance their online exposure. I randomly write about digital marketing and other stuffs on SubtleBias.

So, what do you think ?