The internet is a vast sea of content and the competition is fierce and it often feels like the battle will never end. It’s not for the lack of trying that beating (or even competing against) the competition is difficult, but it’s the parameters in which we must compete that make getting ahead like climbing Mount Everest.
If you’ve been around the internet for any extended amount of time you know that Google Search is king. Every website on Google must play by Google’s rules if they want their content to be included in search results. This sounds fairly simple, just follow the rules and you show up in search. But it’s not that simple and Google doesn’t make things easy for independent news sites with little to no budget.
There are ways to gain special placement and treatment from Google, like Google Ads. If you have enough money to pay for Google Ads you can get your website URL placed at the top of search results. Another popular way of gaining placement on Google search is by having immense amounts of traffic. But what do you do if you don’t have the amount of traffic that is attractive to advertisers and investors? Well, you buy it.
That’s what ComScore and Traffic Assignment Letters (TAL) are all about. ComScore is a company that ranks websites based on their traffic. ComScore also allows websites to purchase traffic from other sites in order to inflate their numbers and make it look as if they have more traffic than they actually have. It’s a pretty complex game of numbers that’s supposedly all legit but it still leaves independent sites like ours in the dust. Many of the internet’s most popular websites participate and inflate their numbers with TAL traffic.
You can find out more about Traffic Assignment Letters (TAL) from the two videos we have linked below. If these videos are too long for you to watch (you should really watch them) the short explanation is this. ComScore assigns a TAL to every site it works with. Site Y can allow Site Z to have its traffic in site Z’s numbers with the goal of selling ads into site Y. So then Site Z can pitch itself to investors and advertisers by saying, “Our network of sites reaches XX million visitors monthly and extends from our site to Site Y.” So Site Y wouldn’t be able to get those types of ad deals if it didn’t have Site Z’s TAL traffic even though Site Y didn’t actually earn any of the traffic. Seriously, watch both of these videos.
So what does this all mean for the content we’re doing here at Techaeris? Well, in the past two months we have seen a 50% decline in our traffic due to Google’s new search algorithms. These new algorithms have placed popular mainstream news sources above independent news sources pushing sites like ours down the search results. We’re not the only ones and many other site owners are experiencing this drop.
Since our content is now not found as easily as before and is reaching fewer people, it has, of course, impacted our revenue. We have been competing for the same content space as The Verge, Vox, Mashable, CNET, Engadget, Gizmodo, and many others. But given the new Google search rules and the fact that many of these sites use TAL traffic ultimately trumps our traffic by huge amounts. We have decided to refocus and redirect our efforts with regard to our content strategy.
Going forward, we are going to focus less effort on tech news reporting and more effort on original content. This means more original product reviews, more original how-to articles, more original guides, tips & tricks articles, and generally, the content the “larger” tech news sites do not cover.
This doesn’t mean we won’t be writing any news articles at all, we absolutely will be covering some news from time to time. But our focus will be in bringing you content you’re not seeing on the other sites. We will also bring you new product announcements and releases since many times we can get those products for future review coverage.
The tech news space on the internet is crowded with hundreds of sites trying to grab the same eyes. We’re hoping that if we stop chasing after the same story everyone else is, we can differentiate ourselves from the rest of the pack.
We have been around for over six years now and we are still small and independent. We count on our fans word of mouth and social sharing to help spread the word about our content. We’ve been grateful over these past six years for everyone who has supported us and we hope you can continue to do so as we try and reclaim our place on Google search. We’re not part of the pay to play crowd but we’re confident our content is as good if not better than the competition.
Thank you for all the support. Please consider sharing the site with those in your social circles and we look forward to creating more original content that matters to you.
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Cheers ~ Alex Hernandez – Editor-In-Chief