Does Curation STILL Work

by Harlan
22 replies
On February 1, 2012 I started a dog site. I was determined it was going to be the top in the industry.

By February 1, 2014 it had become the industry leader.

It was voted the dog dog blog.

We got something like 6 million page views last year.

On Facebook, we reach up to 9 million people a week.

The site is still growing.

And here's the best part....

97% of the site is curated content.

We have done ZERO SEO, ZERO LINKING, ZERO BLACKHAT STUFF.

Just content, content and more content.

Does curation still work?

Heck yes.
#curation #work
  • Profile picture of the author smjconet
    Yup, a good example is ViralNova
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Waller
    Nice work. One quick question: when you first started out I am assuming you had some other traffic sources before the likes of Google started to rank you. Was it mainly social since you say you now reach millions on Facebook?
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    • Profile picture of the author Harlan
      Originally Posted by Steve Waller View Post

      Nice work. One quick question: when you first started out I am assuming you had some other traffic sources before the likes of Google started to rank you. Was it mainly social since you say you now reach millions on Facebook?
      We used only social media and curation.
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    • Profile picture of the author smjconet
      Originally Posted by Steve Waller View Post

      Nice work. One quick question: when you first started out I am assuming you had some other traffic sources before the likes of Google started to rank you. Was it mainly social since you say you now reach millions on Facebook?
      Google and SEO is not relevant to sites like Viral Nova. All traffic is driven by the viral social aspect of the social platform. No Google dance needed. LOL

      PS: Here are some more examples:
      Upworthy
      9gag
      icanhas.cheesburger
      Distractify

      Take a look and see what they have in common. I think your eyes will open. Hint, search for their respective Facebook Pages.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Braybrooke
    Thanks Harlan,

    I enjoy reading experiences like yours. As Antonio asked, can we see your quoted site? This article on content curation caught my interest: Why Curated Content on Your Website is an Ineffective Waste of Time
    So many points of view.
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  • Profile picture of the author manters2000
    Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

    On February 1, 2012 I started a dog site. I was determined it was going to be the top in the industry.

    By February 1, 2014 it had become the industry leader.

    It was voted the dog dog blog.

    We got something like 6 million page views last year.

    On Facebook, we reach up to 9 million people a week.

    The site is still growing.

    And here's the best part....

    97% of the site is curated content.

    We have done ZERO SEO, ZERO LINKING, ZERO BLACKHAT STUFF.

    Just content, content and more content.

    Does curation still work?

    Heck yes.
    May I know what tool do you use for curating contents in your niche?
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    • Profile picture of the author khansaccounts
      for content curation no need for tools you just need to understand first that in which niche you are going to post the article so search best contents from the experts and use that content in your post as curation
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  • Profile picture of the author Meharis
    Originally Posted by Harlan View Post

    On February 1, 2012 I started a dog site. I was determined it was going to be the top in the industry.

    By February 1, 2014 it had become the industry leader.

    It was voted the dog dog blog.

    We got something like 6 million page views last year.

    On Facebook, we reach up to 9 million people a week.

    The site is still growing.

    And here's the best part....

    97% of the site is curated content.

    We have done ZERO SEO, ZERO LINKING, ZERO BLACKHAT STUFF.

    Just content, content and more content.

    Does curation still work?

    Heck yes.

    Harlan,

    Congratulations and thank you for posting.
    I thought I was the only one believing that curation works real well.

    Meharis
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  • Profile picture of the author schttrj
    Are you providing value? Heck yes.

    Are you being up-to-date? Heck yes.

    Are you building relationships with your readers? Heck yes.

    Are you employing viral marketing theory? Heck yes.

    I would be surprised if you don't succeed, Harlan.
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  • Profile picture of the author jasondinner
    Yeah it works, and I've found that I get a ton more free traffic from Google without kissing their ass than when i used to.
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    • Profile picture of the author smjconet
      Originally Posted by jasondinner View Post

      Yeah it works, and I've found that I get a ton more free traffic from Google without kissing their ass than when i used to.
      Yes, One of my sites is a FOREX site. Don't want to mention the name due to the fact I have place and other ads on the site that I don't want abused, Anyway, I curate through several RSS feeds and my traffic is far more than it has ever been. I don't even know how I am situated in the SERPs. I do have the firefox SEO plugin installed on my browser and within the last few moths, I have jumped from a PR 0 to a PR 4, so yes I think one can use curating. I always give a link back to the source in my posts, and have a DCMA notice on the site, but I have never had even one webmaster ask me to shut down the link to their RSS feed. They like the back links, is my guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author surenpp
    Can any one of you provide a simple guideline on how to do a curated web site in the right way


    thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author heavysm
      If you do a little digging you can find the dog site via certain links that are available on this thread (not sure if that's allowed or not - there might be some affiliate offers in the sites of OP's sig links).

      The site itself is solid and you can tell the content is curated. It just looks like a really well planned out site; the user engagement is there and there is obvious value as noted by the user comments.

      My question: does the dog site create significant income for the OP? In this case I mean $3,000/monthly or more for the owner which could quality as the minimum for a full time time.
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    • Profile picture of the author nak333
      Content curation caught my attention so much. I definitely want to learn more about this.
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  • Profile picture of the author writeaway
    As long as it doesn't involve blind RSS stripping or autoblogging, it works. Need PROOF? Check out upworthy. I can't stand it's particular political bias but hey, it's got tons of social media shares and direct traffic base. Can't argue with that fact.
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    • Profile picture of the author Nick Logan
      From my experience curation works and I think will always work! But...your blog must also include a lot of original content, valuable to readers, unique and attractive!
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      • Profile picture of the author smjconet
        Originally Posted by Project View Post

        From my experience curation works and I think will always work! But...your blog must also include a lot of original content, valuable to readers, unique and attractive!
        With all respect, these sites contain no original content. They do not need SEO or any Google help at all. All of their millions of unique views are from Social Viral sources. The headlines and nature of each of the posts are so engaging and compelling that they draw traffic to the site from other social sites, like facebook and twitter.
        Upworthy
        ViralCircus
        Distractify
        Viral Nova

        Check out the other posts I have made in this thread on this topic.
        There are many more site examples. I can steer you to a very good in-depth 20000 word article on the subject if you would like to PM me. I do not know if it is okay to publish the link here, as it is on another website / blog.
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart Walker
    Worth a read: Time Sensitive: How to Reach 100,000,000 Unique Visitors in Just 6 Months

    I'm not sure what the legality is of using other peoples content without permission however even when you do link to them and name the original source.

    I'm not saying that is what the OP is doing but Viral Nova and others allegedly do according to the Viper Chill article.

    Talking of Google traffic...

    On my blog I don't curate content nor do I actively chase search engine traffic.

    I write for my audience based on problems I know they have (mostly questions asked on forums or that they directly ask me), don't actively build artificial links (only place links that will drive direct traffic) nor do I search out low competition keywords to use in my posts yet Google is my second biggest source of traffic behind direct traffic.
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  • Profile picture of the author DogScout
    6,000+ newspapers in the world... 80%+ with on-line versions... any international story ends up on the web 4-5K times. Sharing on FB in essence voids any internet based intellectual rights as the TOU has you agree to allow others to share that info/media.

    FB, Twitter et al has changed the intent of on-line copyright laws.

    FB TOU concerning intellectual rights:
    ->For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

    Having a 'share' button on a page with your content releases it in approximately the same manner.
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  • Profile picture of the author LABEShops
    Thanks for the kick in the pants to dust off my curation site, scifispace.com. Back in the 90s, I was an about.com mega site with millions of visitors a month and was mentioned in a special on the Firefly dvd set, but since then, I've let things slide since it never was a big source of income for me - it was just fun. I had to focus on my online stores for my livelihood. I actually redid the site about a year ago, but haven't been updating it regularly. Didn't realize it, but I was during curating before curating was big lol. So today I'm refocusing on getting at least 3 new articles up a day (and feel free to yell at me if I don't! lol)

    If any of you have scifi/fantasy/horror niche sites and want to submit articles or reviews, please pm me. I give author attribution boxes with links.
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  • Profile picture of the author nicheblogger75
    Content curation works great. I do it on several of my niche blogs.

    I never ask permission as it would be impossible because of time constraints and the fact that many people never get back to you. As long as you cite and link back to the source you are not likely to have a problem. I've been doing it for years, even before it was a "thing." I've never had one person contact me and ask me to remove any content. One of the places you need to be careful, though, is with images. Usually if the image has been shared on Facebook and/or Twitter by more than one person, it's open season. If it's only on one blog or site and is obviously an original image owned or created by that website owners or contributor, you should leave it alone. Any video on YouTube, Dailymotion, Vimeo, etc, that allows for embedding is fine to use.

    As the OP pointed out, one of the best things about curation, when done right, is that you don't have to cater to the search engines. Still, you will find that if you post frequently enough and your content gets shared, you will get plenty of organic traffic.

    RSS feeds are a fantastic way to find good content to share, and another site I use all the time to find good content is ScoopIt. BuzzSumo is another good resource, especially if you want to find content that is likely to go viral, or has already started to go viral.

    I find that adding my own little spin on a curated article helps, but a lot of people don't even do that. They either take some or all of the original article, or they will shorten it and offer a concise version of the article.

    It can be a little daunting at first, especially if you get into a niche where there is tons of content. However, once you get the hang of it it becomes easy and it's almost like second nature.

    My advice for anyone wanting to try it is to start out with one site and make it something you are interested in. However, interest is not always enough. It also needs to be something that is popular and that a lot of people are into. If you pick a really small niche that isn't very interesting you will have a very difficult time getting your content shared on social media.

    A couple of years back I started a true crime site. It was all videos. I would post true crime documentaries that I found on YouTube and Dailymotion. I would manually pick and post around 5-10 videos a day. There was no written content, just videos. I stopped posting on it once I had around 500 videos posted. In 6 months time I was getting anywhere from 500-1000 unique visitors per day from Google, Bing, Facebook & Twitter. It wasn't a really big money maker. Still, I was able to make anywhere from $2-$10 per day with it. I was monetizing with CPA offers and I also had another true crime site owner who contacted me and offered to pay me $30 a month for a banner ad spot. I ended up flipping the site for $500. Unfortunately, the moron who bought it decided to let the domain lapse and the site is now gone.

    However, it actually opened my eyes to another income stream, which is building up sites for about 6 months to a year and then when they make anywhere from $100-$500 a month, turning around and flipping them for a nice quick cash infusion.

    Great thread BTW.
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