Once deemed a “content farm” — a term used to describe a publisher that relies on quantity over quality of articles and search-engine optimization to lure in Web traffic and advertisers — Leaf Group is now trying to transform its business and separate itself from that association.
Leaf Group announced it will take down “duplicative articles” and decrease its reliance on SEO and Google. It will place “more emphasis on quality content” on its sites Livestrong.com and eHow, which focus on health and nutrition and DIY tutorials, respectively.
In 2011, Google changed its algorithm to punish sites that relied heavily on SEO and churned out a high number of low-quality, spam-like content, hurting media companies like Demand that relied on Google to draw in advertising revenue.
Leaf Group will now refocus its sites on “specific” categories and add three new verticals. Cuteness.com will be dedicated to pet owners, Techwalla.com will be focused on tech and Sapling.com will cover personal finance for millennials.
Existing content from overlapping eHow categories will be moved to these new sites.
Earlier this week, Demand Media released its third-quarter earnings report, revealing a 28% decline on its content and media revenue, primarily due to “the divestitures of certain online properties including Cracked, traffic declines on eHow and lower ad monetization yields,” according to the report.
Demand Media sold humor site Cracked to E.W. Scripps for $39 million in April.
The sobering numbers were partially offset by a 32% increase in its marketplaces revenue, made up of its art fair commerce business The Other Art Fair, as well as its design and decor marketplace Society6 and online art gallery Saatchi Art.
Leaf Group’s properties reached about 50 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S. in September, up 3% year-over-year.The company’s total revenue declined 2% year-over-year.