John Moore runs Government in the Lab, a site dedicated to creating a positive transformation in government and politics, throughout the world, via shared knowledge and community. John and I talked about how the site’s content strategy, he explained that most of the content is shared by their writers; the majority of the content are posts from the author’s original sites. John said, “today the ratio is roughly 90% existing content, 10% new content’.
This means Government in the Lab is a content farm by Google’s standards, the site has a lot of duplicate content. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the site has slow growth. John explained the site has grown in unique traffic, he told me, “We have seen unique’s growing by a solid %, about 5x”.
While Government in the Lab isn’t a content garden, here’s my interview with John about how the content is put together on the site:
John: Who are the site’s writers?
John M: Our writers come from around the world, write articles in English, French, Spanish, Italian, Greek, Japanese, and Arabic, and are seeking to bridge the divide between citizens, politicians, and municipal employees.
John: How do you generate content?
John M: Our writers are active on their own blogs and within their own communities already. They share their content with readers of Government in The Lab to help them reach a broader, global, audience. I have focused my energy on twitter as a wonderful channel for discovering writers who are a good fit for our vision, for our primary focus areas. As long as we all see mutual benefit we move forward.
John: What content do you pay for, and what content do you generate through other means?
John M: Government in The Lab began in February of 2011 and we are still running very, very lean. Translation, we do not have much money. We pay for very little of our content, the majority is shared because our writers are passionate about reaching the global community that we engage with, trying to share lessons from their worlds with others.
John: How important is SEO to the success of the site?
John M: Social media has actually been the most important channel for Government in The Lab in year one. SEO is of secondary importance today, but is becoming ever more important as time goes by.
John: How do you interact with a community?
John M: Primarily through the site and through twitter, Google+ and Facebook. We used email newsletters early in 2011 but found that it was not adding sufficient value to continue with an email strategy. I expect this to change in 2013.
John: What's the editorial strategy of the site?
John M: Share the best content, written on that day by our writers, with our community, nothing more than that today. We are an online magazine that tries to behave somewhat like a newspaper, sharing information and content as it happens.
John: Do you have stats for the number of authors, number of posts, and comments?
John M: We have thousands of registered users but only a few dozen that actively write content. In the last year we've averaged about 10 articles pre day, roughly 3500 new articles and a little more than that in terms of comments.
John: What about the future?
John M: In 2012 our goal is to increase engagement in the site, continue to identify thoughtful writers from across the globe, and try to leverage the thought leadership to bring about real change, not just to write about it.
John: Do you try to distinguish between your content and the original content, so that you avoid duplicate content issues in google?
John M: Today we put little effort to deal with the duplicate content issue and the majority of our writers do not care, they are more interested in getting their message out through other channels.
In year two we'll be able to better see if that continues and see if social media as the primary driver can work.
John: Thanks John!