Content farms and SEO are the bane of the Internet. Google is fighting it, but somehow spam results keep slipping through. In this second installment of our Founder Stories interview with Stack Exchange CEO Joel Spolsky, he talks about how SEO spam sites make the Internet worse.
For instance, Stack Overflow is the premier site on the Internet for programmers to ask and answer questions about code. But Spolsky charges that SEO spam sites just rip the questions and answers straight off the site, wrap them with some black-hat SEO magic and Google ads, and rank higher than the original page on Stack Overflow. “They took our content, put Google ads on it, and made it worse because not in situ,” says Spolsky. “They used SEO techniques to rank higher.”
This is exactly how quality content gets displaced. There are even pages about “How to ask a question on the Internet.”
Spolsky fights this by going deep with each knowledge community Stack Exchange launches. In the video segment below, he explains why “you have to go deep.” He also talks about Stack Overflow’s new Careers 2.0 product, and how simply answering questions on Stack Overflow helped one “guy wasting time on World of Warcraft” become the No. 1 user on Stack Overflow, He parlayed that reputation into a job at the company.