When Google Smiles Upon You: Instructables Hits 10 Million Monthly Visitors

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As the de facto portal to the entire Internet, Google controls the fate of nearly every company that produces content. When the company rejiggered its algorithm earlier this year, we heard some stories about content farmers hurt by the changes. As happy as I am that low-quality sites are being hurt, I'm even happier that high-quality sites like Instructables.com have been helped. Instructables, a repository of guides on how to do stuff, has the flavor of the early Internet. It's very personal and many-to-many, and it's precisely the sort of site that could not have existed before the Internet.

Well, today they announced they'd hit 10 million unique visitors a month, helped to a large extent by the changes in Google's search ranking that increased the site's visibility. Their audience has grown 37 percent over the last year. It's amazing to think what some smallish code changes at Google can do to impact the shape of the Internet, for ill or, in this case, for good.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com, where he also oversees the Technology Channel. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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