Peers As Portals

by Chris Bodenner

Jeff Jarvis chews over the AOL-HuffPo merger:

I was just thinking yesterday that though Aol has lots of content and plans to make a lot more, I never think to go there, apart from heading to one of its brands, such as Engadget. Portals are burned toast. Making content for search is not, I believe, a growth strategy, as the more Google becomes personalized and successfully seeks out signals of quality and originality, the more SEO will die as a black art. So to execute on its content-and-advertising strategy, Aol needs brands with engagement. Huffington Post is that. [AOL CEO] Armstrong needs someone who understands that the critical sphere of discovery for content will more and more be people: peers links, not algorithms; Arianna gets that.

But hasn't search engine optimization always been at the heart of HuffPo's dominance? Jack Shafer illustrates that eloquently:

There is no celebrity slide show beneath her tastes and no SEO trick she won't employ if it will get her traffic. As colleague Noreen Malone noted yesterday, and I tweeted, the HuffPo pulled off one of the greatest acts of SEO whoring in the history of the Web yesterday.

If you Googled the query, "What time does the Super Bowl start," the first return was a HuffPo "article" titled "What Time Does The Superbowl Start?" And lest the search engines miss the germ of what was clearly a trending question, the first three paragraphs of the HuffPo posting read:

Are you wondering, "what time does the Superbowl start?"

It's a common search query, as is "what time is the super bowl 2011," "superbowl time" and "superbowl kickoff time 2011," according to Google Trends the evening before the Super Bowl.

It's easily answered too. Super Bowl 2011 will take place on Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time and 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time.