eHow wants you to know that it’s not just a purveyor of churned-out SEO spam. To that end, parent company Demand Media has redesigned the eHow website to focus on quality content.
The redesign uses a bright-green color scheme instead of sickly blue, with colorful banners announcing the category of each featured article. Dare I say it, the website almost looks like an online magazine now — at least on appearances alone.
Of course, the site’s still going to host plenty of random junk (like “How to Eat a Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich“), but at the same time, eHow is trying to get classy with feature-length articles and a high-definition video series. Users can also vote on articles as “useful” or “not useful.”
These are trying times for eHow and Demand Media, which in January became a publicly-traded company. Google, its main source of traffic, has been under pressure to rid its search results of content farms — websites that churn out low-quality articles whose main purpose is to please search algorithms — and some of the articles on eHow certainly fall under this category. Recently, Google has tweaked its algorithm to demote content farms (although two studies show that eHow actually benefited from the change) and the search engine now allows users to block entire domains.
So it’s in eHow’s best interest to make its home page more inviting, even if the underbelly is populated with articles like “How to Understand Ukrainian Women.”
(In the interest of full disclosure and/or funny stories: A couple years ago, when no self-respecting tech editor would hire me, I squeezed by with the occasional eHow article. This was back when you could define your own topics, hence “How to Reach the Negative World in Super Mario Bros” and “How to Beat ‘Contra.’” I maintain that these articles are decent, but you be the judge.)