Peter Kafka recently pondered the state of the publishing industry - what does it say about a publisher when they create mindless search-driven content such as "What Times Does The Oscars Start?".
While many would consider this mindless content evil, I'm not convinced that this is the case. In a digital medium, the cost of wasted ink is generally so low that it can be ignored all-together. I don't believe any publication would want to give these link-bait articles serious homepage real estate. But there is little tangible harm in publishing a piece of boring, informational content.
This shallow content does little to build a brand image or reputation. But every click is an impression, an opportunity to make a penny or two and to build a broader experience. Once someone is on the publisher domain, they can be served more relevant, quality content recommendations from the publisher's more beefy content.
Is SEO-driven journalistically-empty content really an evil? This cat-and-mouse game of search optimization is our new content reality. Let the smartest publisher win.