Outbrain For WordPress : Poor Related Posts Identification

Outbrain is a widget that enables you to show related posts links on your blog using their thumbnail images. The USP of the service is it’s visual appeal as opposed to plain vanilla display of the related posts. I have been using Outbrain for a while now on Inficone.

While I see decent hits from the listings that it offers, I am not entirely happy with the algorithm that it uses to find the related content. In majority of my posts, I find the Yet Another Related Posts Plugin doing a much better job from sheer content point of view. Further, Outbrain also supports listing of external content in the related posts which is enabled on Inficone. But here also I really see some arbitrary and out of context posts most of the times.

I am pretty satisfied with the look and feel of the Outbrain interface but it is letting me down wrt the selection of content. To bring the point home, do have a look at the following snapshot. It highlights both the issues that I mentioned above. The post from which this snapshot is taken is mentioning about finding free icons at IconShock. Now keeping this fact in mind,

  • Notice the related posts under <You might like> indicated by Outbrain vs the related posts that are listed by Yet Another Related Posts Plugin under the head <Related Posts:>
  • Further notice the first listing made by Outbrain which is actually for an external content ( Notice <Paid Distribution> in the thumbnail ). But how Outbrain concluded that someone looking for icons would also like to read this content goes beyond my understanding!!

OutBrain Results

If you are aware of any settings that can correct this, do share the same with us in the comments section. Also if you are aware of any good alternatives for Outbrain besides LinkWithin , do let us know. You can always submit any useful tools, web services and tips to us.





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Comments

  1. I think LinkWithin works much better than Outbrain.

  2. Hey Shivam – Outbrain CEO here. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    As you noted in your post, Outbrain is about “You might like”, whereas YARPP is about “Related posts”. One of our core algorithms focuses on related links, however we found that the most related links are not necessarily the ones readers are most interested in. Our other algorithms look at reader behavior and tailor the most *interesting* links for each individual reader on every page.

    Ultimately, our algorithms are designed to focus on CTR’s (click-through-rates) and reader engagement. On most sites using our service, we generate quite significant hits — typically much more than purely related links usually do (can you confirm or reject that based on your log files?)

    So here’s how we like to think about things..: http://twitter.com/#!/Outbrain/status/6796917471

    All that said, we will certainly look into this to make sure there aren’t any algorithm issues we need to fix here. The paid link you pointed out certainly doesn’t look right for this kind of site…

    Thanks again for the feedback. Please feel free to send me any other thoughts directly to galai[at]outbrain.com

    Yaron

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