Mike Grehan replied to the wide array of public criticism he received from his latest ClickZ article. In his reply he mentioned that he thought SEO moved from keywords in content to linkage data and that it was moving from links to user data.
So long as you have a channel with decent reach I think it is easier to induce end user activity than it is to induce trusted link popularity. If search engines heavily go in that direction I am so in the money.
They may want to trust user data more because it is harder for web marketers to track user data streams than link popularity, and entry costs to gain influence - in time and/or effort - exceed what most people would be interested in spending.
Mike gave this example for inducing user data:
What about, we give away a discount coupon to everyone on our mailing list (which as a large company may be sizable).
But, instead of putting a link to a promotional web page on the site, we cut and paste a link for a search on Google for brand+product. And instead of using "click here to get your token" as the call to action, we use "Just Google us and click through for your coupon."
His article is top shelf (although his Blogger template is hosed it is still well worth the effort to read).
Some other ideas to induce user data:
- write articles that are intentionally vague or easy to take in an offensive way such that it builds a controversy around your name
- create contests or other ideas that have some shifty sounding rules to create controversy
- hijack others news or ideas by turning them into a controversy to share in the limelight
- if you see viral ideas spreading throw chips in early to try to ride it out
- write posts about emerging social networks or publishing formats and business models, perhaps saying how new ones will kill old ones
- be aggressive in writing about ideas that are spreading quickly
- advertise everywhere to where your ads become so annoyingly overexposed that people end up writing about the topic
- take the contrarian view
- be outright offensive
- get sued
- create a new word or define the meaning to commonly used industry jargon
- if you are a blogger use Technorati tags
- add links to make it easy to tag your site (via Del.icio.us or Digg or Reddit)... I so need to get on the ball with that
A couple ideas I included in this blog for probably well over a year:
- Search the Search Engines for "title of my page"
- Buy the industry standard #1 ranked SEO Book. What do the search engines think? Google Search: SEO Book (#1)
One thing that is a bit of a let down is that most things that go really viral are typically ubber hyped. I like the idea of organic marketing, but the line between strong marketing and pure hype gets thin when one needs to be profitable in a competitive distributed network market...and I may eventually find myself heavily becoming a hype guy.
Not sure how much weight will end up being placed on user data or how heavily it will effect the phrase "you are not going to believe what I read today" but I am already using that phrase. ;)
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