I recently took another peak at Rand's Beginners Guide to SEO, and think this is one of the most useful points to SEO (worth noting over and over again):
One Great Page is Worth a Thousand Good Pages
While hundreds or dozens of on-topic pages that cover sections of an industry are valuable to a website's growth, it is actually far better to invest a significant amount of time and energy producing a few articles/resources of truly exceptional quality. To create documents that become "industry standard" on the web and are pointed to time after time as the "source" for further investigations, claims, documents, etc. is to truly succeed in the rankings battle. The value of "owning" this traffic and link source far outweighs a myriad of articles that are rarely read or linked to.
Rand's point there is exceptionally valid. As the amount of information available increases what is link worthy changes. I am sure there will always be exceptions to rules, but in a new market a link list may be link worthy, then as it gets more established a directory might be useful, but then as it gets even more competitive people like editorial content, quotes and specific reasons why cited resources are important. Then some may eventually expect focused regularly updated channels.
While the core message of most internet marketing information sites may be exceptionally similar (containing the following ideas)
- be original
- be interesting
- it is all about the reader
it helps to come up with something that defines success on your own terms from your worldview. For example, Brian Clark recently gave a free viral copy report, trying to define viral content in the terms of a copywriter who understands blogging. It helped to add the with blogging part to his idea because Seth Godin already snagged the free viral content market position with Unleashing the Ideavirus.
Once you grab a market position it is hard to lose unless you become lazy and/or uninspired, or create massive barriers to distribution.
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