I am sure I have posted about the concept of market edges before, but I am about to go away for a few days and wanted to make one last post before I went on my trip to Bonnaroo for a music filled weekend with Werty, Radiohead, DJ Sasha, Beck and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Each time a new vertical search service or content distribution type comes about it offers a quick and easy opportunity to help you boost your exposure. If you get in a market before it is saturated there is likely going to be
- less competing content
- fewer and weaker social barriers to break through
- fewer signals of quality that are usable to organize information (thus if you title / label it smartly you won half the battle right there)
- less of a requirement to be citation worthy
- larger margin per unit effort
So lets say you go to the largest auction. The only way you are going to find great deals there are if
- the competition is clueless
- there is a glut of supply that either saturates the market or prevents people from wanting to dig through the noise to find the gems
- the seller does not know how to describe the value of what they are selling
- you know a market better than the market does and can accurately predict future performance (I was bad ass at this as a kid with baseball cards)
- you think you are getting a deal, but are actually getting quite screwed ;)
You can think of search (and the web as a whole) as an auction for attention. SEO is all about maximal ROI per unit effort while using a risk level you are comfortable with.
If you take a typical low risk path and take on investors that may cost you your business.
What has prevented us moving forward is a battle with a group of minority shareholders, some of whom claim to be lead by our ex-CEO Salim Ismail and are, in any case, primarily his "friends and family." This group is using very unusual clauses in our Shareholder's agreements to block mergers or financings. We've found it difficult to determine their motives, however, some have said that they believe that it is in their interest to drive the company into bankruptcy so that they can buy our software and start a new company.
However if you can spread bottoms up stories they will provide marketing so cheap that you can't help but be profitable.
Popular sites like YouTube prove that not only that artists will give away their work for exposure, but that eventually some may even need to pay just for the opportunity to give their stuff away. Writers are going to have to be the same way. When I turned down a major publishing house I did so because I thought I would be able to do a better job marketing than they would. Part of that marketing is giving away some copies of my ebook for review, while other parts of that marketing include sharing a ton of ideas.
When I wrote a long post a couple days ago it only got about 10 links (which is a terrible short term ROI for a 30 page article) but it may have also got me a speaking opportunity at San Jose SES, which is huge huge huge.
To do well with search long-term you have to find the new markets or be willing to over-invest and realize that many of the things you do will not do much, but some of them will do much better than you think they should.
I recently ranted about blogspamming comments being a poor way to win an SEO contest. It is a technique that for the most part came and went. Especially if you are taking the time to do it manually to leave garbage comments on a blog with nofollowed comments that other people are hitting hard too.
When Google Base launched there were stories of people making $10,000 a day from it.
Most of the large web companies are trying to bridge the gap to try to find new and innovative ways to make user feedback useful.
Yesterday I spent about 10 hours looking at eBay. Did you know they have a wiki, blogs, community forums, keywords, profile pages, auctions, eBay express, reviews, guides, market research data (for $25 a month) and stores. Setting up a store only costs $16 and then the per month per item listing fee is only 2 cents.
Surely as they work on integrating all that information they are going to create under-priced marketing opportunities.
I have seen people make Amazon guides that recommended my ebook. I have seen people review other books and tell people to instead buy mine. Amazon also has tagging, product wikis, and Alexa feedback.
Again you can probably find some ways to market your site on there (by reviewing related products or creating guides, etc.).
Google is doing in-line search suggest for related popular searches. They also are providing guided categorization of travel, medical, and perhaps a few other types of search. Each time they split up their traffic on the generic terms and provide a path to more niche fields they help boost those niche markets. The framework with which they set up their categorization might be a good keys for ways to set up internal navigation or what niche sites are worth building.
Now there are a ton of meme trackers that provide free authoritative links to the quickest spreading ideas. Make sure you own a couple blogs you can link from and make sure you have a number of blogging friends on your IM list, so that when you need to spread an idea they can help give you a boost. The web is just a social network.
Not only are their meme trackers, but there are also social news sites that aim to cut the editorial costs out of running a news site. Netscape is looking to clone the Digg model, so again it is worth it to have a number of friends on the IM list.
If you just get a few blog links and a mention on those two sites you might only be a quality link or two away from being able to rank in most niche markets.
Those social news sites are also killing the importance (and availability) of blogs which aim to be first with all the news. And they are going to make it harder to get traffic to sites that lack opinion, because they are going to create tons of boring content on fairly authoritative domains.
With all these market edge type ideas am I suggesting you spam? Nope. I am just saying that at market edges there is great profit potential, and if you look to see where markets are headed and get in early on new markets you can establish a self reinforcing base with much less effort than is required to build yourself up from scratch in an already competitive marketplace. Just look at some of the junky old sites that rank in Google. Why do they still rank? Because in the past less was needed to be citation worthy.
As time passes even MSN Search will eventually get harder to manipulate (it looks like they are going to start manually editing their search results more actively).
For those people who consider all aggressive marketing as spam or for those who tie some arbitrary ethical garbage to their marketing methods, don't forget that Google is one of the biggest spammers on the web.
How does Google spam?
- Profit share partnerships with garbage AdSense sites.
- Inadequate editorial filtering of their ads such that they have even profited from ads promoting child porn.
- Accidentally making pre-releases available or listing them in their robots.txt
- Labeling everything as a beta so they can double dip on news.
- Relaunching old products as though they are never before seen offerings. Just today they duped the Washington Post into writing an article about Google's *BRAND NEW* government search when the service is actually about 7 years old. How is that anything BUT spam?
The difference between spam and good marketing is perception. Most techniques are not typically classified as spam until after people heavily abuse them. In other words, market timing and unique techniques are all you need to do to succeed, and that is pretty cool since new markets are always forming.
Have a great weekend everybody.
Gain a Competitive Advantage Today
Your top competitors have been investing into their marketing strategy for years.
Now you can know exactly where they rank, pick off their best keywords, and track new opportunities as they emerge.
Explore the ranking profile of your competitors in Google and Bing today using SEMrush.
Enter a competing URL below to quickly gain access to their organic & paid search performance history - for free.
See where they rank & beat them!
- Comprehensive competitive data: research performance across organic search, AdWords, Bing ads, video, display ads, and more.
- Compare Across Channels: use someone's AdWords strategy to drive your SEO growth, or use their SEO strategy to invest in paid search.
- Global footprint: Tracks Google results for 120+ million keywords in many languages across 28 markets
- Historical data: since 2009, before Panda and Penguin existed, so you can look for historical penalties and other potential ranking issues.
- Risk-free: Free trial & low price.