A Foot In Each Pond

Many sites are highly authoritative but make no money. Many sites are optimized for revenue generation, but have little authority. If you can find a way to get a foot in each pond you will make far more that most people who have both types of sites but do not combine them.

The easiest way to build authority is to either buy a site from someone who is not leveraging it, or to think about that angle before you get to big into the commercial realm (ie: build socially important issues into your marketing message or a portion of your target audience). Almost any authoritative site has related highly commercial topics which can be added to the site without risking lowering the site quality much. For example, you can rarely go wrong with topic + education.

Published: August 1, 2006 by Aaron Wall in seo tips


August 1, 2006 - 5:28am

Do you have a blog post with all your sites? The only ones I know you own are SEObook, Threadwatch, and Aaronwall.com. I'd really like to see what other sites you run.

August 1, 2006 - 5:35am

I don't think it would be to my benefit to mention all of my sites. Also I am a partner or a minority owner in a number of successful sites.

August 1, 2006 - 5:58am

I heartily agree with your statement "topic + education". This is the approach I took with my website(s) - and my blog. The websites have been public for almost two years, but the blog is a relatively new addition - just a couple of months old. I operate in a relatively small, but growing niche, log furniture and log homes. Traffic to my websites shows a strong upward trend most months, but the blog is slow to catch on.

I attribute this to the fact that the majority of my visitors are probably not your "typical" cutting-edge technology types, so RSS feeds and blogging is still a novelty to most. In addition to listing most of the log furniture and log home companies in our directory, I offer some excellent DIY or "How To" articles and tutorials. The vast majority of comments to the blog and emails I receive are from people commenting on the "educational" areas of my sites. Your "topic + education" advice is right on the money.

August 1, 2006 - 8:19am

"The easiest way to build authority is to either buy a site from someone who is not leveraging it"

Since I would be buying someone's website who is most likely a direct competitor (because I would buy a site within my own field of expertise), I would be afraid that making an offer would embolden my competitor and provide perhaps a new incentive for them to work harder on their site, now that they know there is a value to it.

In my industry, there are some great websites that draw lots of traffic, however the owners are a bit clueless as tho how to harness this opportunity. That would be my biggest fear. If I made an offer(s) and they didn't accept, that they would then even find new passion for the website because of a new found perceived value and worth and work extra hard now knowing they have something that is marketable and a site that can be commercialized greatly.

August 1, 2006 - 8:19am


On a different note (please forgive), what are your thoughts on the Israeli murders taking place in Lebanon and the Middle East right now - care to offer an opinion?

# # #

August 1, 2006 - 8:22am

That is not a relevant comment.

August 1, 2006 - 8:37am

I agree that my question is inappropriate for "this" topic, however, I disagree that my comment is entirely irrelevant.

Consider the Middle East crisis (in which the USA is complicit) becomes a global crisis - perhaps your worst nightmare - in which a nuclear exchange against Israel and the U.S. transpires - totally destroying the Internet's infrastructure and all that we hold dear here at home.

...would the comment be relevant then?

I'm not trying to be a wise-guy; just wanted to know if you had an opinion - that's all.

# # #

August 1, 2006 - 9:29am

Re "build socially important issues into your marketing message" --not sure how that applies to the average commercial site.

Could you give an example?



August 1, 2006 - 9:47am

LOL you get some "interesting comments". Your patience is a virtue. ;)

August 1, 2006 - 9:48am

Human rights, the environment, relationships (outside of this blog I do not do as well socially as some might think), religion, addiction, finance, education, lifestyle advocacy, etc.

Basically any niche where a community forms around a topic of importance to real people. It can be important for the need to survive, or it could be important for a group of people who use an idea or label to express their identity.

Just look at the comment above yours for an example. To them, that comment was relevant to this page.

August 1, 2006 - 11:05am

A little more on-topic-
I agree about the prospects of "increased quality" with regard to a combination of a commercial and authoritative approach. I think an important element of why integrating an authoritative aspect into a commercial website is successful is simply that it raises credibility.

The largest challenge with establishing authoritative information is that it is particular to product-based websites, or service specific ones. Many websites are smaller one off marketing hooks (such as micro sites), which unfortunately do not enjoy the luxury of time required to pull off an authoritative / commercial integration.

Regardless of the sites that cannot enjoy such an approach; as a rough rule for a majority of websites, it can definitely help boost quality.

August 1, 2006 - 12:18pm

I think part of the point is that nobody (nobody in the entire world!), wants to be advertised too...but it's an ugly fact of life that consumers tend to naturally apprehend.

So if you can be innovative enough to soften your pitch with something more palletable (or at least valuable) to your potential market base, chances are you'll do better financially.

Give people a good reason to be at your site, and chances are they'll stick around longer than just the purchase. That should be your first goal...

...even before you start deciding how your going to spam their email address every week.


August 1, 2006 - 7:58pm

My favorite example of a foot in each pond:

Thousands of high quality articles & a big e-commerce site.

August 1, 2006 - 9:13pm

I bought a 6-year old PR6 domain that had been left to rot. All the PR6 pages have since left Google's inventory because of disuse. Can I recreate the pages to reclaim the page rank?

August 1, 2006 - 9:56pm

Hi Richard
I think you just have to test stuff out. I have seen some stuff stick, and I have seen a number of sites get their PageRank nuked.

Hi Kevin

Since I would be buying someone's website who is most likely a direct competitor (because I would buy a site within my own field of expertise), I would be afraid that making an offer would embolden my competitor and provide perhaps a new incentive for them to work harder on their site, now that they know there is a value to it.

You will never hit a home run if you don't swing the bat from time to time. Most people that I have tried to buy sites off of have either sold the site to me, or told me no and continue to waste the vast potential they were already wasting.

Just because someone thinks a commodity has value to another person it does not mean that they will realized why it is valuable to the other person or how to leverage the site for profit.

August 1, 2006 - 10:31pm

Richard, re buying the PR6 website - I saw an interview with Matt Cutts of Google saying that they are running a new algorithm which compares owners of sites and when they see a site change then they do a PR reset. The value to Google will drop significantly. Thus, it doesn't pay to buy a high PR site for the Google SERPs. That said, you will still have thousands of incoming links that will give you traffic and you will proably still keep your ranking on Yahoo and MSN (as if anyone actually uses MSN anymore...)

August 1, 2006 - 11:18pm

I hope what Brian B. saw was a mistake. Maybe it's just me, but resetting the PR when a site changes hands is just plain stupid.

Let's say I have a plumbing business, and I sell it to my son or star employee before I go. Does that mean the business' credibility is worthless to my customers? Hopefully not. Otherwise it isn't a true business, it's just one guy w/ poorly fitting pants that knows how to unclog a drain.

A quality businessperson places systems and processes in place that should allow smooth operations without their presence. They would also hire quality talent that should be able to assume the operator's responsibilities at some point. Unless Google is going to start in-depth investigations as to who is buying the site...

Resetting PR and making a site start from scratch when it has already proven to its relevant markets that it is a valuable resource just shows Google's algo guys may be getting a little too full of themselves in tracking down those influencing the SERPs.

How about sending all those PHDs out to run a lemonade stand for a week or two and see how businesses are run?

August 2, 2006 - 12:22am

if anyone actually uses MSN anymore

I know I make thousands of dollars a month from MSN searchers.

August 2, 2006 - 5:07am

Thanks for the tips guys. I paid just the registration fees for the domain (the original owner moved to a new domain and just let this one expire) so I'm willing to be patient with it to see if I can regenerate the original PR.

I purchased it on a whim since it was so cheap. How often does Google refactor PR?

August 2, 2006 - 9:53am

i just find best seo website,here is url:www.foryou-seo.com.
you can get more info about seo.

August 2, 2006 - 2:03pm

if anyone actually uses MSN anymore

Not only is the level of traffic pretty good, but if you look around in adcenter, the demographics are pretty good. I market some higher-priced products in a particular niche that requires more money than the average bear. MSN drives around 25% of my traffic (twice their typical comscore share) and 33% of my sales for those products.

August 2, 2006 - 3:24pm

when they see a site change then they do a PR reset

Now you have to be careful believing something like that - yes, if the domain name is sold (ie the whois details change) and the content is wiped and a started over, then they are going to conclude its a different site that happens to have an old address; they may well nuke the PR.
But if the business owning the site changes hands (and the whois changes) but the site continues, then why would they remove the PR? Nothing changes.
Likewise, if a contact employee leaves and is replaced, the whois details will change - but nothing will happen to the site.
Don't assume a blanket wipe there - its more pliable than that

August 2, 2006 - 6:37pm

I have to admit, that this post has taken so many turns down the page, that I'm not quite sure where you were going any more Aaron, except that you seem to be in a playful mood today.

I just wanted to say that I think you were right on with "authority and revenue" comment. Finding that proper mixture whether you've boughten a site and are developing from that base, or whether you have your own such as I do, where I'm trying to build a niche in areas I know and am familiar with. I've found that having multiple pages on a given subject does much better in the search engine rankings that just having one (the authority portion I guess) and once you have a few pages in the genre your after, the pages I've found seem to climb on their own after that.

Also just wanted to say, that I don't post here much but it's definately at least a weekly stop here for me and love the information you've provided over a large span of time. I would say you've become quite the "authority" on SEO

PS...I don't think about the middle east any more than I have to these days. Too much hate in the name of Islam or what ever for me :O)

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