In 5 years the web will not look like it does now. 5 years ago cheesy thin topical directories were linkworthy and serious webmasters voted for them. If your competitors are outranking you based on
- having a more well known brand
- earlier market entry
don't think that you are going to catch them and beat them and STAY RELEVANT by only replicating their links and doing what they are doing. People are creating large networks to try to take down competing sites. People are writing software to estimate the probability of a community liking something.
If you don't have enough time to compete on the industrial strength SEO front you can still win by being real and evangelizing your topic.
In a few years your biggest competitive threat might not be a direct competitor. It might be a person who loves your topic and just happens to have stumbled into business by selling ad space. Ignore the social aspects of the web at your own peril.
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