The Web 5 Years from Now

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.

Published: April 11, 2007 by Aaron Wall in marketing


April 14, 2007 - 4:32pm

It is getting tough to keep up online and at the same time improve your niche knowledge. That hard work balance is key.

Aoleon The Mart...
April 14, 2007 - 10:00pm

Aaron are those two websites "Bluehatseo" your sites?

If they are your the Lex Luthor of the internet! Ha! (i mean that as a compliment)

April 14, 2007 - 10:52pm

I believe someone named Eli writes that site.

Russell Rockefeller
April 15, 2007 - 5:05pm

I always find it interesting to do research on current trends in SEO. Curiously enough I never bothered to try to optimize a few of my more recent sites because they are niche and brand related. Essentially anyone that would be in the market to buy our products are already aware of us. The crazy part is that I scored a first page listing on Google under mouth watering keywords for the content of these sites and never so much as created a meta tag or worked a headline in the message body. The sites are 95% flash lol. So while we should always remember to work within the parameters of whats hot in SEO this month, there is still room for web sites that do not practice search engine alchemy.

Frank Schilling
April 16, 2007 - 3:38am

I never make predictions, especially about the future. -- Yogi Berra

April 11, 2007 - 10:16pm

Very astute observation. Will need some thinking about.

Buck Dossey
April 11, 2007 - 10:51pm

As a creator of a niche social networking site, I can definitely attest to the power of the community. The strength and sophistication of the established businesses in the market will ultimately dictate the ability of community-driven sites to compete. Microsoft vs. Open Source and Encyclopedia Britannica vs. Wikipedia are two great stories at the opposite end of the strength / business sophistication spectrum. Microsoft is a much stronger and more sophisticated business competitor of Open Source technology than Encyclopedia Britannica is of Wikipedia. Microsoft has not allowed technology to make them obsolete, and thus they have been able to keep in the race. Businesses faced with this situation must ask themselves some tough questions about their commitment to remain ahead of the technology and how they might embrace / quash the community competitor.

Tonton Baroud
April 11, 2007 - 10:59pm

Oh my god ! A tool for Digg :o(

Brad Morris
April 11, 2007 - 11:56pm

Great Post!

After I read the Blue Hat SEO post today it got me a little worried about having to create large networks of sites to compete or having to compete with people creating them. But you put my mind at ease. Marketing your business responsibly, being smart, and passionate are also legitimate ways to compete. Nothing beats good old fashioned hard work.

April 12, 2007 - 5:18am

Agreed 100% with your last line -- frankly, I don't think in 5 years you'll be able to draw a real distinction between search engines and social networks.

Mitchell Harper
April 12, 2007 - 5:44am

Aaron: LOL the Digg too was done in an hour as a tongue-in-cheek thing. IT IS NOT a serious tool to determine if you get on Digg's front page. I'm not that crazy ;)

April 12, 2007 - 7:18am

Hey Mitchell, your link bait worked, so why complain LOL....j/k

April 12, 2007 - 7:52am

Hi Mitchell
But the thing is, similar copywriting software exists ( for other purposes. It wouldn't be that hard to make something like you were proposing...though largely homepage or not on Digg is more about how big your website's reach is AND how big the submitters account is.

On another note, I recently placed an article on Netscape's home page knowing 100% that it would make it, even with a fairly new account, precisely because how it was titled. It made the home page, went to #1 position within a couple hours, and then stayed at that position until the story expired a day later.

Mitchell Harper
April 12, 2007 - 8:02am

Aaron: Most definitely, and I agree. I have Glyphius installed on my desktop just to play around with it. Interesting idea. I agree that most of these sites can be gamed with a little bit of knowledge and/or trial and error, regardless of whether or not you have just registered your Digg/Netscape account.

It's a different topic but it's one thing to get massive traffic from Digg and another to monetize that traffic or give them enough valuable information the MINUTE they arrive on your blog so as to turn them from a once-off into a long time evangelist of your blog.

What are your experiences with repeat traffic after being on Digg/Netscape? Any stats you can share Aaron?

April 12, 2007 - 8:06am

Most of my Digg usage has been for one off stuff on commercial sites...not for sites that are editorial / bloggy / webby and that sort of stuff. Sometimes getting on Digg makes it easier to get on other popular channels if you make an aggressive cross channel marketing push, and sometimes Digg exposure leads to mainstream media exposure.

This site has been on Digg a few times, but they generally hate SEO, so really no point me catering to them.

bryan muehlberger
April 12, 2007 - 5:42pm

I have just began learning about SEO over the past couple of months - so I'm still a newbie and wanted to get that out in the open.

As we all know, the web and SEO are constantly changing, and will continue to evolve. Many eBooks have been written (plug for Aaron's book here - SEOBook is a great one!). But this posting got me thinking about the relevancy of anything that is written - how fast is change occuring and can we really keep up?

Dan Sisson's eBook (Google Secrets - How To Get A Top 10 Ranking), which I just read (though it was the 2004 edition), is a solid SEO book. However, it is now 3 years old - how much of that book is still relevant to SEO in 2007? There are alot of points made in the book that are still current, but some have already been discounted by Aaron's more updated eBook and postings on sites such as this.

Thoughts? Comments?

April 12, 2007 - 6:39pm

Some things are timeless (26 steps to 15,000 a day) but some things change a lot over time.

Personal experience is the best teachers. Everything else just helps set up the framework of what you experience and how you experience it.

bryan muehlberger
April 12, 2007 - 7:01pm

Agreed, hence the reason why I'm now browsing the SEO blogs ;). BTW that is a great article too!

Brandon Buttars
April 13, 2007 - 3:03am

I agree too. The social networks are taking over and blogs are everything now. What commercials sites get exposure besides the ones with hella advertising and major brand recognition.

Grégory Talon
April 13, 2007 - 11:55am

I wonder how much trafic myspace is driving from SEO...
Most of SEO optimization should be done on profil page, don't you think?


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