Corporate SEO Services

Sep 21st

You would either have to be new to the industry or under a rock to not notice how the SEO industry has become more corporate over the past 3 or 4 years. The trend has been slow and gradual with many small steps, but I thought it would be a good idea to try to put the pieces together. What started off as a 5 minute project took a couple hours. I hope you like it! If you are a creative thinker you should be able to get a number of actionable ideas by thinking about how such trends will change your market.

Warning: this image is big! ~ 225KB

http://www.seobook.com/images/corporate-seo.gif

This is sorta a high level document which looks at many existing and emerging trends and how they combine to change the landscape. A lot of small businesses and small online publishers are feeling the following trend

In a recent comment on a blog post about link buying Google's Matt Cutts stated:

Personally, I believe the reason that so many people come to Google is that for the last decade, we’ve worked really hard to protect our users and return the best search results. When other search engines showed pop-up ads, Google didn’t. When every other major search engine offered pay-for-inclusion into their search results, Google didn’t. And Google has taken strong action to protect our users from spam, malware, and poor-quality sites. I think part of Google’s lead (and brand loyalty) in the search space is because we’ve taken strong action to protect our users.

Sure I think they try to protect people (and do a good job), but I never really see the bits that are inaccessible, so I don't know what I am missing. In time I do wonder if you could have too much media consolidation due to favorable reviews of "too big to fail" brand companies while smaller competitors are flushed away for using similar marketing techniques.

To the best of my ability in the above linked image I tried to explain why SEO outing is bad in how it influences the entire search engine optimization, search, and online media ecosystems. If I had to shorten it down to 3 points, those would be...

  1. Outing limits media diversity. Media plurality is important, but it is something that Eric Schmidt doesn't get. And it is often the independent types who have the editorial freedom that enables them to highlight major fraud. Some media channels are so driven by advertiser interests that they fire employees who dare to mention risks in advertiser's products. (And I would rather pay a bit more to not drink poisoned milk!)
  2. Outing harms small businesses while corporatizing the web. Historically most economic innovation has come from smaller companies. Microsoft was once a small company. And so was Google. ;)
  3. Outing drives down the earning potentials of many SEOs and will eventually force many independent SEOs into low paying in-house SEO jobs. Most societies operate on a debt-based money system where debt slavery controls many decisions. The ability to be self-employed, do what your passionate about, and operate outside of that system should be cherished by anyone lucky enough to not have a boss.

Google's Eric Schmidt claims that "brands are how you sort out the cesspool." Brands take money to build, but they are bought and sold just like anything else - only they require more capital and/or more insider connections to buy.

You know those damn bankers who bankrupted their own companies through the use of leverage and predatory lending? And then the same people lied, cheated, and looted trillions of Dollars from United States tax payers to save their companies (and pay their bonuses)?

Well they are not only leading media advertisers, but they now own a HUGE chunk of the traditional media sphere:

One wonders why Goldman and JPM were so eager to provide "rescue" financings to virtually the entire distressed media space: both companies knew too well that sooner or later they would end up with full equity control over essentially the most coveted industry: thousands of TV stations, radio channels, newspaper and magazines. If you thought the media propaganda was unbearable now, just wait.

Published: September 21, 2009

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Comments

September 21, 2009 - 7:23am

Great job Aaron!

This post shows also how you can (still) google-bomb with desired anchor if you have enough of "domain authority"

I have a problem with my first competitor in rather saturated tourism niche. His link profile is totally spammy, his website is bad, he doesn't invest in conversion optimisation, yet he is ranking for every single "sales" keyword in niche. I found out that he bought more than 900 links (out of his 1400) with desired anchor text (600 on one network solely), yet Google doesn't put penalty on him.

Now the ethical/business problem is: Do I out him, or do I play his game? I know exactly what he is doing, but will I wait until Google places penalty on him? Do I play his game (buy spammy links with desired anchor) and risk of my site get a penalty somewhere in future?

September 21, 2009 - 7:34am

There is a third option as well...you can try to compete with him by using much higher quality. I wouldn't suggest that outing or cloning are the only options. Maybe clone some of the better stuff AND try to build some links & content that he can't clone.

If he is not investing in optimizing conversions then in time you should be able to beat him out as you will have a higher visitor value.

September 21, 2009 - 8:09am

Hi Aaron. I already do that, I invested into new design, into new information architecture, optimised AdWords campaigns, started conversion optimisation process, but still, if he ranks better for around 500 killer "sales keywords" and I know he Google-bombed them, and I even calculated "loss revenue" for that, it is a bit frustrating to see how he gets away with spam :)

I will try to build some high-quality links. In the end, our strategies differentiate a lot.

Thanks for the suggestions!

September 21, 2009 - 3:43pm

Really great article Aaron. Thank you!

September 22, 2009 - 4:40am

Yeah exactly Aaron. The web is like the largest library of information available EVER. And as an example, if there were 100 books of each subject now, what Google are doing is burning 95 and keeping the 5 most authority. And I think this is damaging the internet for the future, and unfortunately cutting out the little guy.

This is similar to net neutrality, where companies wanted to take control of the web because they were not getting a cut, or making near enough as they used to from TV advertising. Looks like it is being done indirectly maybe.

September 22, 2009 - 6:03pm

"All your search traffic are belong to us" - that sums it up.

September 24, 2009 - 7:15pm

great stuff Aaron.

I get so frustrated when I hear many of the blind followers on some of the other SEO sites say outing for things like buying links will even out the playing field for the little guy. I have to strongly disagree with them. It only makes it much harder. Also, they don't seem to realize their outing master wouldn't be where he is today if he didn't use some of the techniques he's currently promoting they out. Now that he is an established Authority it's a lot easier to grow his business without doing more than a worthless daily blog post.

In the past, what made Google so great was they provided opportunity for the little guy, and the little guy is what also made them so great. I firmly believe the path they are on; rewarding the brands and killing out the little guy, will also be their own demise. We're already seeing the potential in sites like Twitter and Facebook. It’s only a matter of time before one of them gets it just right. Then, eventually, Google will be just another Yahoo! or AOL.

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