When I started learning the site promotion techniques (SEO) I got trough many phases. One was an astonishment of the mere existence of the business and the way it is done.
Other was the amount of work it takes and how Internet sites turn profit (I was really shocked to find out the reason behind all of those detailed blog posts and how-tos that I was using for years!).
Then, I found out the size of competition in the business.
I mean look at the forums and the social media! The amount of articles, presentations, books, graphics,videos and just web sites, Is overwhelming! How can you enter this game at all?
But now I know how!
Business competition is weak! This was partially covered in my twitter related post but looking again at the whole situation I found that actually, the competition is not great, or at least not successful enough.
And here is why:
A note. This concept is developed as a consequence of Matt Cutts video about about social media ranking factors and follow no follow consequences
The whole site promotion, for whatever reason is a big area, and no one can really do all of it. I try to establish an online services kind of business. Meaning, no physical visits to the customer, all parts have to be done in remote.
So dealing with this competition segment alone, here are some definitions that I can think of:
Lets start with the easy one – the indirect competition. Those guys are usually bigger companies which already established their target audience and customer base and mostly they offer solutions that allow companies monitoring their SERP success. Or they offer some kind of other business to business (B2B) deals.
They build links and target social media in order to maintain presence and show that the do actually know what they are talking about. The reason they are competition at all, is due to their vast presence in search engine results and they are unintentionally but knowingly taking attention away from people that do Services rather than products.
The direct competition – people that would do services for other businesses or web site owners in general. This involves setting expectations (customer project boundaries) and managing the customer’s SERP success.
Those guys (Myself included) are desperate for attention of their prospects, they try to localize their business for customer search but they need to show presence world wide when they need build links and general presence in google. Another way to define my competition – look for “SEO” in keyword planner and filter it by monthly searches volume. Searches under 200 are all targeted by these guys. I think this is the only area where the targeting exceeds the search quota.
Link building strategy is simple at first glance – build as many relevant pointers to your web site and you get a spot in top 10. But in second glance you find other aspects: follow no follow and their ratio, anchor text, places they appear, frequency and more and more. Each deserves its own article. (Actually each has thousands of articles. Because of this, terms are not going to be explained on BizProg.)
Those are mostly technical terms and I suggest looking it up but not going too much in depth. Many “professionals” relate them to their magic formulas and those will suck your soul.
So link building is their strong side. Here are some examples of what is done:
- Power point presentations
- logo directories
- General motivation images
- Articles written simply for keyword targeting purposes
- Commenting with links and loooong statements
All of those are just a small sample of what is done, the amount of work invested in them is huge and scary for some one like me, as I do not outsource my PR because this will slow down my learning curve + my project does not involve a budget practically at all.
But now I’m much less scared!!!
Now here comes the catch. Real link building for a competitive field is very hard. You will be lucky if you build one meaningful link in 2-3 days. What the competition does?
They go the easy way – Social media! Now as I said earlier this whole idea exists because of Matt Cutts (Google Anti spam representative) comment on social media:
it does not effect your ranking and the amount of shares is a mere correlation and not causation of anyone’s popularity.
What you get from social media is traffic – someone sees your post and clicks to find out more. That is all. But look at the effort invested in those groups! The list above includes specifically items that require time and effort + they have to be unique for every place.
I see many wrong parts and I will sort the main ones by severity – low to high:
*a note – I have sinned too, this critique applies to myself as much as to anyone else
Location Location… you know :).
The vast part of sharing and posting is done in SEO related groups. It looks like chat roulette – where a bunch of naked guys are looking for a girl that is willing to actually participate in whatever they have in their minds.
In other words – a bunch of people simply spamming each other. The best indicator for this is the amount of liking that goes on there. Take google + for example – if there is a +1 there will be comment from the same person that liked the post with a link to his own masterpiece!
Same goes for Facebook and twitter twitter. In Pinterest this is the most shameful group. Compared to other groups, the amount of sharing can be counted as negative!
I completely understand the value of posting for rankings, and since everybody here knows how search engines work – you need to have ‘unique everything of all kinds’. So people create motivational bog posts, informational ones (like mine), Images, Infographics and what not. Most of those require a lot of time. Some require money.
All of those are actually for nothing – because the location and the influence of social media basically make the effort useless. I would even call it stupid in most cases as the ROI is 0 (Zero) and people that deal professionally with conversion rates should know much better!
What is it for?
This is the most important part imaginable. As a business – having customers is a must. Everything else is secondary. The guys above spend great effort to rank better in natural SERP results. They dream being the top 10 and by thus the customer flow will never end. So all of this for getting customers an consequently profit??? If customers are the most important thing, why not spend effort on actually looking for them, contacting them directly, going to local business conventions and many more other choices?
Personally I would prefer to have a customer now rather than sitting on my hands, profitless, and hoping that someone is looking for my services while I’m in google’s mercy to be found.
As a lesson from all of this, I take the following:
For SEO articles, case studies and posts like this- My social media sharing will be done only once per article on FB and G+. Twitter will be done only for updates of really small stuff.
Articles that can bring value to people outside of this line of business will shared in target groups only – like my android article, it was shared on #android in various places and actually brought traffic to this site.
Shift the focus for my every activity – the services landing page will be written in terms that everyone could understand. I will develop customer attraction techniques rather than spamming everybody in hope that someone is actually paying attention.
I speak 3 languages. I think that my non-English landing pages might not even link to article sections as they are not for customers but for colleagues in general and so they shall remain.
I know that this article might bring a disagreement among many, comment and let me know what’s up
Thanks for reading!