When you are trying to break into the top sites on the web, the odds are indeed stacked against your success. Think about this: whilst you are trying your hardest to attract more visitors and move up in the rankings, the most successful sites may not be trying at all and yet, they are still managing to out-compete you and, as the web gets bigger, the problem has been compounding for new sites
The reason for this phenomenon is that success breeds success. This is not some glib adage; it is a truth. There are a number of ways this has been working on the web to make successful sites even more successful. Let’s take a quick look at a few of them. These are just examples and you might be able to list many more when you start to think about it.
The odds are stacked in favour of the successful because successful stuff:
1. Is found easier on Google and so attracts linking
2. Appears on related product lists, for example, on Amazon
3. Appears on popular blog lists that get propagated across the web
Natural linking occurs when people find something useful. They then might write a blog post about it or provide a link for their visitors. This happens on blogs, Facebook pages, Tweet streams and every imaginable way that a site could be recommended. Let’s take Ben Heine as an example. I recently posted an article about his work at my blog and he got a couple of free one-way links from a high profile blog as a result.
Now, how did I manage to come across Ben Heine’s work in the first place? The answer is that I was sent a recommendation from Stumbleupon. So Ben got those links because other people using that social networking site recommended his work. Don’t get me wrong, I love his work and I am glad to have found it. But the point is that you can quite easily see in this example how success breeds success.
My second example concerns Amazon who, as we know, do a great job of recommending stuff to us based on our interests. Now, supposing you have just written a great book on some subject. It could be the best book in the world about some topic for which you are the world’s foremost expert. But your book will not turn up on those lists of recommendations until it is first successful.
When your book is finally successful, the Amazon marketing machine will drive it further up the best-sellers lists by virtue of their ‘people who bought A, also bought B, C and D’ recommendations. So, again, success breeds success.
My third example concerns bloggers. Many blogs feature lists of things; like the top 50 personal development blogs on Steven Aitchison’s blog for example. What happens is that other bloggers who want to write about the top personal development blogs will go to Google and make a related search and what will they find? Steve’s article on the top of page #1.
Steve’s list of blogs is a good list even though it is arguable whether or not he has actually listed the top 50 blogs in the genre. That’s not my point. The point is that other bloggers will be influenced by his list because it appears on page #1 of Google. They will naturally write about those blogs and possibly link to the top 50 post itself (like me). The result? The post gets more firmly embedded in the page #1 Google SERPS (search engine results pages) and the blogs themselves get some links. In short, success breeds success.
Just from my examples above, I hope you can see how the odds are truly stacked against you when you are just starting out. So what can you do about all of this? How can you succeed in a web that is working in such a way as to reward the already successful and is there any hope for you?
Well, the first thing is that the web is constantly evolving and changing and I believe that today, social media exerts the biggest influence on your ability to be found. So you can compete, but you need to be smart to do so. You can’t change the web and you can’t change people, but you can change your approach to maximise the chances that other people will voluntarily help you and the key to this is to create a site that is of real value to your visitors.
If you provide real value:
- People will link to your site out of merit
- People will share your links via their social networks
- You site will rise in the SERPS
- People will find you easier and more often
- Your site will begin to appear on those top lists
And the result of all of that will be that success breeds success for you too!
There are many ways you can go about offering value to your visitors. You can do it via your writing; by providing helpful, insightful posts in your blog articles for example. You can do it by providing useful products and services and offering them free of charge to your visitors. You can do it by making your site the definitive guide for some aspect of knowledge that people are searching for – yes, you could even make it better than Wikipedia!
By the way, just so you know I am not joking, I am quite serious about making it better than Wikipedia. It would be difficult, if not impossible, for you to compete with Wikipedia across the board, sure. But, in one particular subject area, you could definitely out-compete them. When you do that, people will come to see your site as the authority site within your niche.
The web needs people who are prepared to create valuable sites for others who are searching for information. If you want to be successful on the internet, ask yourself how you can do that. Because when you become a part of this revolution, existing mechanisms will come to your aid. Over the course of time, all of those useless sites that deliver very little vale will be eventually dropped from Google’s index but your site will still be there.
Stay committed to delivering quality and eventually, you will pass the tipping point that places your site on those lists, attracts all of that natural linking and drives you all the way up to Google’s page #1.