Using SEO to Generate Assets

For me, SEO is about asset creation. Whenever we work with a client site, we treat it like an asset. In short, the site is never treated as an item that we could potentially throw away. Once you start thinking this way, you become risk averse.

But that is not the only thing that happens. You begin thinking about who the leaders are in your space, and how you can become one of them. Of course, your goal maybe to become THE leader, but if you are just starting out, becoming one of the leaders is a start.

This is a mental shift from what I see with many people who publish web sites. Some of them may feel like it is difficult to become a leader in their space. Perhaps they don’t have the time or energy to invest in it, or they don’t believe in themselves enough.

Of course, there are several different ways to slice the pie. Seth Godin details these in his recent post The Long Tail and the Dip. For example, you can try to become the #1 player. Very difficult to do, as there can only be one who achieves this status.

You can become a niche player, and still be a leader. Definitely more achievable, as most spaces have many niches. Finally, the third segment detailed by Seth is the long tail. This Seth defines as making a small margin on a huge range of products.

Regardless of the scenario you choose to pursue though, you need to somehow attract attention to what you are doing. In any of these scenarios, that still requires establishing yourself as one of the leaders.

So how do you establish leadership? The devil is in the details of your space, but it will always involve recognizing ways that you can excel, and ways that you can make that visible to people. In the SEO game this relates to your link building strategy. Regardless of whether you are chasing the head, the vertical niche, or the long tail, invest in content, tools, unique concepts, or whatever it takes to make that link building strategy a piece of cake.

Otherwise your position is tenuous at best, and not likely to last.


  1. says

    Taking this a step further – do you recommend segmenting your link building strategy towards the head or the long tail, based on PR?

    Intellectually, the quality over quantity approach makes a ton of sense; however the reality is that I can secure many, many more PR 3-5 links than 7-10. In your experience, is there a rule of thumb in terms of how many PR 5’s it takes to equate a PR7 (all else being equal)?


  2. says

    Hi Rich – From a pure PageRank perspective, given that it’s a logarithmic scale, you could argue that it takes 100 PR5s to equal a PR7. However, there are scaling factors that Google applies that could affect that significantly.

    Even so, there is one aspect of this that quantity can’t make up for – and that is trust. Any domain that is a leader in its space will be definition have a certain amount of linkage from other leaders in the space.

    If you don’t have that, then you don’t have their trust, and you don’t get Google’s.

    So ultimately, my view is that you have to strive for the high end links, and that’s what we do with our sites. However, you have to go with what makes most sense for you.

    Regarding the long tail vs. the head, I think you still want to be a leader in either case, and therefore I don’t think of that as a factor in link building. Well, it does change the messaging, but not the targets.

  3. says

    Hi Eric,

    Back again as you inspired me to run a Page Rank distribution for link opportunities across a sampling of 50k unlinked pages we’ve identified for customers. The full distribution is below and, as expected, many are low – 67% are less than PR5.

    Assuming you could easily chop the low PR sites, would it be interesting to an automated list of link opportunities that followed this Page Rank distribution or is it easier to do on your own?

    PR (%of total)

    10 (0.01%)
    9 (0.2%)
    8 (1.0%)
    7 (3.4%)
    6 (10.0%)
    5 (18.2%)
    4 (23.9%)
    3 (20.3%)
    2 (13.6%)
    1 (9.4%)

    I can send graph if easier for you to grok

  4. says

    Hi Rich – there is nothing wrong with the lower PR links. You just should not spend a lot of effort obtaining them. I would not get hung up too much on managing the distribution of the PR either. No search engine can rightfully tell you not to market your site, and the best targets, even if no search engines existed, are most likely very high PR sites.

    What we do is implement something relatively scalable to market to the lower end sites because those links do still have value, and implement serious campaigns focused on the higher end sites. This has proven to be very effective for us.

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