Jonah Stein wrote a very in-depth, sophisticated guest post last week about the current state of Search Engine Optimization. Our readers who do not have a strong SEO background might not have understood what Jonah was trying to say. This post is for you. :.)
Back in the late ’90s, I had a relative who was in a relationship with a guy who ran adult websites who will forever be known in our household as “Uncle Jim.” The one day I spent with “Uncle Jim” is forever memorable to me because during that time, I saw some unforgettable aspects of how he ran and monetized his business.
While we were driving around town (Los Angeles…duh), he was on his cell phone negotiating with multiple women trying to set up photo shoots. At that time, apparently, all the adult sites were stealing content from each other (which probably hasn’t changed), and he wanted to make sure his site had unique content for his visitors.
His site wasn’t a general clearinghouse for adult content…it was very “niche” (no, I won’t tell you the exact niche he was in). A Whois lookup shows that he’s still running the site today.
He promised unique content on the site and had an interesting way of generating it. He had a background in journalism and went into public areas of the Internet where people would talk openly about his “topic.” He conversed with them, drawing them out in such a way so they would talk very openly, explicitly, and (most importantly) verbosely about their experiences. He then took those conversations and used them as a basis for all his unique content.
I don’t have a clue how much search engine traffic he got back then. At that time, Google had just started, and this was an era where spamming the search engines was pretty darned easy. His “more expensive” approach to site development probably didn’t pay off for him in generating search engine traffic in the late ’90s, though he likely converted a higher percentage of those folks who found his site into paying members.
However, in 2012, Jim’s approach to website development would serve him well in the eyes of Google.
By creating his own photos and videos, and posting them to his site first, he’s assured that Google will give him the credit for authorship and not reward the other sites who rip them off, even if the other sites have stronger natural search metrics than his.
By creating unique, high-quality (relatively speaking) content himself instead of outsourcing its production, he’s assured that Google will see his site as more authoritative in his topic. Furthermore, his pages would be more likely to generate natural links, improving his search engine rankings.
By following Google’s guidelines since the ’90s (on the same domain that only he has owned since that time), he has gotten a huge advantage over the large number of sites that have cheated and been previously slapped down, or (as Jonah explored in his post) did more sophisticated techniques that have been recently devalued by Google.
Google’s algorithm now strongly favors webmasters who create and promote their websites in a “logical” way, as if the whole concept of SEO never existed. If Jim has never deviated from his ’90s web strategies, his approach has probably really paid off for him in his organic search results.
- Todd Mintz, Senior SEM Manager