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David and Google Goliath
Is it possible for the small guy to ever win?
ke1th

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 4:37 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

Speaking from a specifically Google point of view. I'm sure we've all been there at some point. Looking at a site in the SERP's and wondering how it consistently has remained in its golden number 1 position?
Based on everything I know about white hat SEO which I am an advocate for, I begin to wonder if this site is using the very same methods I practice.

As an example, I see a site, notably a competitor rank number 1 for highly valuable search terms. After having a quick look at the site and the SEO techniques employed I am flummoxed as to how this site ranks not only number 1 in the organic listings but also ranks above the official site for this term AND ranks above other sites which I would deem of more importance for this term! The SEO techniques from what I can see are all very much white hat even amateur to a point and yet its ranking. Which makes me question if Black Hat SEO is being employed.
I am taking the age of the site and domain name into consideration and perhaps how much traffic the site actually has, but if thats the case however how can anyone possibly compete with a site like this!

Most of my SEO activities center around niche markets and yield the rewards we all seek, however I always think about those highly competitve terms out there and wonder if its possible for the small guy to go after the prize?

 

randle

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 5:28 pm on Mar 23, 2006 (gmt 0)

possible for the small guy to go after the prize?

Absolutely. Don't get fixated on some other site thatís up high. Take a look certainly but it just might be a simple case its one of the very early sites on that topic. Get that and your going to rank well.

Don't think about now, or even next week; it takes a long time these days to get where you want to be. Patience, hard work, and of course good quality links will get you there. Not some mumbo jumbo black hat silver bullet everyone thinks about in situations like this.

Good luck.

annej

WebmasterWorld Senior Member annej us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 1:43 am on Mar 24, 2006 (gmt 0)

The little guy (or gal) may not be able to get up there for the top word or two on a competitive topic but if your site has a lot of depth you can get to the top or close to the top on thousands of more specific search phrases.

We tend to spend most of out time trying to get our homepage to the top with one or two key words. Go for the long tail instead. Here is a thread on it.

[webmasterworld.com...]

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 10:48 am on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

The little guy (or gal) may not be able to get up there for the top word or two on a competitive topic

I am almost scared to tempt fate but apart from a period of about four months my site has been number one for a competitive single word for the last three years or more. I am a freelancer and the site is about an engineering subject. The main word is actually a four letter acronym but there are a lot of big companies chasing that number one spot.

If you ask me how I managed this I would have to admit that apart from the hundreds of hours of work that I put into it I am not entirely sure. What I can tell you is that the site is acknowledged to be a great info resource and that it has authority inbounds. I also change it regularly. It gets revamped about once a year and I think this is a factor. All of this proves that the little guy (me) can get there.

Perhaps I should qualify this by saying that the KW in question is not particularly competitive. It yields about 10M results. I think the significance is that my competition is much stronger than I am but as a "little guy" I am in total control of my site and what I do to it.

Liane

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 12:15 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have seen what you are describing many times on all the search engines ... not just Google.

The answer to your question is yes, absolutely! The little guy using "accepted" (I dislike the terms white hat and black hat) optimization techniques can definitely reach the top spots on any search engine.

As has already been pointed out, if you are amongst the first to write about a particular topic, you are pretty much guaranteed to be recognized as an authority ... at least on Google. MSN and Yahoo, not so much.

Incoming links are a huge factor over time. He who gets the juiciest links can generally win out. The best way to attain the juicy links is to write the best copy and supply really meaty content.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 12:44 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

The best way to attain the juicy links is to write the best copy and supply really meaty content.

What Liane says is very important. I started writing content for my site almost five years ago. I was quite passionate about it at that time because I felt there were few really good resources for the type of content it provided. Since then I have spent literally weeks working on the site, its content and its promotion. The position I have would cost many $$$ to achieve had I not been able to do this myself.

(I should point out that when I started I did not know **** from Shinola with regard to this business. I had to learn on my feet and I made quite a few mistakes along the way. ).

austtr

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 12:52 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

The enthusiastic positive response you are seeing need to be tempered with some checks and balances. It is very dependent on how competitive is the niche market.

There are are huge number of sites that can be classifed as online brochures and after about 10-12 pages of content, the viewer has been provided with everything there is to say. This is typical of the small guy's site in my niche area.

Sure you can add more content, but it just becomes mindless fluff created for SEO and the great Google God.

These sites typically do not grow, they do not attract high PR and do not appeal as a link partner so organic links simply don't happen. Catch 22.

It has been my experience that these sites cannot compete with the linking power and additional content added to the big affiliate sites and major directories and the get creamed in the SERP's for their primary searches.

The only way out is to buy links (now a no-no), PPC (which they can't afford) or commit every waking minute for the next 27 years to a reciprocal links campaign.

Sure there are will be success stories but you need to approach this with eyes wide open.

Skier

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 1:13 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have a little "David" site. The joy of consistently staying ahead of several directly competing Goliaths, with actual million dollar budgets for internet marketing, is the juice that keeps me going.

There was a great cartoon some years ago - "On the internet no one knows you are a dog." (Canine's comment as he sat at a computer keyboard.)

My site stays at the top of the first page. The big corporations have their own agendas for what shows on their sites - camels built by their committees. My site is tightly focussed on specific objectives. I can change my site within hours, they take three to six months to react to things.

Google doesn't know that the corporations are big and important, just as they don't know that my site is run by one guy in his den. Google simply looks at the variables found on web pages. There is no reason why I can not present my site as well as the big guys do. In fact there are many reasons why I can actually do a better job at it.

No secret SEO techniques - just the basics and time. Keep doing the right things every day, and have the patience to wait for it all to ripen. Find some more links...define each page more tightly...read your logs...think about how visitors use your site...create some new pages...repeat...

arran

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 1:33 pm on Mar 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

That's a top quality post Skier...

No secret SEO techniques - just the basics and time. Keep doing the right things every day, and have the patience to wait for it all to ripen. Find some more links...define each page more tightly...read your logs...think about how visitors use your site...create some new pages...repeat...

Ke1th,

That paragraph says it all.

arran.

bobmark

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 1:37 am on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

"Google doesn't know that the corporations are big and important, just as they don't know that my site is run by one guy in his den. Google simply looks at the variables found on web pages. There is no reason why I can not present my site as well as the big guys do. In fact there are many reasons why I can actually do a better job at it."

um ... Guess someone tipped Google off who BMW was. Kinda doubt most of us get re-instated for violations in 72 hours.

LostOne

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 12:44 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm a little guy too. After a few years of frustration wondering why I can't get a piece of the action I found that links are the key. What really suprised me is one page that gets more page views than I'd ever imagined. It's of pure original content based on my experience in the field and nobdy had written anything on the subject. I didn't write the content for search engines but rather for my readers.

Suddenly I see in my logs all sorts of related message boards linking to the page. It's the only reason I can understand the traffic it's getting. Referrals from those message boards are low, but search engines have many, many terms ranked #1. On message boards few rarely spend the time to word the link properly and just copy and paste the url. The url is rich with keywords.

Skier

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 12:59 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

um ... Guess someone tipped Google off who BMW was. Kinda doubt most of us get re-instated for violations in 72 hours.

That was an (unusual) exception to the general rule. I assume it was done manually. The norm would be an automated process for which I believe my observation still holds true.

On reviewing my earlier post I notice that I left out one very important part of my daily routine - keep reading and exploring this forum.

BeeDeeDubbleU

WebmasterWorld Senior Member beedeedubbleu us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 1:48 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

The norm would be an automated process for which I believe my observation still holds true.

Correct.

This was definitely not the norm. Google used this to generate publicity and to make a point. They defend their "no manual intervention" rule religiously. (Unless it suits them otherwise ;o)

Porter5Forces

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 2:21 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Recently Google was sue by a child-care product company for dropping their website completely without warning. I'm still wondering if the drop is done manually or otherwise.

webpro00801

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 2:28 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

We are a little guy who has stayed on top (#1 for a very broad and lucrative keyword) for a long time. I am sure it is a word that all travel companies would prefer to have and I still think that one day I am going to get the million dollar phone call or email from a large coporation. I think the key for us was an early start (1995!), having the actual keyword in the URL, and having a site that constantly changes and is updated. Once there are tens of thousands of other sites out there linking to you, it is pretty powerful, and being #1 seems to be sort of self fulfilling.

TammyJo

5+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 2:54 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Skier: Amen!

We are also a "little big man" company. David size company with Goliath size rankings. Early entry into the niche probably helped.

Our newer sites don't get ranked as high in Google (yet) (probably again because of their age). I don't like to wait, so we now buy ad space and get a piece of the traffic from the number #1 sites. This builds credibility for us and also puts our link on what is determined to be a very important site in Googles eyes, which can't hurt. Even though our sites don't rank on page one (yet) for Google, they are seeing alot of traffic from the #1 Google site in the niche.

I need to put a disclaimer on this. The site has to be a quality site, great content, look and over all resource. #1 sites won't even look at a made for adsense site or directory let alone let you advertise.

Skier

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 33607 posted 4:09 pm on Mar 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Early entry into the niche probably helped.

I think the key for us was an early start (1995!).

Yep, me too. It took many years to get well established in the rankings. I wonder if age is an under-rated variable? And - is it just simple age, or the accumulated results of work done on the site over the years?

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