|Social Factors - the End of Most Intelligent Content On The Web|
I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERPS, and I'm quite stunned, in part as a business and also as a search consumer.
This is the single most evil thing I've seen in terms of its impact, if in fact social signals (in essence a measure of POPULARITY, not quality) play anything but a minor role in SERPS.
As social factors increase in importance, the point of creating original, thought leading, anything OTHER than simple mass content is removed.
The reality is that social media is a popular medium focuses on people (not a bad thing in itself), rather than content. The vast majority of the best and brightest in terms of subject matter experts in many niches, simply are NOT spending time pushing their ideas on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN. They, in fact, we if I be a bit presumptuous, have better things to do with our time. Nothing wrong with social but if popularity (number of tweeted links/likes) is a deciding factor in ranking, those creating the best content in terms of "thought value" simply won't show up.
Apart from the fact that I've spend 15 years creating original content (I mean original, not some sad recast of what everyone else is saying), in print -- articles and books, and online (free, mind you), and that may now be worthless to me, it means that in my role of "content curation" (ok, finding and linking to the best content) is done.
There is now very little incentive to publish new ideas and thoughts to move fields forward, not only because it's hard to monetize, but because no one will see it because it won't have "buzz".
I work a lot with government, and have long wanted to open up a website on the topic, and have grabbed a few domains I might want to use. Now, there's no point.
If you look at social media, for example, what you will find is loads of stuff including the key word government from upset citizens, the political right, and so on....essentially contentless or worthless if one's interest is helping people understand government.
Finding the best content in niches from true authorities (scientists, academics, book authors that don't get buzz) has become harder and harder, and now the curation role is cooked.
And the kicker is, not only is content not king, replaced by "popularity", but the spamming of the SERPS and the pollution of an already polluted social media environment can begin aforce.
It's a trivial technical exercise to tweet every second on something, to vary the tweets, in order to boost SERPS. I have tools to do that, and they are openly available. I don't use them except to post occasional automated tweets for things I think are valuable and always spaced far apart.
Why shouldn't I just go completely black hat and do that?
If that's what it takes to be found, I won't do it, and not only that but there would not be any point in using the Internet anymore, EXCEPT to socialize.
I'm seriously stunned here. I hope I've got this wrong, but not only has Google crushed businesses like mine that trade in ideas and content, it has the potential to significantly damage the society at large by LIMITING (unintentionally) the spread of the very information that runs the economic engines of this planet.
I'm thinking that of course, social indicators will be only a part of determining SERP's, so the effect hopefully isn't as absolute as it could be.
Finally, perhaps this social factoring explains why my sales have gone to zero, my adsense income has disappeared, and what I worked to build is now almost useless to me, to those in my niches, and to the larger world.
Someone, tell me I've got this all wrong.
I have been doing pretty well on the social front and my pages are liked and tweeted more than other competing pages that outrank me after Panda! So, where is the social Google or what is Google social?
|Honestly, I don't get it however I think that's because we don't have interaction with the end consumer, all my stuff is generally boardroom level b2b. |
That's really interesting because a lot of the case studies in social computing texts refer to relationships between board members.
I believe that the user engagement theory is much better than the social theory that some (including popular SEO sites) seem to be floating. And we all know how many pages one has to click through before downloading or buying any product from websites of big brands and google seem to be loving it when people take tours on websites.
|Marketing is king. Always was, always will be. Content was just one way to achieve marketing purposes, and even that's coming to a close. |
A totally in-the-bullseye observation.
There is website development as we want it: "Content is King"
And there is website development as it exists in 2011: "Marketing is King".
Whether this is good or bad is irrelevant: It IS and for the foreseeable future, will continue to be. The movement of the cyberworld is a collective force, or gestalt, that is going its own way, and like a windstorm hitting a forest, some trees will fall. Some of those fallen trees will be very beautiful, but the wind cares not.
IT IS NOT.
In the final analysis content will always be the king. In the short term others factors may apply.
CoachM has given up and that's the action of a loser. No ifs and no buts, he has given up as far as Adsense is concerned and that's a loser.
Be a winner. Look at the positives, concentrate on them and be a winner.
|That's really interesting because a lot of the case studies in social computing texts refer to relationships between board members. |
<heck here I go slightly off-topic again but it is relevant, I think>
Possibly that may be so at a corporate level of really big companies however my trade is one where generation after generation tend to be in charge, for instance I'm the 7th generation in my company with the 8th already working in it and the 9th born a couple of years ago.
Many of us in the trade have known each other for years, I personally worked at suppliers' factories in the late 60s/early 70s during my apprenticeship in Germany, India, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
The point I'm making is that I don't "need" social tools to contact my opposite numbers, I'm in contact with them as much as they need by phone/e-mail/text.
However I do feel that as a business we may be missing out on getting others to promote our brand and products, just how we do that is the conundrum for me...well, without throwing lots of money around and getting nowhere fast, or even worse being successful and not knowing what it was we did that made the social side take-off.
Answers on a postcard please:-)
|to add insult to injury, they may be doing with your content |
Yup, and Panda is rewarding a lot of content thieves these days instead of the content creators.
That is not just a marketing problem, that is a serious, systemic justice issue. Ranking well for a relevant search term is some of the best link bait there is, and when Google bestows that advantage on the thief, it's a major disincentive for the content originator to produce more.
That's not exactly the same as the OP's point but it's related.
No one is saying nomis5 that having good content is unimportant ~ it is obviously crucial to the success of any online enterprise. But in the Age of Panda, great content without building multiple traffic streams is an exercise in futility, like having a fabulous storefront & product line on a narrow side road where no one ever goes.
Not too long ago that "store" got adequate traffic from Google because their great content was recognized on the Google "SERP map". Now, Google has essentially removed our metaphoric store from the map, and the store owners are seeing their income shrivel up to nothing. That is happening at an unprecedented rate to really excellent sites. I'm sorry to say that with Panda, any independently owned small biz website, even one with great content, must either market or die ~ that is Web 2011.
The result may very well be the end of much of the intelligent content on the web, and no one should be surprised at that ~ the same thing happened with television (there is a reason that Newton Minow coined the phrase "vast wasteland"!).
The lesson? Create great content, and develop a level of competence in online marketing that goes well beyond anything that we may have thought necessary pre-Feb 2011, because one without the other will most definitely no longer work.
What's missing from the many good points some are making is the degree of relying on non-content signals and the sudden change without any clear communication from Google. And then there's the reliability of measures. Now you can argue that they will be refined over the months...but one can argue that maybe less emphasis should have been placed on x or y until they are sorted out. Not cut the traffic by 50-60% and then 3 months later give a clue on new things that might give you some of your traffic back in 3-12 months, if you do what the new algo expects you to. Why couldn't Matt Cutts say this 3 months ago? Or the 'delete your shallow pages and don't overload with ads or else...'. Too many ads may be common sense, but shallow comes in shades.
Obviously Google has a right to do and if they didn't tough luck, take it up with your senator. But if they say make your sites for user, add content this and that we have a right to question if the changes really reflect what they say.
And everyone used /uses links, not everyone today uses Twitter.
PS. Three of my sites without a single tweet or mention in FB increased drastically (one 50% this week alone) so there's more to it, a lot more. There are not bad sites at all, they have exactly what users want and that's what I advertise in the title. But, I would not complain if Google hit them with a 60% drop instead of my better site that I work on many, many hours a day.
Netmeg, I'm a bit disappointed in your response in particular because I have always read your posts with respect.
First, I've been on WebmasterWorld for a very long time in various incarnations, and we usually agree. I'd guess that in the many years here I have NEVER made a whining post, and it's sad that what you think I'm saying which you comment on in your ten points, has almost no relation to what I've intended to convey. I'll take the blame on that for not being clear, I guess the thread title isn't enough to help people focus.
It's clear to me that other posters here, often those expressing disagreement with me haven't read what I wrote. It's kind of laughable when people quote the first 6 words in a sentence, then comment as if the other 10 words, which they cut off, didn't actually exist. And, maybe a bit scary.
From some of the responses, it's clear there are some who can only think "money", because, I presume, that's what drives their involvement in the Internet (which is fine), but the mistake is to assume that all of us are so driven. Many of the better content providers are not. In fact some of the best material I've found comes from sources providing it without any real chance of making money.
I'm glad my post has stimulated so much discussion, but I think I'm done, and for essentially the same reasons that would apply if I stop developing content for the web.
Perhaps there will be more intelligent content on the Internet, but right now I can't find it, and there's no incentive to create it.
For those who live and breathe marketing, and social media, and SEO and all that jazz and that's how you make your bucks and what turns your crank, good on you. Those are actually somewhat well served on the Internet in terms of quantity and even some quality (WebmasterWorld is a good source). Then again, there are the competitor sites that are popular but contain NO valid information.
For those that think life might be a little more (brain-wise) than connecting, liking, retweeting and skimming junk articles and posting articles so you'll get liked, even if there's nothing in them, you and I will never "Get" the same thing.
To Netmeg: Perhaps that is the issue about me "not getting it". It's possible you don't "Get" the idea of creating ideas of value that make people think, while not wasting one's time Liking some other fool's crap.
Over, out, enjoy your noodle.
coachm, don't go. I don't know your site or you but you made a few great points and you know that is human nature for some to gloat on other people's misfortunes (serves as validation--in their mind--that they are better) and to be somewhat irrational for others when they are bit :).
Contrary to what some say, I have researched my niche and Google has done a MAJOR consolidating of serps with Panda 2.0-2.1 to only a handful sites despite content not being any better but based on site-whatever-they-call-it. It's the same stuff that made some sites with many back links, bought or given as "Software by...") rank for everything in the wild PageRank days. Original Panda was a lot more based on content, other Pandas are mob rule as far as I can tell.
This may have happened to you, I now it has happened to me. Google has a habit of going back and forth, turning a knob here and there and that may happen. I seriously doubt that Google wants to eventually kill 1000 sites just so 10 sites get an extra 4 million visitors when content is the same, at best. They dealt with the backlink issue and hopefully will deal with the social crap. I see many blogs ranking 100 word posts and only because they 'talk about it' by p*mp*ng each others posts on Tweeter.
It always takes resources to create quality. Those resources might come from a financial return on investment, it might be that someone has a fat cash stockpile, or they've found a benefactor - maybe they won a MacArthur Fellowship. And quality always needs marketing to find its audience - always, unless the creator is happy with being discovered posthumously, and even then, only through luck.
There is quality content on the web - for example, I'm thinking of the TED seminars. They are marketed. They have a social presence. They have lot of money and other resources involved. People who appreciate quality do exist, and they do help to spread the word. But the creator also needs to get the ball rolling.
Other visions of life on earth are not grounded in our actual human situation. Those visions would be something like that big, "free" rock festival I attended in Bethel, NY back in 1969.
|Other visions of life on earth are not grounded in our actual human situation. Those visions would be something like that big, "free" rock festival I attended in Bethel, NY back in 1969. |
My God, you're as old as me. I didn't think anyone was as old as me. ;)
Google is going to do what is best for Google. If that means Tweets and Facebook posts, we can complain, but that won't change anything. Some niches are a more natural fit than others for the big social media sites.
I have (according to Google, not according to me) hundreds of thousands of links from forums in my niche. I've been very active on these forums over the years. After being Pandalized in February, I was concerned that the massive number of links may have hurt me. Now I'm wondering if they might be helping. I don't know.
It looks to me as though no sites are going to get their old rankings back just by virtue of making a few changes. Sites like mine will require extensive writing and new content, just like it did when I started it in 2004. If I have to hang out on forums more often, or try to hook up on Facebook, so be it.
That said, I'd like to put a noindex for Googlebot on every page of my site.
That's a very good point Tedster.
But let's go to a real life scenario: You have a small hardware corner store and somehow sell the same set of screwdrivers for $10 (it's possible to do that now online,) at least the same price or even less than Home Depot.
Now most people naturally may go to Home Depot because of...but why should an entity that controls 65%-95% of the internet traffic tell me close to 100% of the time go to Home Depot, not to Tedster. Sure Tedster can go to a different town and carry people to the store with a free bus ride and other things, but why is someone cutting off your normal traffic simply because you don't spend $1 Billion a year in advertising.
I can understand when a 15 year old kid gives "heart attack advice" or sells something that 'cures cancer,' or sites with atrocious customer service, and that maybe certain sites deserve an extra boost, but so far as to picking winners and telling the rest good luck, if you hold for a year or two without the major source of 'free traffic' you may get back. Unless we change it again (which they will).
If Google had 15% of market share very few would care, this is totally different.
Given coachm's last post above ..I sent him ( I think coachm is a "he" ) this "sticky" ..I'm presuming its OK, to post it ..( I suspect many of us view current "social media" in the same way I do ..as something which we hope will pass ..but , that as one takes cover , or sells umbrellas when its raining ..one must deal with the existence of it )..
I do hope that was not your last post ?
You are one of those whose "nick" says "read this , it will be interesting and or helpful" , if you stop posting it will be my and WebmasterWorld's loss.
I tend to agree in large part with your sentiments in that thread, hence my comment ( tongue in cheek, and I presume missed by many, irony seems to escape many of the newcomers here ) on the poster who thought he was in a position to comment on your grammar , vocabulary or spelling ..He is indicative of the instant experts one finds on facebook , twitter or demand media properties ..
Ironically Martini buster linked to an article today in which a writer who has written 3 articles at $3.50 per article for ehow was recounting her experiences of the demand media machine.. [readwriteweb.com...] s_like_to_write_for_demand_media.php ..again the part which struck me as ironic was that she was told to write on subjects she knew nothing about, ( demand media standard procedure ..and it shows in ehow content )..she found it perfectly acceptable to present herself as an expert, after having merely skimmed articles by others on the subject ..but her "report" on "scroll down", is full of other demand media "experts" comments, saying, that on the basis of only having written 3 articles, she is not in any way qualified to write on the subject of writing for demand media ..whilst apparently seeing nothing wrong with themselves being paid by demand media, for writing, in some cases thousands of articles, on subjects that they too know absolutely nothing about, and have no experience whatsoever in the subjects that they write about..
My advice..facebook will reach critical mass at around 1 billion accounts, and then implode..and companies will realise that letting such a large part of their business depend on the whims of yet another online mega company, is not very clever, and they will scale back as Zucky gets greedier and they see less ROI.
Meanwhile the rest of us ( a substantial number ) will acquiesce grudgingly ..open accounts there merely to prevent others posting with our names ..and bend in the stream like reeds in order to be still standing when the reality TV social media double figure IQ deluge has passed ..
How ..by ignoring, as I have always done, search engines when it comes to linking out ..and linking to what I consider quality , or sites that I respect, or admire, or find interesting etc..and always linking with "follow" ..the internet works around or reroutes around obstacles ..it will also work around large blocks of mainly garbage content that are stuck in the middle ..it will just take a while ..
Search engines which promote garbage ..will cease to be used by those who don't want it ..your audience will find you again ..just hang in there 'til the fog clears and they get tired of wading through the crap.
joepublisher produced an interesting post on this recently ..[webmasterworld.com ] his second post in that thread..
Inspite of the fact that "social media" can indicate some trends..
Linking and liking should not IMO, carry equal weight ( although of course any search engine is free to do as it wishes )..a link requires some effort and judgement ( and sometimes money ) to make ..and frequently knowledge of the subject matter one is linking to..so one links ..
A "like" is a single action that can be ( and unfortunately usually is ) done without thinking and with no knowledge on the subject one is "liking"..same applies IME to tweets ..both are largely useless metrics of quality..because they carry no real engagement by the person "liking" or tweeting...so they should be weighted by search engines, to reflect this.
Surely Google was founded based on social factors, tho only links at the time, and not called "social". Plenty of issues with this, so could be lousy sites surging to the top.
Now, more complex; and yes, for Google - and others - need to figure how to weight links, and Likes, and tweets... How to determine authority Likers, rather as authority sites for links, and so on.
For all tv has American Idol etc etc - producing winners that soon hardly anyone cares about - still some outstanding material, like The Wire, Mad Men.
Hopefully, web will remain similar to this.
Important for Google to figure ways for people wanting strong content to find it, and to ensure people find it worthwhile working to create good content: even those without powerful marketing. And, yes, not take long in doing so; just as coachm's posts would be missed on this forum, so would material by hard working content creators on the web.
An earlier post suggested a version or two of Google, with differing amounts of social factors. Already get offered Images, Web, News; so Google could likely come up with SmartSearch or WhatTheMobLikes.
|Now most people naturally may go to Home Depot because of...but why should an entity that controls 65%-95% of the internet traffic tell me close to 100% of the time go to Home Depot, not to Tedster. Sure Tedster can go to a different town and carry people to the store with a free bus ride and other things, but why is someone cutting off your normal traffic simply because you don't spend $1 Billion a year in advertising. |
If you have a hardware store, you could have a facebook page and tweets. People may got to home depot because they get emails, coupons, tweets and facebook updates - its easy to see what is on sale. If the hardware store doesn't want to do that, well, that is their own fault.
Simply being open doesn't mean you will be successful
Simply being online doesn't mean you will be successful as well either.
A good local hardware shop would have their vertical supervisors participating online. The garden shop manager talking about spring garden updates, the hardware manager talking about DIY jobs so on and so forth..
Treat the web as you would treat your customers.. that is all.
There are so many ways you could automate the distribution of content and make it appear to be curated while still just participating in the social ecosystems that align with your industry.. any good marketing company could do this for you, but it wouldn't be hard to expect company participation from key players to make it so.
|A good local hardware shop would have their vertical supervisors participating online. |
I can assure you that everything you're describing would be a complete waste of time for our local hardware store. Nobody in this town is going anywhere near the hardware store as the result of something online, nobody is going to follow them on twitter, nobody is going to friend them on facebook.
Another example of social media fail. Many, perhaps most, businesses will do nothing as the result of social media. Social media's good for some verticals, that's all. Outside of that, do it to game the rankings.
Everyone's on board because it's cool and people in boardrooms are too clueless to determine if there's any money there. Start tying bonuses to sales made based on social media, and a lot of companies would stop twittering/facebooking in it's tracks.
|If you have a hardware store, you could have a facebook page and tweets. People may got to home depot because they get emails, coupons, tweets and facebook updates - its easy to see what is on sale. If the hardware store doesn't want to do that, well, that is their own fault. |
They do it but Home Depot does it 100 or 1000 times as much in Facebook, we're talking about Google using the signals. No one is mad if Home Depot emails people or sends them a coupon. Are they 100-1000 times better and do they 'deserve' all the traffic? I used a specific example to show how relying on certain factors is wrong on so many levels and someone did it in 'real life' first people would ask: are they making money in any way from sending people only to Home Depot it and that's not right so let's look into it. Google controls as much as 95% traffic in Europe.
|Social media's good for some verticals, that's all. Outside of that, do it to game the rankings. |
If I need a plumbing part, I'm going to my local hardware store and I could not possibly care less what they do with social media ~ I just need to get the water running. If my local folks in this small town don't have that part, then I may search for it, and again, I'm not looking for any commentary. All I want to know is: (1) Where can I get it? (2) How fast can I get it? (3) What does it cost?
So if Google is going to feed me results for hardware stores hundreds of miles away that have brilliant plumbing parts managers who can effortlessly elucidate each & every day on the joys of PVC piping, then Google has failed me.
In earlier posts it was said that Google needs to break it's search into multiple parts. I'd be perfectly happy if they'd simply re-design their query box to provide multiple search options, so users could refine the results to best fulfill their own needs:
[_]Include Social Media
[_]Include News Stories
I wish they'd forget about their nonsensical "we want to know what you want even if you don't know what you want". It's insulting. Maybe it is time to assume that their users can think for themselves, and Google has the processing power to handle it. If given that respect, search will be better.
so let's get this right. The OP is unhappy that the internet is changing (which it's done in equally fundamental ways at least 5 times in the last 20 years) so wants to give up. And now he's unhappy with how the thread has gone and wants to...give up.
There's been so much what I can only call "snobbishness" in this thread, it's incredible. "My content is intelligent", "my competitor's isn't", "those who use facebook and twitter are NOT capable of seeing quality", etc, etc ad infinitum.
I always feared WebmasterWorld was tilted far too much towards what I call the Old Web - look how long it took facebook and twitter to get sub forums when (as this thread illustrates) they are so critical a part of the 2011 internet. This thread has confirmed my fears. Adapt or die. You can dress it all up in as many fancy words as you like, but that's the principle here. If you don't succeed on today's internet, it is YOU that has failed. The best solution at that point is to take your ball and go home.
Like the OP has just done.
|Another example of social media fail. Many, perhaps most, businesses will do nothing as the result of social media. Social media's good for some verticals, that's all. Outside of that, do it to game the rankings. |
Everyone's on board because it's cool and people in boardrooms are too clueless to determine if there's any money there. Start tying bonuses to sales made based on social media, and a lot of companies would stop twittering/facebooking in it's tracks.
If at all social media help businesses, it does so in popularizing the brand name, provided you have one.
A company like nokia or motorola may benefit from social media to an extent, in creating awareness for their newly released models, but I haven't come across stories where social media helped a mom and pop store.If there is one, I do be interested in listening to that story.
But then I make a distinction between social media participation and improving user engagement.
Sharing on FB and Twitter isn't alone helping anyone or influencing Google these days.It is sites that try to engage visitors in every possible manner and pass on all those noisy UE signals back to google, that appear to be benefited.
But then UE is noisy and can be easily gamed.
|If at all social media help businesses, it does so in popularizing the brand name, provided you have one. |
It seems to me that social media works best for the very most current "hot button issues". Did that guy deserve to win on American Idol? What do you think of Lady Gaga's latest album? Is Casey Anthony guilty? etc etc. I mean, who really wants to be a friend of Nokia? Seriously, who cares unless they send regular discount coupons? So I agree with Indyank's quote above ~ if you're a brand then promote that brand with regular discounts. If you deal with current events, then stoke the fires of controversy on a daily basis. But if you're a local custom woodworker and all you do is make the best cabinets in your area, then the "Old Web" may be right where you belong, and thus if Google is only going to apply "2011 internet" to each & every search, no matter what the context, then they are the ones who don't get it.
|I can assure you that everything you're describing would be a complete waste of time for our local hardware store. |
If i wasn`t so busy i would almost be tempted to take on the challenge ;)
...so far i made measurable improvment (meaning; more cash into the pocket of the client) via social media, to a
local night club
local fishing store
local camping store
local car dealer
the power of social and local is somehow not fully exploited in my opinion, and while its cool to have google in the mix, my approach to social has nothing to do with search engine ranking, but is a bloody elegant way of direct marketing, and when a local store owner all of a sudden gets clients from out of town he would not have reached otherwise, he takes note of the power that this funny useless social thing can be...
Both Facebook and Twitter are sending me traffic, and that traffic is increasing every day with every new member that adds my site. Social? I'm all for it.
But what is this traffic doing?
Is it converting into sales if you sell stuff ?
Is it clicking adds if you monetise via ads ?
Is it merely "looky loos" in which case you need CPM ads on display ?
Traffic is easy to come by..even bots are traffic..but if it doesn't, or you cant get it to, convert somehow..than its just bandwidth being eaten..
Imagine if every one of Lady Gaga's "friends" dropped by ..and you had no CPM ads, on a site about vintage car parts ..
The overage costs for bandwidth would take you down and ruin you..
|Both Facebook and Twitter are sending me traffic, and that traffic is increasing every day with every new member that adds my site. Social? I'm all for it. |
I'd appreciate it if people wouldn't hijack this thread. Is that all you think this thread is about? Whether you are "all for social media" or not? Whether it sends you traffic or not?
Kind of interesting to see that in some ways this discussion actually demonstrates some of the issues I'm trying to bring up for discussion -- how bad content crowds out good, how the mediocre and popular will almost always win, and really, the main point: Google actions will reinforce these trends, reduce high quality expert content available on the net, and make that content harder to find when it is on the net. Despite all of Google's motto's, slogans, press releases about their purpose.
One other thing I wanted to mention. I'm talking about quality content as in coming from people who really know their stuff regardless of topic, whether its business, kite-flying, SEO or whatever topic it is.
I want to be able to find both simple and complex material on topics.
> I'd appreciate it if people wouldn't hijack this thread.
Sorry coachm, that wasn't my intention. I'm simply stating that there are positive aspects to both Facebook and Twitter. It's a tool. It can be used in a positive way or not. I'm old enough to remember a search engine called Alta Vista. A better tool came along, Google. Now there's Facebook and Twitter in the mix. It's all good.
|how the mediocre and popular will almost always win, |
Mediocrity and popular doesn't win. Marketing wins. Marketing wins over knowledge every day. This has been true for decades. It's also been true for decades that people who can't market, complain about how their expertise is better, and mediocrity is winning.
Mediocrity isn't winning. You're just trying to justify why you're losing the game. Suck it up buttercup and learn how to sell whatever it is that you're selling. This is a harsh lesson - but it's one that everyone does well to learn. I had it beaten into me financially. It certainly wasn't a lesson I went looking to learn.
And don't give me this 'lack of quality content'. My site has content that is beyond expert level. That's what I sell - I am the expert in my niche. I know stuff that others don't, and am able to impart it to them. Heck, my client list includes my competitors' staff and even gov't regulators in my niche.
But expertise is only one of the things that's used for marketing. I compete against people that use technical SEO skills to rank. Other competitors in the serps are backed by multi-billion dollar companies so they've got access to promotion methods I simply don't have. They're all just tools in the marketing toolbelt, and expertise is only one of those tools.
I understand that people don't like sales and marketing. Doesn't change the fact that, as the salespeple say, "nothing happens until somebody sells something".