|Highest ROI strategy: Useful & Unique ?|
I just caught myself wondering something:
Obviously controversy, pushing peoples' buttons, etc. ...all of that can help get links.
However is it possible, that the highest ROI strategy for pretty much any website is to simply focus your time & money on finding something truly useful & unique you can create for your niche...and then creating it?
And then of course, focussing your resources on getting exposure for that (useful) link bait? (I'm NOT trying to say 'build it and they will come')
I assume the problem with this approach is that it doesn't work in very competitive niches? (because most useful things have been created 100 times already)
bah. In competitive niches not everything has been created.
Does anyone have a tool where you put in a hand of poker cards and it tells you how you should bet? Or better yet - an online tool that guides a novice poker player like me through hands, i.e. deals me into a game then coaches me live how to play each card or bet, with explanations. Perhaps such things exist, I don't know - but if I wanted to play poker online I can tell you that's one thing i'd be interested in.
I actually don't know anything about poker, having actually looked at a poker site probably about once in my life, so maybe such tools exist. But there's a good chance something like that doesn't exist. So there's one example in a competitive niche that's got some opportunity left.
In another thread someone challenged me over mortgage calculators, implying that's a competitive market. Certainly it's saturated. I've read that in some places, short term mortgages mean you will pay less (but have higher risk) than locking in for longer term mortgages. So what about a calculator that shows me what that risk is? i.e. based on historical data, I put in my maximum payment I could possibly afford if I took a short term mortgage and rates skyrocketed, and the calculator determined the probability of that happening? You couldn't get some .edu links out of that bad boy :)? Heck, you might even be able to rank on 'mortgage calculator' with that one.
Both of those examples require some hard work followed by some top notch link building. And maybe those things have been done - but that's off the top of my head and I'm not in either of those industries. So there's no reason to believe that competitive niches are completely tapped out yet. Opportunity abounds.
There's a thread here from a year or two about gift wrapping. Any sort of buy online that could be a gift could get some linkbait from that - no matter how competitive the market. Have some videos on gift wrapping the most obvious things there are, in such a fashion that you can't tell what it is. Or the reverse, the most bizarre gift objects wrapped in such a way that it's completely obvious what it is (think about trying to gift wrap a broom). Videos of that kind of stuff can go viral.
|I assume the problem with this approach is that it doesn't work in very competitive niches? (because most useful things have been created 100 times already) |
The better mousetrap has yet to be invented. The guy who does makes the bucks.
Just bear in mind that each tech advance is just doing what we have already done, just a bit better: communication (speech, writing, printing, radio, television), thrown rocks (clubs, spears, arrows, bullets, cannons, missiles, moonshots). transportation (bipedal, running, horses, cars, airplanes, spaceships), etc.
There's always a better way of doing the same thing. And we, as a species, seem to have the knack for finding new ways of doing the same thing. If inspired. What we also admire among our peers is good information... that never goes out of style so, for me, content remains king. Do that first. THEN find a way to drive the audience to the content and let them tell others they liked what they found. I'm pretty sure few users crow about the benefits of any MFA sites they have encountered.
I'm taking this approach at the moment (early days yet though).
With a full time job and a full time family I realised I didn't have the time necessary to promote a mediocre site. I put the time in to initial development. It took 18 months to create the tool! (I motivated myself during this time by reading Wheel's posts ;) )
It is however making link hunting easier. It doesn't matter so much that I can only promote in fits and starts. It make link requesting easier as well when you have something you genuinely believe should have backlinks.
Hey wheel (and tangor & status, too of course) thanks for the reply,
Does this mean you basically agree with my "idea" that the best link bait normally is linkbait that is simply something truly useful?
It kind of sounds like it - you didnt say it specifically, but when you're making the point that it is even possible in saturated niches, it pretty much sounds like it.
Do you never really go for the "controversy link bait" or the "making people look smart/cool link bait (by creating an award..or a contest)" - but exclusively (or mostly) the "useful"-link bait?
I know some of your older posts (including the one you mentioned) - is the first step in pretty much every niche you enter to look if there's any kind of (useful) tool that can be created? ...Is creating useful tools something that has proven to be an extremely effective link building approach for you?
@Status: sounds like great work..Have you had decent results already? just curious
|Do you never really go for the "controversy link bait" or the "making people look smart/cool link bait (by creating an award..or a contest)" - but exclusively (or mostly) the "useful"-link bait? |
Controversy is generally politics, religion, sex, or war... few of these monetize well (or legally) on websites, though you might get a lot of eyeballs. As for awards/recognition some forms work, such as member ranking here at Webmasterworld. I haven't tried prizes or real dollar (cost) awards because the various laws around the world may come into play.
I've always gone for the content, and as passionate and accurate as I can make it. Magic bullets are so infrequent!
It's not a very competitive niche (as mentioned I wouldn't have time to promote in such a niche at the moment). It is, however, more competitive than I first realised. There aren't that many true original sites that compete in the niche (dozens at most, mostly very well established for years unfortunately!). There are however an awful lot of article-site-sites and (lots and lots and lots of) blogs where certain ideas have just been regurgitated without any real understanding of the topic as whole (or any original thoughts) and plenty of snake oil sites. As part of analysing a niche I'd now recommend running some google alerts for appropriate terms for a few weeks.
For my most targeted terms for the tool itself I'm number one (only a few searches a month though)
For the next most targeted (the sub-topic the tool is based on) I'm first page for most results, beating some of the real, more established, sites, with only real sites above me. (Apart from wikipedia at no.1 which isn't very good on this subject - give me a year of link building and I'll have them ;) ). I haven't stopped to analyse the splogs but I'd guess their link profile is wrong - they certainly have the keywords.
I won't get anything like a mass audience until I can rank well on the most general terms that are still relevant. e.g. I'm explaining particular ways of enhancing widgets - most of the audience I want to gain will only be searching for widget enhancement (and similar terms). I'm in there and climbing, but I'm not first page yet, and I'm not targeting them until I've built up some link pop on more targeted terms.
One of the challenges here is that sometimes the approaches that have a strong ROI in the longer term can be slow to start producing returns in the shorter term.
I firmly agree with those who are saying that over time the best link bait is content of true quality (whatever that might mean in your niche).
Controversy or hot-topic type link bait can be useful in the short term, though.
|For my most targeted terms for the tool itself I'm number one |
Strong rankings on relevant searches are some of the best link bait you can have ... IF your site is better than average in some way when people check it out.
It can sometimes be worth running PPC campaigns at "barely breaks even" to help get the initial visibility that gets the organic cycle going.
This is the most inspirational thread here, or anywhere for that matter, that I have seen for a while. Thanks guys.
|One of the challenges here is that sometimes the approaches that have a strong ROI in the longer term can be slow to start producing returns in the shorter term. |
If you research your niche and you do find real problems, and focus your efforts on solving them/creating a solution to them...I would say that kind of 'link bait' does not really have a slow start, right?
I was going to mention it before, but then didn't do it...but I really wasn't trying to say "just create quality content", "just build a good site", etc..
I think that (or well have been wondering if) finding problems in your niche and solving them (and focussing your efforts on that) might be "link bait" opportunities that are just as good (or well..better) as any other kind of "link bait" (including in the short-term).
I think what you say is true for "creating quality content" (pays off in the long run, but not necessarily right away).
However, I think that content that actually solves problems/is actually something truly useful (makes someone's life easier/saves time/...) is a subset of "quality content". and I think for that subset of quality content, the problem of having a slow start should not really be a problem.
I'm not saying I'm completely right, of course, I'm wondering if there's any truth to this - which is why I'm asking on here ;-).
I bet MacGyver could get a bunch of great links by solving problems and putting them on the web! LOL
|I think that (or well have been wondering if) finding problems in your niche... |
Some of those problems may be the sites that are currently ranking. Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of competitors then making their weaknesses your strengths is a good way to differentiate your site and make it appeal over more established sites, thereby giving people a reason to link to your site.
Weaknesses can include UI, user experience, accessibility, popups, extent of advertising, navigation, pageload time, appropriatness of page design to the audience, browser compatibility, personalization, annoyances etc.
The About Page
Promote your sites authority. This is a great use for the About Page. Too many sites waste the opportunity given to them on their about pages. This is where you sell your sites authority, where you tell people why your content is so good and list all the positive qualities people look for in a site.
Martini, can we have some concrete examples of what to talk about on the about us page?
Hey wheel, thanks for asking. :) There is a need for more detail. Here are a few elements I regard as important in an About Page. These elements have been useful in selling/educating webmasters on why they should link to my site.
- Name of who wrote the articles
- Education and/or certifications that make them an authority
- Years of personal experience that makes them an authority
- Media citations they have received
- Accomplishments such as books authored, positions held, etc.
For the website itself
- Media citations
- Media appearances they have made
- Brief testimonial quotes by authoritative people/websites
- Awards won
What's in it for the site visitors? The about page gives you the opportunity to list all the strengths of your approach (which might also happen to be the weaknesses of your competition), why visiting your site benefits the site visitor.
I have links from Authoritative .edu and .org sites that essentially wrote their description of my site almost word for word from my about page, including a citation of the authors and their experience.
[edited by: martinibuster at 9:18 am (utc) on Sep. 9, 2009]
|Does anyone have a tool where you put in a hand of poker cards and it tells you how you should bet? Or better yet - an online tool that guides a novice poker player like me through hands, i.e. deals me into a game then coaches me live how to play each card or bet, with explanations. Perhaps such things exist, I don't know - but if I wanted to play poker online I can tell you that's one thing i'd be interested in. |
Styles of play are completely opinion...there's no perfect method. That is an interesting idea though.
|Styles of play are completely opinion...there's no perfect method. That is an interesting idea though. |
Maybe not at the beginner level though? As I said, I went on a poker site about once. And I recall being confronted with a hand of cards and a bunch of opponents, and no idea what to do. Some live coaching even in the basics would have been nice. I was looking to play, not learn. A bit of coaching like that and I probably would've laid down some real money to give it a whirl. Instead I abandonded my shopping cart :) and haven't been back since.
Maybe even easier would be to have an actual coach. Wednesday night is newb night, where newbs can sign on and everyone gets a coach who can watch their hands and whisper in their ear.
In any event, things like that are just different enough that making it available, and then following it up with some link building should be able to generate some impact.