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I have been thinking of a few obvious things but I would very much like to hear what the rest of you think, if you have any great ideas, if you are doing any “off search engine” optimization work today and if you think this is interesting or not :)
One place to use our skills is in any kind of searchable online ads. I came to think of this as I had a bit of old merchandise I had to sell and I used a local (and very popular) online classified ads service. The algorithm was a piece of cake to break down and with the instant indexing they have (not to difficult as they “only” have 10’s of thousands of ads – not billions of listings as the SE’s do) I positioned my ads exactly where I wanted them and shaped them with titles and descriptions I know (from experience) provoke clicks.
How many people or companies do you think do that today? The ad cost the same but I am sure I get a lot more out of it than most of the other advertisers.
I have also been researching cars lately. MSN Carpoint, Autotrader.com and Edmunds are a few of the major sites I have been using. I have never advertised a car for sale but as far as I can see on the listings and search results it would be very easy to do some extensive optimization here.
The same thing goes for real estate of any kind - not only at large online services like Realtor.com but also in the various newspapers online listings. Optimization can be done here and I believe the outcome would be great.
And we could even go further…
What about all the online rating services around? You can find ratings for almost anything today. Getting a top rate for your product, brand, service or whatever you do at the biggest of these “rating-sites” can be very profitable. All these rating systems are basically build on some kind of algorithms not too different from what we know from the search business. They can be broken down and analyzed to find out what factors influence the system, how and how much. There are always some factors that can be tweaked to improve results.
Analyzing web site traffic logs, combined with search engine marketing is extremely time-consuming. Most companies don't have the time, nor do they want to do this. But, it can double if not triple a monthly account with a client. And, those clients that spend the most in having their sites analyzed, optimized and strategized are usually the most profitable.
That's where we have taken our business, and there is no shortage of demand for our services. It's keeping up with it all that's challenging.