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Is Search Moving Towards Niche Sites Too?


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#1 mrgoodfox

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 02:25 PM

I feel like the big G has started going towards spammy search results (too many ads, or not useful sites, or G's own websites in many of the search results).

I was thinking about this the other day and I thought maybe search will move to niche sites too. So there will be large authority sites in every major niche and people would go to those sites to search for related keywords (ex. when buying a hookah, people would go to somewhere like hookah.com to search for hookah products across all major online hookah stores), perhaps using G's custom search tool.

What are your thoughts on that? I'm actually selling advertising packages that allows the large sites in my niche to be listed under our custom search engine (supplied by G)

Edited by mrgoodfox, 10 September 2011 - 02:25 PM.


#2 EGOL

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 04:53 PM

I agree that Google is getting better at keeping the visitor on their own websites. I also agree that they have increased their ad density a bit over the past year.... but I don't know if I agree with spammy and niche.

I think that google is showing the sites that have some combination of high popularity, quality content or authority to make them perform well. Sometimes that can be a niche site that focuses on a single theme such as keyword.com, but more often, powerful sites such as wikipedia, amazon, about.com will dominate the rankings even though they might not be the best site in the niche. A site like keyword.com might have far deeper, higher quality, more knowledgeable content - and maybe even more links from related sites, however, the big sites win because of their enormous authority and generic popularity.

Niche sites have a huge disadvantage because they only draw links from their niche while the broad topic sites such as wikipedia win because of their overwhelming, but off-topic link authority.

... at least that how it seems to be working from the limited number of SERPs that I study.

#3 EGOL

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 07:23 PM

By chance I visited chocolate.com and found a site like you described.... http://www.chocolate.com/

The search promotes the products from a wide range of sites.

Check out this video... http://www.chocolate...ecome_a_vendor/

Look at the bottom of the pages.... under "JOIN"... they are gunning for affiliates, product reviews and bloggers.

#4 mrgoodfox

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Posted 10 September 2011 - 09:22 PM

Interesting that they are openly advertising to hire bloggers and reviewers.

Maybe its just me wanting to have a niche authority website were people go to directly to search (like people go to Amazon to search for books to buy)

#5 A.N.Onym

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 05:27 AM

Google is moving towards brands, sadly, because that's where the signals are stronger and they make good PR. However, it'd be great to see it move towards the unique, high-quality niche sites, since, IMHO, huge sites may cover many topics, but they may be shallow, after all. Aiming to discover low-linked, but high quality and helpful content could help Google tremendously (and all involved, naturally).

As for the web industry, yes, it's been moving towards strong niche sites. The key here is to find the niche small enough to be a unique expert and authority in, but large enough to have a sizable following (and profit).

EGOL, do you think that to grow a niche site one might check, where the field intersects with other fields? For example, a running site would write on an office plankton site about running for office workers or how to find comfy shoes for walking in the city/work. The number of intersections and possible amount of links could be noticeable, but after all, it all deteriorates the niche site branding.

My opinion is that it's more effective to move horizontally in the niche and provide more services, rather than just high quality articles. The site remains niche enough and becomes a community, more link worthy and gets more content for long tail searches.

Edited by A.N.Onym, 11 September 2011 - 05:41 AM.


#6 EGOL

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 06:53 AM

EGOL, do you think that to grow a niche site one might check, where the field intersects with other fields? For example, a running site would write on an office plankton site about running for office workers or how to find comfy shoes for walking in the city/work. The number of intersections and possible amount of links could be noticeable...

I think that this might work for people who are very outgoing and very efficient at managing their time while interacting with other people.

However, I think that it is possible that the time spent dealing with people could be spent simply creating articles for your own site. You can earn one link from another site doing this but the same time spend making an article for your own site might - over the years - pull in more links. Plus that article could pull in a lot of traffic. In summary... if you write/distribute articles for links you get one link but if you write articles for your own site you can get a lot more links over time plus the traffic.

Another element of this is if you are giving articles to other site then other webmasters will want you to accept their articles on your site. These other people may not share your standards and you will have a real problem if they have low standards and want their crap articles published on your site.... and lots of these people will have you linking to trashy sites that link to even trashier sites... etc....

So, if you are a picky webmaster who doesn't like relationship-building the best route is to simply spend all of your content creation time writing for your own site.

#7 A.N.Onym

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 07:11 AM

Makes sense.

Thank you, EGOL :)

I suppose it'd be better to go into more technical/in-depth articles, rather than rely on other, less interesting topics,, even if written for your own site, right?

Edited by A.N.Onym, 11 September 2011 - 07:19 AM.


#8 EGOL

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 07:44 AM

I always try to write technical and in-depth articles. I think that long content performs well in the search engines because, if done well, it will collect more links and long tail traffic than short content. I also think that search engines rank substantive content higher than trivial content.

#9 A.N.Onym

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 09:27 AM

There's no doubt that longer, more substantial articles get more traffic and links.

But, IMHO, there's also a slight difference between a technical and an in-depth article.

An in-depth article may be covering a deep topic, as long as you like, but the language can be used such that any more or less experienced visitor could understand.

A technical article could be of any length (hardly very short, though), but it would use specific industry jargon and notions/examples/processes from sciences, such as biology, chemistry, etc. These can only be easily understood by industry professionals with one or more high educations under their belts.

Now, I agree that longer in-depth articles go a long way, but is it really worth it to produce content that can easily be understood only by about 5-15%? Of course, some smart visitors can make sense of a complex article without really knowing those clever words, which makes it about 30-40% total, maybe. Here not just article size could come in as a factor, but the complexity of the language, compared to an average college level (if Google checks it, and it should).

Would you produce highly *technical* articles for the sake of your visitors or prefer to word them easier?

Thanks again :)

Afterthought afterthoughtHmm, have I steered the thread offtopic too far? Or it's still remotely related to running a niche site? :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 11 September 2011 - 09:39 AM.


#10 iamlost

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 12:44 PM

Would you produce highly *technical* articles for the sake of your visitors or prefer to word them easier?

I do variations on both :)

My main long articles beginnings are formatted and written for easy skimming, easy reading, easy comprehension. They begin with a summary often utilising bullet points for the skimmers out there with onpage anchor links to further on in page where the summary point is expanded. One can read summary only, entire page, select bits of the page, etc. The language and grammar is for a general audience. Within the page are links to additional more technically written wording and grammar sections or pages for those that wish to go even deeper into the subject. And I provide an extensive occasionally interactive glossary.

I take readability extremely seriously as it impacts traffic, referrals, returns, conversions... :)

Exactly which readability levels depends on topic and target audience(s) but the format is always:
* summary: basic.
* general content: intermediate.
* technical content: advanced.
As you might conclude this allows an extensive use of multiple keywords and variations. Such pages tend to acquire links - and traffic - from a broader range of sites than pages written at a single reading level.

Readability is an often overlooked part of a business model especially on blogs where authors tend to write exclusively at their own comfort level. And that may inadvertently exclude entire demographics of interest.

Edited by iamlost, 11 September 2011 - 12:48 PM.


#11 Black_Knight

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 01:14 PM

The single best branding you can ever do is educate someone. Teach someone something new and they never forget you.

That's my own long-standing quote.

To educate, you must go into depths they have never been to, but in a manner that gives them the comfort to be there and understand. So highly technical would be the depths, the new things you are teaching, while the simple, straight-forward accessible way you write it is what makes it an education.

#12 mrgoodfox

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 04:37 PM

The single best branding you can ever do is educate someone. Teach someone something new and they never forget you.


Amen to that

#13 A.N.Onym

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Posted 11 September 2011 - 11:15 PM

To educate, you must go into depths they have never been to, but in a manner that gives them the comfort to be there and understand. So highly technical would be the depths, the new things you are teaching, while the simple, straight-forward accessible way you write it is what makes it an education.

That was my understanding as well, Ammon. But I simply wondered, if there's audience for unabridged technical stuff on niche sites, rather than science sites, which, it seems, iamlost has confirmed.

Thanks for the clarification, chaps, if I may call you that :)

Edited by A.N.Onym, 11 September 2011 - 11:27 PM.


#14 glyn

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:18 AM

Open :mr_rant:

I love ethics, so I'm just gonna throw some things out there.

I believe that Google wants good results but that if they can make money with it, so much the better. Have you seen how the Adwords now blend with the page results almost invisibly. Have you seen how close the ADwords are to the next buttons when browsing with a mobile. How about Ads that popup on all that content on things like YouTube. Before we start looking at opt-out of behavioural advertising. Privacy policy wordings and just the general mess of online ethics and privacy.

Sure it's all legal, because it's Google, and it's not just them, take a look at FB!

But let's get into actual examples:

Let's talk about how one of the biggest "discount" based coupon platforms used one of the most aggressive popups I think I've ever seen devised. So heavy duty that only if you were an IT expert could you close the window. And these guys were on Adwords everywhere.

But don't take my word for it, read it from the horses mouth.

In terms of the ethics, well let's just say if you have a budget, I think that you can pretty much put a line through most of the Google Guidelines, as I've seen them gamed for a loooooong time.

Trouble is that fundamentally Google has an achilees heel, and so even after a site has been manually reviewed and pushed off the first page, it can be put back again. Just don't tell Matt Cutts.

Google's always been a flawed algo, and it's been a pleasure to work with.

May there be lots of "changes" and continued advancements soon, and may my clients sit squarely at number 1 in the organics.

close :mr_rant:

:)

#15 mrgoodfox

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:43 PM

Glyn, I couldn't agree with you more. (IMO) Google is moving towards way too many ads and their search results are slowly becoming less useful (specially when large companies are behind certain products are markets).

At the same time i think we expect too much from them and therefore feel let down when they don't live to those expectations.

On another note, why did Google stop their Labs? Didn't Gmail come from there? Why not try to further innovate instead of monetizing the search result to this point?

#16 glyn

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:10 AM

I think this video answer why there is no need for LABs anymore.

http://www.youtube.c...h?v=ZGwYrZLvvJU

And I'm not upset by Google, they are a business, so are we all. We look after our interests.

I am just sorry for those people that you read all over the place that think that Google wants to get up close with you and be your friend. I stopped reading Google guidelines about the same time their PPC went live and all my clients are #1 in the organics.

#17 mrgoodfox

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:39 AM

That was a good video. haha



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