How to Fight Big Business in Google and Beyond with Smart Mob SEO
Over the years I've been outranking big businesses, well known brands and major news media. I've been successfully competing with whole SEO teams. I've even managed to surpass spammers and black hat SEOs in some cases.
Your competition on the Web is more overwhelming than ever these days.
Some SEO pundits already advise you to give up and try to offer something different than the big guys. I don't. There are still ways to fight big business in Google and beyond.
Corporations have some vulnerabilities you can use against them.
IMHO the only true free market business is small business. Big business is often just about monopolies and market dominance. Just think Google, Microsoft or Apple. They always try to own a certain market and kill off competition using proprietary technology, law enforcement and media hype. Of course once they own the market they can dictate the prices.
In SEO we deal with a similar situation these days as you can't spend the same amount of time and money on SEO a corporation or mews media outlet can. Even though many brands fail at SEO from the technical point of view Google favors large brands over no name small businesses so that your site can be technically better equipped, have better content and be more dedicated to customers and you will still lose against the behemoths.
What weaknesses do corporations have?
Corporations commit corporate crime on a seemingly daily basis but the people have no choice but to stay with them. Google might breach your privacy, Apple might make their workers commit suicide and Microsoft might abuse their monopoly but most people will still buy and use their products and services. The same is true with major media, they copy stories, can spread lies and propaganda and get away with it.
Corporations are too big to move quickly. I've worked for corporations myself. You can't do anything by yourself. You have to ask several bosses above you, you might not even know who they are so you can't ask them at all. In other cases you might have to wrestle with several departments, every one o them throwing their guidelines on you. Until you move several days, weeks or months might go by without any significant change.
Corporations do not care about anything or anybody, they are just looking at their bottom line. Even though sensible individuals work fort hem they are not allowed to follow their human instincts. They have to maximize profits and stick to corporate rules. In many cases they are not even allowed to mention their competitors or link out to them. At the same time each corporation has at least several websites if not dozens or hundreds of them so they are heavily interlinked.
Rebel with a cause
When there is a righteous cause like attacking a corporate criminal people can get angry and act together. The era of smart mobs has finally arrived with the Anonymous phenomenon. A “group” of people from all over the world congregating virtually to perform an action on behalf of a common goal. Their most apparent action was to the long term support of Wikileaks. Their most feared tactic is the hacking of websites by entities the group perceives as the target of their wrath.
Even before Anonymous people on the Web have used similar techniques to exert pressure on the powerful. In the SEO industry the most well known of these tactics was Google bombing. While Google has tried to limit the success of this technique you can still band together to push a website in the search results.
Sometimes it just takes a few dedicated bloggers and social media users to push a certain topic or post to the top of search results. The more abusive an entity the easier it is to make people contribute to such a campaign. I did that a few years back for a very spammy medical term after I got spammed too often by spammers selling it. So I put up a post that warned consumers of the side effects for it and many bloggers joined in after I asked them. I ranked at #1/top 10 for years.
When Samsung introduced its first iPhone competitor to the German market I happened to be the first person to report about it. Google then ranked me on #1 as the original source for months. I even outranked Samsung itself who were awfully slow to put up a webpage about the particular smartphone. They learned their SEO lessons ever since but still this SEO episode shows how a fast blogger can take advantage of the corporate dinosaurs.
Have you ever seen CNN link out the BBC or to Al Jazeera? They rarely do. Big media either try not to link out at all or they limit themselves to sources. Sometimes they just “forget” to mention the source or the mention it without a link. Here comes the blogger who does not have to abide by corporate no link policies. When you provide a resource with links to several news media outlets you will rank highly in Google as a hub. This works for a site like Drudge Report which ranks #3 for [news] in the US but also on an article level.
Currently I rank at #4 to #6 for [motorola xoom test] in Germany. Did I test it? No. I just provided links to articles from big media outlets who do. I am the only resource where readers can get a quick overview most test results right now. Of course the major media outlets do not link out to other test results. I got just one authority link for that post so it wasn't really difficult. I outrank some of the biggest publishing German publishing houses.
I could have linked out to other bloggers to get pingbacks an in that case I would gain even more ground.
So you see you don't have to give up yet. You need a blog though obviously and you have to band together with like minded individuals. it might not be activism but it's certainly a just cause to survive in the face of competition by huge corporate conglomerates.
* Anonymous kid vs. Troy Collins, US national middleweight sumo champion. Image by John Watson.