How to Fight Big Business on Google and Beyond with Smart Mob SEO
Let me brag for a minute. You understand why I have to a bit later. Over the years I’ve been outranking big businesses, well known brands and major news media.
I’ve been successfully competing with whole agency and in-house teams. I’ve even managed to surpass spammers 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
The only true free market business is small business. Big business is often just about monopolies and market dominance. Just think
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:you can’t spend the same amount of time and money on SEO as a corporation or news 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.
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.
Nonetheless 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. It’s people behind profits and planet behind profits.
Even though sensible individuals work for them 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 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.
Thus 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.
Linking out worked for a site like Drudge Report which ranked for years on top for [news] in the US.
I once ranked at #4 to #6 for [motorola xoom test] (a popular smartphone at the time) in Germany. Did I test it? No. I just provided links to articles from big media outlets who do.
Being the only resource where readers can get a quick overview of most test results. 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 outranked 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.
You can still do it!
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.
Last updated: February 13th, 2017.
* Anonymous kid vs. Troy Collins, US national middleweight sumo champion. Image by John Watson.
Great spirit, never give up. Even though people thought the world is fair online, but still, the one who can control technology try to manipulate it. Never give up! :)
Kent: Of course, the world online is not fair. Does Wikipedia and Amazon deserve to rank top 5 for almost all conceivable queries? I don’t think so. Sometimes you or me deserve it. Fight for your right to rank.
I’ll join your mob any day Tad. Just name the anchor text :)
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……
Good to know Andrew. Be prepared. When we strike no search engine will be safe!
one thing I know for sure you are right is that corporations are too slow. you said days, weeks, months, in most cases the companies I worked for take a month or more to get an answer for regarding a simple matter! So this is a great advantage, bloggers are faster, the same goes for news. it’s very important to be seen as the first news source, just look at Mashable and their tactics, post small but be first and in the next 30 or so minutes when you look at the same page that had only 150 words first, you see a 600 words post with images, links and sources!
Couldn’t agree more, given that “fast is the new big” when it comes to this modern age of marketing. I guess the only factor that separates the big from small businesses is the “budget”, big companies are pretty much capable of making their outreach faster, though apparently most of them are already confident with the already garnered strength of their brand.
Would love to join your mob someday :)
I think the biggest problem with large business is lack of flexibility to quickly adapt. Another seems to often be a lack of accountability within the org. Those are two negative traits that small businesses normally do not have.
Zarko: Thank you for pointing this Mashable technique out, I didn’t really notice it yet. Now that I think of it it sound pretty logical.
Jason: Glad to have you in my mob, which is not (yet) really like a club. Ideally SEO 2.0 works without an official organizational structure but indeed it can help. I’ll think about you next time I decide to drop the Google bomb.
Mark: Good points, very true.
I wish some day you can teach a dinosaur like me to write blogs.
Rebel with a cause:
for this one must have contacts. it takes time.
What do you actually mean? Will my site rank higher because of less competition or being first is a ranking factor?
umar: Being first means that when you publish something as the first site you get treated as the original source of a news item for instance.
The faster part is intriguing, because small businesses can often be quicker to the punch.
Very inspirational. Have managed to rank ahead of the big guys some times too. But sure is getting harder and harder. Liked the info about being a “hub” am going to try that tactic.