Our Blog

13 Nov 2008

Notable Niches

Yesterday, we went through the advantages of incorporating some less-used methods into link building for the purpose of Search Engine Optimization. It was shown that local directories, niche-focused search engines, and social media outlets are valuable resources both for link placement and also for the kind of research an SEO regularly engages in. Today we’ll take a look at a few notable sites that demonstrate this; sites that are among the best in their niche and can end up being extremely useful for the professional link builder.

Topical & Homogeneous Search
o       Kosmix search creates a “topic” homepage for the keywords searched, consisting of results from different spheres across the web, including Google search, social media, images, videos, shopping, etc…& their web search results are very close, though not identical, to Google’s for the same keywords. The distinct results subsections are provided by the 3rd parties shown in the top of each box.
o       Clusty, aside from being extremely clean in design and very easy to use, organizes the results it reports into convenient categories.  Multiple filtering options make it easy to drill down to the sites you want quickly by domain extension, source, topic, and other factors. Their index and search routine differ greatly from other search engines because of the categories assigned to the results
o       URL.com is a top 3 search engine crawler that focuses on reordering results based on user rankings. The results form has a quick reference for that listing’s placement on the 3 major engines, which is a handy quick reference for SEOs tracking rankings. Their concept of traditional robot-based crawling combined with human-reviewed results is great for many ordinary searchers because it shows only the results that other users found to be relevant for the keywords.
Meta Rankings
            For quite some time, there have been many search engines to choose from. Even relatively early in the days of the internet there were too many engines to use effectively for comprehensive research, which sparked an innovative solution: Meta crawlers. Although they have been around for years, many popular search outlets are still essentially meta crawler engines; Dogpile, Metacrawler (obviously), Mama, and Pandia are all examples of this concept. Even Kosmix and URL.com, described above, can be considered under the same category. Since the actual results shown on these sites come from other locations, most notably the 3 biggest search engines, the key to ranking correctly in them is to have top results in Google, Yahoo, and/or Live. Of course that’s the overall goal for any optimization campaign, but it’s worth knowing that there are also potentially listings on other respected sites that are direct results of the same SEO effort, which is definitely value added for the site being optimized.
            It’s worth noting that these and other search resources are good for the link builder to use simply because they provide a different set of results to use. Most people who engage in any type of SEO or link building (read here for the difference) realize that the results on the major search engines are highly influenced by the work they do. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that the results are invalid, it almost guarantees that other valuable results will remain hidden because other sites with the same keywords are constantly burying them into the backwoods of the SERPs.
SERP Trust
            From the web surfer/potential customer’s point of view, listings and links in nonstandard venues act something like a vote of confidence for a particular site or business. If a site appears among the results of a very specific web search on a person’s favorite niche site, they’re much more likely to think of it as an authority on the topic, even if it doesn’t rank as well in all the major engines. This is because smaller sites that are devoted to a particular subject are usually less commercial in nature than their larger and broader counterparts. Someone who uses such a site because it provides them with focused results tailored to their interests will also be much further into any purchasing considerations they’re making because they’re more likely to know exactly what they want to buy.

So it’s clear that no amount of highly focused link building based on topical and local sites will replace a strong general campaign using multiple techniques to achieve top rankings on Google, Yahoo or Live. However, using them as supplements is advantageous in so many ways that it justifies spending the time to dig into these less often employed resources. So while the focus of most of a linker’s attention will always be where your listings end up in front of the majority of users, neglecting valuable (if somewhat harder to find) link opportunities and ranking results on sites you’ve never heard of makes as much sense as leaving Google out of an SEO campaign.