I obviously don’t want another SEO vs. CPC discussion here, but Brian Provost is on to something with defensible traffic.
If you ever have to go raise money from investors, one of the first questions they will ask you is going to be about the defensibility of your revenue/brand/traffic/etc. In the Lead Generation world, companies like Adteractive and Quinstreet generate a lot of leads from arbitraging search, email, and tapping into affiliates. But none of that is really defensible.
If you want to endure in the Widget Market, you have to treat it like war. You canâ€™t arbitrage battle for very long… In the history of warfare, the only way the winner has ever held that claim is by having boots on the ground…
Thatâ€™s defensible. I donâ€™t care how blackhat or whitehat you are in your methods to build that asset, just make sure itâ€™s defensible. Taking that thought up another notch, if your site is truly defensible, you could exist if search engines went out of business tomorrow.
I suppose the defensible holy grail is a 1996 domain with plenty of trusted backlinks and traffic from all 3 SE’s plus plenty of traffic from links and bookmarks… and an even holier grail would be all that plus type-in traffic and complimentary assets such as a newsletter list.
I won’t deny that every once in a while I think to myself what if Google nuked all (or most) of my sites? (And this isn’t just my tin-foilness–this recently happened to a friend who is much smarter AND more careful than me.) Of course with my CPC campaigns, it’s not really a ‘what if’, but a when ‘quality score improvements’ will crowd out my ROI.
So my resolution for ‘07 (besides working a lot less and earning a lot more) is to build defensibility into my sites–and only touch new projects that are highly defensible. First steps: disown Adsense completely, and hunt for some more juicy type-in domains…
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