Liz Strauss has a fabulous article over at the Blog Herald entitled The Two Webs: Information or Relationships? I recommend that all Performancing members read it and savor it.
The basic gist of the article is that there are two webs: one structural, the other relational. The structural web is the one that a person considers when doing an analytical measurement (e.g. total links, etc.). Unlike the structural web, the relational web is the one that consists of human relationships.
Human relationships can sometimes be represented by the structural web, and algorithms rely on this sort of representation, but the structural web isn’t good at differentiating structural aspects that indicate true human relationship, as opposed to manipulated structure.
The take home point of the article for me was this: those of us who are ultra-analytical tend to place excessive value in the structural web to the neglect of the relational web. We are prone to doing whatever we can to manipulate the structural web (e.g. buying and selling links), while ignoring the reason the structural web acquired value in the first place.
So why does the structural web have value? Because of the way it has been used to measure human relationships and human interests.
Ok, So what…
Well, after several years on the web, it’s my view that you can ultimately achieve more success at the structural level by focusing on the relational level. Sure, focusing on the structural level is easier on the surface, but in the end, I think it takes more work, more man hours, and is a self-perpetuating monster (buy more links to sell more links).
What can you do
Here’s my tip. Get the attention of high profile bloggers in your niche. That should be your number one focus for the first 12 months of blogging on a site. Screw the SERPS. Screw Google. Screw Yahoo. Screw Live. Well, not really, but don’t pay attention to them. Really. Ignore them altogether.
Instead, make it your only priority for one full year to do whatever it takes to get the attention of at least one high profile blogger in your niche. Spend the 10 hours each week you would have otherwise spent on artificial linkbuilding to 1) write good articles and 2) make insightful comments on blogs in your niche.
A Recipe For Success
Focus all your energy on the following:
1. Write good original articles
2. Link out to other blogs in your niche in *every* post
3. Write articles that provide commentary or opinion on articles from other blogs (include link)
4. Comment your ass off at 3-5 other blogs in your niche (but make the comments snappy and good).
5. Once a month, write a great article that deserves to be emailed to a *great* blogger or two in your niche for critical feedback (what do you think of this article?) – Then send the email(s).
I think that with these 5 steps, you’ll locate yourself definitively within the web of online relationships, and become much more successful than with mindless SEO. Sure, mindless SEO gets you a few visits here and there, but unless you are one of the best there’s a terrible ceiling for what you can achieve by trying to do everything within the structural web.
In fact, even the best SEOs have gotten there, in my view, by networking and getting the right friends at the right time, and this can only happen in the relational web.
So here’s to 2007 becoming the year of relationship building and networking! And here’s to your success!