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When Is a Niche Site "Niche"?

By Dan Vassiliou | March 25, 2013

As SEO agents and internet marketers we have all asked for the same things when looking to gain a link from another site. Is it Niche related? The question I have for Google, who have filled the internet marketing “sphere” with the information that niche related links are more favorable  is what makes a link niche related?

niche marketing

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I run an SEO online marketing agency. If I want to gain a link from a blog for people running a dog grooming business, and explain in some well written and informative content how they can gain more traffic for their business by using a particular strategy, is that niche related? I mean a dog grooming site has nothing to do with SEO or marketing. The content, however, would be very much to do with my niche, and likely to also encourage some customer traffic. Customer traffic being traffic that may well end up using my services based upon information given in the piece written and linked to my site.

Why Is Niche Relation An Issue Anyway?

For years Google has struggled with blog networks and the mass distribution of the same content on article distribution sites. Google wanted to see content that was relative to the niche of the site the link was going to. Marketers quickly sussed this out and blog networks would spring up with generic blogs that would home niche relevant posts.

The problem with this was that although the post was indeed relevant, (as long as it wasn't spun or copied etc), it was on a blog that had no relevance. So Google in its wisdom began to inform us all that links from sites that were not relevant to the site being linked to would not harbor the value we “SEO crazies” desire for our “ranking juice”. Fair enough you may say. Google would look on sites that, (with some exceptions like Wikipedia or news sites that are of huge authority etc), were not relevant to a niche as being possible blog farms and diminish the link value. This leaves a huge conundrum for many marketers though.

Proper Company Promotion (P.C.P).

As a seasoned internet marketer I “preach” the P.C.P vision to clients. Market a site correctly, target traffic and enhance your brand, and the SEO will look after itself, (offsite Optimization of course), so that you will rank higher organically on the searches. Here’s the thing. I run a search Engine Optimization agency. The last place I want to be promoting myself is on platforms for other SEO agencies. What sort of traffic will I get? Other agencies are hardly likely to purchase my services, unless I am selling products that target SEO agencies, which I am not. I need to target blogs for example that are for small businesses like dentists and vets surgeries. I need to get content in front of directors who read golfing blogs, get seen on sites for car dealerships. None of these sites will have any relevance to SEO or marketing at all.

If Google is going to allow me value for these links, what would be stopping me going all, “Black Hat”, and posting for fun on blogs created for the sole purpose to farm links?? What this all means is that links that would be actually useful to my site, and would be used to attract interested CUSTOMERS, (that’s right folks I am in business to attract customer not seo plaudits), would be seen as little value to helping rank my site. If I was to gain links specifically relevant to my site, yet clearly not targeting customers, where my peers will read it, I could have some decent “link juice”. This is barmy.

What Should We Do Now?

Google need to clarify a lot clearer what exactly will give a site value, with some justification and foresight. Useful content is actually not always going to best serve those searching on sites that are strictly relevant to a sites niche. From a marketing perspective this is obvious. I understand that Google gives the clear impression it is not really interested in the marketing or benefits received by a website on its search engine. It clearly, however, has no qualms about penalising sites it considers to be gaining unfair advantage through “created links”, and it is how it determines this process that has me worried as a marketer, as someone looking to promote content to those who will actually find it useful and help them, (and my business allowing me to post more helpful content), instead of peers  just finding it interesting and assisting my competitors.

A two pronged attack is what seems to be needed now though. This is more costly however. Content and information promoted to sites that probably will not give that much seo value to my search engine rankings to generate traffic that buys, as well as content promoted to niche sites that will, (hopefully), impress my peers and earn my site more authority and higher rankings. I feel that this is something that needs to be looked at by Google, and it is in their interest to do so. If you want people to provide valuable content that is useful to as many searchers as possible, does it not make sense that it is fully valued? Is it not fairer to judge a link more by the traffic it provides a site, than whether the site is strictly within a niche? After all if it is providing traffic back to my site is it not clear that the information that was used is clearly of value, and should be treated as such?

Dan Vassiliou is CEO ofEndurance Seo, and has an agency dedicated to helping foreign businesses access the growing Chinese market place. He has a vast experience in marketing companies into China online, and helping to create effective partnerships with brokers and distributors throughout the country. Dan can also be reached via his Twitter @enduranceseo
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