When it comes to SEO, you generally get a fair bit of warning if somebody begins to compete with you (or you should, if you have your systems in place) – A common myth in SEO is that you can no longer storm into a market.
While it may be true that SEO takes time, and this won’t change any time soon, it is possible to storm a market un-noticed.
Best illustrated with an example – and one I’m unfortunately not responsible for.
The story takes place in a market I’ve been competing in for almost two years – “Skip Hire” – one in which competition has been heating up dramatically since Mark Attwood began giving talks on the success of his online skip hire business (Which has since, ironically, gone into administration nearly £1,000,000 in the red.)
In the first viewable version of the political website promoting Anthony ‘Skip’ Scirroco for a position as the commissioner of public works in the united states, there is no reference to “skip hire” whatsoever. His website was Skip4DPW.com
Thank you Archive.org for giving us this awesome retrospective data from June 10th 08 http://skip4dpw.com/”http://web.archive.org/web/20080610011702/http://skip4dpw.com/
My research shows that in January 2008 “Skip” Scirroco had been appointed to the position for which he was petitioning with his website, which leads me to believe the website no longer held any value to Anthony Scirroco and the registration was let lapse.
A little over a month after the first viewable cache of the website, the next cache, which was taken on Jul 15th 08, shows that Anothony’s nickname seems to have grown a little. Now known as Anothony “Skip Hire” Scirroco… with five uses of the new term “Skip Hire” on the home page.
Another Archive.org piece of history from Jul 15th 08 http://web.archive.org/web/20080715124752/http://www.skip4dpw.com/
Around the same time I recall watching notifications popping up to let me know somebody was SEO’ing for the term “Skip Hire” – In retrospect it should have seemed too bizarre – a guy with the nick name “Skip Hire” – but the website was US targeted, seemed somewhat legit, and wasn’t ranking in my target markets.
But then a few months later, something happened…
On the 18th of July, 2009, the domain name Skip4DPW.co.uk was registered, and the old domain Skip4DPW.com was 301 redirected to this new domain name.
The market is very competitive and since I’ve been responsible for a lot of the competition I know intimately how competitive it is. With that in mind, Skip4DPW.co.uk stormed the SEO listings and hit 6th place overnight – as was expected it did slide down since then, but still olds 8th position last time I checked.
So how can we translate this example into a strategy?
1. Buy a slightly ambiguous domain name in a foreign market (If your market is the US, buy a UK domain name, and vis-versa)
2. Build a website on that domain name with a misleading story to throw off your competition should they ever notice (most wont)
3. Build links to the diversion website with your keywords
4. Wait for a while (continue building links)
5. 301 redirect the old domain name to the new local domain name with a commercial website
6. Continue building links to the new domain name (which doesn’t appear to have happened with skip4dpw.co.uk
While this is an interesting strategy, it will only really be worthwhile in a market that is competitive and is likely to be tracking competition and reacting to threats. I may also be a good option if you don’t intend to compete within that market for 12+ months.
With that in mind I’ve been building a lot of stewing pot businesses, where I’ll build a website and begin link building, with a view to revisiting those sites a year or more down the line. Instead of making my presence known, maybe this strategy could prove to be a safer option?
Will it last? Sure, why not? Search Engines can’t begin punishing people for switching domain names, since so many companies build new websites on new domain names.
While I don’t know who was responsible for this masterful trickery, I have a few inklings and I would LOVE to chat to the perpetrator.