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By: Paige Filler
Once Upon A Time
Years ago, I remember a rumour about a guy who bought 21stcenturyfox.com, 22ndcenturyfox.com and 23rdcenturyfox.com then sold them to the Fox Broadcasting for millions of dollars. - I don't know if it's actually true or not (I can't find much online), but it caught my attention all the same.
Back in 2005
I read an article called Predictive SEO by Michael Gray, that was nearly 3 years ago. People call it predictive SEO, copywriting or clever blogging. Since then I have noticed not enough is discussed about this topic, although it's something many SEOs do naturally that often brings huge rewards.
Fast Forward to 2009
Competing for links and great content has become far more difficult recently, especially with big publishers and media companies becoming heavily involved with social media, (have you seen the digg homepage recently?).
Getting content *hot* on social media can require hundreds of votes quickly, something that is difficult even for professional search and social marketers. Submitting early doesn't always mean a win, bigger publications often steamroll over you with their version of your news, leaving you diggless. Rumor sites use these tactics all the time.
How Budding Nostradamus' Would Get Traffic and Rankings
I want to focus on a smaller, sharper angle. I have no interest in waiting 20 years to benefit from the traffic peak for the 2028 Olympics, (as I'm sure you don't), so I'll choose something a little closer to home. I also don't want to compete with the head terms, so...
The central essence to predictive copywriting: Picking something that doesn't exist yet, but will soon. The cleverer the choices you make, the easier it will be to do. Only 10 people are going to rank on page 1 for Iphone 2 and I'm willing to bet it is not going to be you (or me for that matter).
However, Pink Iphone Nano is a little easier and Purple IPhone Nano 2 is easier still. (Notice those rumor sites still at it?). Targeting the right terms is like sitting on a rocket that's yet to launch, to light the fuse you have to know what to choose and time it right, (a little luck always helps).
How To Do it Effectively
1. Publish Fast - The early bird catches the rank. If you are the first to publish, you may become the first to get noticed, the first to be indexed and even the first to rank. Do it repeatedly and you will generate an audience of early adopters (and we all know how useful that can be).
A little tip: With the day starting earlier the further East you go, the earlier you are likely to pick up the news. You can get up at 11am in London and be published hours before any of the big U.S. publications. As most press releases are published in the morning, even being in New York while writing about LA can have its advantages.
2. Get That Post Indexed As Quickly As Possible - (It stands to reason the first site to rank for a new query is likely to be one of the most relevant - particularly on newer and smaller queries). You can ping Google et al these days to get indexed almost instantly creating self reinforcing rankings.
Truthfully the method you use to get new information is not the key element to look at (though insider sources can always help), it is this: Being at the top of 300 results is much easier than climbing 3 million, once there you are more likely to stay.
3. Grab A Few Links to The Post - (With accurate anchor text is ideal). Use friends blogs, collegues sites, or social network sites suited to your news. Even if you don't get a home page, you can get a spidered link (redirects and nofollows won't help) with on-topic keywords on an on-topic page, which is likely to index very quickly. (These often rank - and can even outrank you). You may not need to submit if your feed is automagically pulled into the social network in question. Acquire links quickly to those posts and submissions too if you can.
4. Rinse and Repeat - Before long, if your info is good you should start to see traffic increasing for highly targeted terms that are yet to become highly competitive. (By the time your *authority* competitors are pushing your listing down, you should already be on to the next big thing).
Some Advantages to This Method
- Being first often implies credibility. Being accurate and first guarantees it.
- 20-25% of search terms are *new* - That's a huge amount of traffic no one knows about yet.
- This method gives you plenty of time to build relevant links to your breaking news.
- You don't need a keyword related domain, instead you can focus on a brandable one.
- Getting rich beyond your wildest dreams (ok, this one may not be true, but I know people that have taken a site from no traffic to 2,000 daily uniques in less than 2 weeks within competitive industries - without having to rank for competitive terms).
If you do all this quickly you should see very rapid results, instead of that mildly depressed look you get when you realize there are 5.89 million places to go to rank top for copywriter.
And as a bonus for getting this far, here are a couple of extra tips:
Get a good ping list for your blog (make sure google blog search is included of course).
Topics to Avoid
The idea is to avoid topics and terms which have had rankings for years that you will need to climb over. Anything old means anything too static and already sewn up, (often one word terms or what people consider "extremely competitive").
Some Industries You Can Work Right Now
- Cell Phones (check FTC listings or phone manufacturer sites)
- Anything technology related (there's always a new version of something)
- Books, TV and media (Equipment, shows and people)
- Politics (Someone in the Obama camp knows
- White Goods (fridges, freezers, microwaves anything serial numbery that's worth something)
Pretty much anything that is named systematically and hasn't been released, but stands a good chance of becoming real, (Transformers 2). Even if a company skips a number in the sequence, consumers often don't (and will search for the mythical product).
In essence this tactic isn't new, in fact it has been around forever (longer than the Internet, that's for sure). It's done everyday and is only going to become more common (and harder to accomplish).
Hopefully, that wasn't too painful, I know it's a long post and you are already busy writing some predictive copywriting. You made it this far, so I'll throw in an extra tip to say thanks for your time:
You can play both sides of the coin and cover all your bets.
In the true spirt of the social web, if you are already predicting, then share a few niches or tips in the comments below. I promise, I won't tell anyone, it'll be our little secret.
Paige Filler is an (un) professional copywriter who specializes in social media and results- based writing while riding elephants bareback across the Spanish countryside.