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SEO Makes You Smart Part I: Abundance Mentality and the “Progressive Effect”

Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 9 years and 2 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.

Everyone these days wants to be smarter or sexier. I can’t really help you much on the latter, but if you’re reading this site, you’re probably interested in SEO…in which case, I have good news for you…SEO makes you smart! When I started the original draft of this post, it went on so many tangents that I decided to break it into a three part series with “SEO Makes You Smart” being that is what evolved as the thesis.

I think we are really lucky to be SEO’s sometimes. I’m pretty bad at a lot of things. Namely – cooking, cleaning, and anything “handy” among plenty of other things. Luckily I have this great advantage of being able to find out information on the internet extremely well. I also consider myself extremely lucky that I get to learn about and do competitive analysis on a multitude of different industries. In the last month alone I’ve learned about psychotherapy, sports psychology, various aspects of Christmas, knives, sleeping products, insurance, travel destinations, private investigations, staffing and a whole bunch more. What a nice variety of things to keep the days interesting!

Taking a broad view of all kinds of different industries and how they work sure helps to understand how business in general works by getting such a random sampling of what makes a business successful or unsuccessful. What I’ve found at the top of search results in most industries is someone who decided to share what they knew. A lot of the time they unintentionally became an expert in the process by sharing that information. Maybe this is why bloggers think they’re so smart, and blogging has become the new SEO?

Sharing is Smart – The “Progressive Effect”

If there is one thing the internet has done, and continues to do…it is to take away the informational advantage of many of the folks who were formerly “experts”. The new experts, ironically enough, are the ones who are willing to share all the former “secret information” with the rest of the world. This abundance mentality seems to be the mark of someone who is confident enough with their expertise in the craft to give the knowledge to the world. They share what they know, and see if others are willing to challenge it or affirm it.

In my own mind, I sometime refer to this as the “Progressive Effect”. The rationale behind this, is that Progressive Insurance was one of the first web sites that allowed you to look up the prices of all of their competitors along side their own rates (note: not sure if this is historically accurate, I didn’t double check). This seemed very strange at first, mainly because a lot of times they were not the cheapest. What it did for people, however, was put all the cards on the table in front of them in a world full of lots of stacked decks. This made consumers and competitors alike think twice as to if cheaper really was better. It also showed an extreme amount of confidence in their services. The “Progressive effect” was what resulted from this incredibly ballsy move. Similar ballsy moves are being made by (pun intended) progressive thinkers in their own fields who are willing to give away the information that makes them valuable.

Magazines that publish their entire articles online is an example of such a move. They realize that even if subscriptions go down a smidge, the costs associated with them will go down as well, and ad revenues could potentially rise substantially. The abundance mentality tends to have incredible results online (this site being a testament to the abundance mentality). To me, this is one of the biggest benefits that blogs offer for people who truly have some expertise in their respective fields.

Many SEO’s have learned the importance of sharing. SEO’s face the dilemmas of the abundance mentality everyday in our little sewing circle blogosphere. Anyone who shares a secret that they didn’t really want public, and has it made public quickly learns their lesson. We have embraced blogs to the point they are almost a plague, and everyone wants a story for some link love. We all share a TON of information online, because that’s where we all learned most of our craft. Learning to find the specifics of what we are looking for helps to make us smarter. When we need specific information, we have become quite adept and finding it quickly and storing it and retrieving it quickly for future use (more on this in part III).

I know that if I make a completely ridiculous claim with complete arrogance that I would be called out on it quite quickly by my industry peers on their sites. Other industries will still probably be catching up for years to come on these trends. The power of sharing information to become an expert is enormous in many industries. There are people that have already managed to do it in many, many niches and this trend will absolutely continue. Quality content (especially user-generated) and the ability to monetize it is what’s driving the second bubble. Encourage your clients to prove their expertise by giving away that which they would normally hoarde to themselves. The “abundance mentality” is the new “shameless self promotion”. Use the progressive effect wisely.

Coming soon – Part II: Searching Better Makes You Smart

  • -and-
    Part III: Search Information Storage and Retrieval

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    • Mat

      … and staring at monitors all day long makes your eyes tired. Please, please don’t do light text on dark backgrounds.

    • site admin

      Your the second person to tell me that in two days Mat, so I am considering it highly.

      In the meantime…check out the “zap” bookmarklet on this page: http://www.stuntdubl.com/2005/10/03/bookmarklets/

      You’ll enjoy it immensely:)

    • http://www.i-excom.com Luis

      “Quality content (especially user-generated) and the ability to monetize it is what’s driving the second bubble”

      Hi Todd,

      I’m not sure this is a second “bubble”, I think that quality content and also the way to moetize it, really really worths money. It’s really really difficult.

    • http://www.i-excom.com Luis

      “Quality content (especially user-generated) and the ability to monetize it is what’s driving the second bubble”

      Hi Todd,

      I’m not sure this is a second “bubble”, I think that quality content and also the way to moetize it, really really worths money. It’s really really difficult.

    • http://www.twistermc.com Thomas

      “Your the second person to tell me that in two days Mat, so I am considering it highly.”
      Umm… last I heard yo weren’t handy at web design either. ;)

    • site admin

      Yes Thomas, I am a hack. I’m really disliking CSS about now too:)

    • Pingback: SEO Book.com

    • http://www.edinburghsucks.com eurotrash

      Good stuff Todd. I’ll be back – in CA governor accent.

    • Mat

      Thanks – much better – old-fart friendly now.

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