Yes, imagine the World Wide Web without search engines such as Google, Yahoo and Bing. How will you tell the world that your website exists in that small space in the web? Not easy to answer right? For the past years, many of us relied heavily on search engine algorithms, keywords, search phrases and site indexing. Search engines were doing the heavy-lifting for us.
With this, we focused on understanding how search engines will notice our websites. We do market research based on keywords and search phrases that people are typing to find information. Sometimes, we even try to game the system just to get ahead of the curve. In other words, our websites were designed and articles were written to impress search engines and not people.
I recently became a contributor to a local community. Barrio Siete (Village Seven) started May 17, 2009. I volunteered in assisting them with technical and social media related stuff. Barrio Siete is the hottest blog in the Philippine blogosphere today. It earned impressive statistics due to many things many of us forgot to do.
What’s Impressive About it?
Barrio Siete started May 17, 2009 and as of today:
- Alexa Rank = 325,064
- Google PR = 3
- Google Indexed Pages = 1,610
- Inbound Links = 13,301
- Comments: 16,785
- Covered by mainstream media channels for a campaign.
Why It Is Impressive
- No SEO methods implemented. All-In-One SEO pack wasn’t even installed.
- No XML sitemap submission.
- No article submission and RSS submission.
- No entries for important META tags.
- No link building
So, where the hell did those 16,785 comments came from? Awhile ago, I mentioned that they are doing something that many of us forgot doing. To be human and to write for humans. Conversations don’t just happen. If you write stuff for the right people, they will go to you. They will find you and they will talk about you.
How Was It Done?
Before Barrio Siete was created, the founder was active in forums associated with Overseas Filipino Workers or what we call back home as OFW. She relentlessly helps people who are in need of advices and assists those who are in need of her skills. She became an authority and the person to go to. Sometimes they even visit her personal blog just to drop comments and participate in conversations. They were following her wherever she is in the web.
When Barrio Siete was created, it had 22 writers and the target audience is the socio-economic group, perhaps the largest population in the country. Since the writers are from the same group, it wasn’t hard to figure out what kind of information their target audience needs. And since there’s no rule in using English for blogging, they mixed English with our native tongue. Easily understood by many since that’s how offline conversations back home really happen.
So, do they have a deep understanding of their tribe? Oh hell yeah!
The Challenge For Us
People in the social web can learn many things from Barrio Siete. You’ll realize that we forgot to do the first thing we should have done when we started our small space in the web. Let this be a challenge to all of us. What if these search engines are not there? How will people know that we exist? How are we going to create strategies for marketing?