What the Biggest Websites Have to Teach Us

Looking at all the biggest websites in the United States, it’s obvious they all serve different groups of people, yet they all have a common set of online marketing methods from which they work. This is what allows them to become successful, and these are the principles that smaller sites can learn a few things from. These larger companies are not necessarily using complex strategies that are hard to follow. They may be big companies, but businesses of almost any size can implement the same online marketing strategies they are using to their own success.

Big sites that serve as news channels online- Facebook, ESPN, Amazon- are always adding on new pages to their sites. They may even ad as many as thousands or hundreds of thousands of pages each day. There is no way to keep up with all of it and see what is being produced each day. Still, smaller sites should try to be producing content each day- as much as they can handle and still retain the quality. Not all of it has to be in-depth articles. Some can be product pages or user profiles. By implementing additional useful content, the company increases its online reach and makes itself more visible.

Almost all of the biggest websites in the US are hosting content created by their users. They allow their users to create page after page of content that increases their visibility. Not all of those pages hold specific value, but just having that much content out there has its own value in boosting site authority. Some site use sub-domains to accomplish this. Take Google for example, which uses its sub-domain Google+ to allow users to create content for its site. This ties into its main site and is all connected through the same servers. If you give users a way to make their own content, it can be a great way to generate additional content for your site with little effort on your part. You may not have the resources to create a social network on your site. If that’s the case, there are other ways you can have additional content made for your site without making it yourself. You may bring in guest columnists or create forums. Both of these can lead to greater content generation and can create some interesting leads for your site.

One of the most difficult ways for sites to ensure their content is of high quality and that they retain their high rankings is to keep spam under control. The larger the site is, the more it is susceptible to spam. This creates an unpleasant atmosphere for users and gives some users the impression that the company does not care about quality control. It isn’t cheap to block out spambots or monitor user generated content, but it is a necessary part of making your site a pleasant place to visit. There are plenty of tools to use to fight the spambots, but you do have to be careful that you don’t alienate or inconvenience your users much while you try to keep the spam under control. To keep up with the spammers you will need to change your tactics, as sites like eBay and Wikipedia have done. The spambots are going to keep coming, and your site just has to be prepared to deal with them. Google deals with spam as well, as it works to upgrade its algorithms and keep the spammy content ranking poorly. If your site shows up as filled with spam, it can only hurt your search engine rankings.

You may notice that most of the top sites in the US are sites that are relatively old. Very few sites that have made it into the top 100 US sites have been launched within the past six or seven years. Most of them have been around more than ten years. Sites like Craigslist, Facebook and Google have all passed ten years, and this maturity helps them to retain and gain authority. If you are not successful right away, you may just need to tough it out and gain some experience for your site to give it more authority. With time comes increased word of mouth and visibility. It is harder to retain competitive now than it was just a few years ago. Google’s changing algorithms ensure that sites have to stay relevant to rank well, and you can do that in a number of different ways, including some of which we have already covered.

Some of the top sites in the US have achieved their position because they lead in their respective industries. Reddit leads in social bookmarking, ESPN leads in sports, and LinkedIn tops social networking sites with a focus in job employment. Websites that want to do well need to be striving to hit the top of their industry. You may not always be able to overcome or even catch up with your industry’s leader. What you can do instead is achieve the top spot for your niche. Now this is easier said than done, but you should be making sure you are specializing and appealing to your target audience as well as you can to achieve these goals.

Now you want to start small if you are a small business. We just covered specializing to reach your audience more effectively. But as your marketing budget grows and your goals expand, you want to try to reach a larger audience. That is the only way you are going to continue to see growth over time. The sites that rest on the very top of the US site rankings are those that target pretty much everybody. They may have more appeal toward on demographic over another, but they make efforts to appeal to as many people as possible and to offer something that anyone can use. Ideally, that is where you would want your site to be eventually.