Internet Land Rush

In 1889, around 50,000 people rushed toward what is now Oklahoma to claim their piece of the 2 million acres of The Unassigned Lands. Some of these land rushers, known as “Sooners” gained an upper-hand by arriving at the unoccupied lands before the rush had “officially” started. This led to all sorts of legal fights over the validity of Sooner claims.

The term persists today and has been enshrined by its adoption by various athletic teams.

LexBlog President, Kevin McKeown, recently shot me an interesting Chad Pollitt article from social media today on How Top Ranking Brands Like Moz and HubSpot REALLY Do SEO.

Pollitt knows his stuff and I encourage you to read the article.

But what really got me thinking was his reference to Marcus Sheridan’s Digital Sooner idea.

The internet is still relatively young. And the read/write web is even younger.

Right now, we are overloaded with “stuff” to read online. And the amount of “stuff” continues to grow.

Most of us can barely consume and comprehend a fraction of what is published to the web any given day.

So, we are forced to make filtering choices.

We filter out sites that we don’t feel we can rely upon.
We filter certain out certain authors who we don’t respect.
We filter certain out certain people who we don’t trust.
And we filter out certain businesses that are making noise, but not signal.

Everyone is rushing to claim digital land. But many less will actually stake valid long-term claims to our digital attention.

Many businesses “get” the idea of “being” online.

Publish content? Check.
Claim social media profiles? Check.
Start a blog? Check.

They think of internet marketing is like manufacturing.

Increase volume. Reduce costs. Automate.

And this approach might even work, at least for a little while.

But people wise up. Search engines wise up. Noise gets filtered.

Even “Digital Sooners” will lose their “digital land.” At least in terms of meaningful attention (admittedly, they might still have 1,000s of worthless pages/posts).

So, while I do believe that this rush is on, and your time to take advantage of this opportunity is limited, keep in mind that being first isn’t necessarily best.

In fact, in many way, being first is more dangerous and difficult.

Dangerous to your reputation. Difficult in terms of not knowing what will resonate and work.

That is why it is so important to identify and measure online KPIs. No, not merely Twitter followers and links in a vacuum.

But perhaps, engagement on Twitter and meaningful organic search traffic. Meaningful in that it meets or exceeds a real business or marketing goal.

Get online? Sure.

Get online in a way that people are telling you is awesome, useful, helpful, entertaining, informative? Absolutely.