Rich has chops in this space. A very good read.
We know this from experience: No one will ever go to Mahalo directly, just as no one ever went to About.com, dmoz, Tripadvisor, Nextag, IMDB or any other vertical or broad-but-shallow site. Google is where everyone starts and Mahalo’s distribution strategy has to be SEO. Its traffic is going to live or die based on SEO skill and Google’s continued favor.
2 thoughts on “Skrenta on Mahalo, SEO, etc.”
The inclusion of IMDb as a “vertical or broad-but-shallow site” that “No one will ever go to… directly” seems off to me. I know it’s anecdotal, but I always go to IMDb directly, as does everyone I know. I can’t remember the last time I used Google for movie info.
Having just done some movie-related searches on Google to compare, I’ll agree that IMDb tends to be top-ranked… But that only implies to me that many, many people are linking to IMDb, which generates PageRank accordingly. If they’re linking, odds are they’re not using Google.
As to whether Mahalo even has a “distribution strategy”… Well, let’s agree with Wittgenstein: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”
Although I think that bunching together vertical and “broad-but-shallow” search is a bit simplistic, I’m also very skeptical towards those who are gung-ho about vertical search. We’ve been down this road before, and while there is a place for vertical search, most people (most of the time) want one source for general information.
On the flip-side, though, the idea that Google will be around forever and has an insurmountable advantage is ludicrous. Yes, Google is the biggest kid on the block by about 17 tons, but Google is barely a 10-year-old company, and it’s been a juggernaut for less than half that time. Just as we had never heard of Google a decade ago, 2015’s powerhouse company is probably hiding in obscurity. The business cycle is only getting faster, and Google, like every giant, will eventually topple.