Big Fish Own Thought Currents Easily

Author: Gab Goldenberg

Aaron Wall hasn’t written extensively on WP blog security in the past, to my knowledge. However, he knows it’s a topic likely to be popular with the general blogger community and not too technical to push them away, while still being meaty and fresh enough to appeal to his regular SEO audience.
Hence, he wrote a feature-length blog post about WP blog security. And like yours truly, I’m sure many others will be linking to it.

Why? Why not link to other, more deserving wordpress blog security bloggers? Well, because Aaron’s bigger. Is that fair? No – others probably have written about it longer, more in depth, or better by a number of other metrics.


But Aaron has my attention, and that of 1000s of others. I have no clue who the relevant security oriented bloggers might be besides I had to think about who the relevant pros were on the topic. People like Andy Beard, who’s been writing about WP blog security for ages. 5ubliminal is pretty savvy, though he might be more inclined to break into your site, afaik. Then there’s ha.ckers, a huge name in the web security field…

The point is that when you’re big and hold people’s attention on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to either appropriate a idea – many fewer people know about Andy than do about Aaron – or else become strongly associated with it. If someone has to the choice between linking to the person who has their attention right now, vs thinking about who the best source on something is so as to link to them, guess who gets the link?

4/5 times, it’s Aaron over Andy. They’ll link to the person who has their attention. It’s easier. Usability’s “Don’t Make Me Think” principle applies to link building as well.

And notice that on a related note, ha.ckers gets a link because they have that distribution – again, because they’re big, not necessarily more savvy about WP-specific exploits.

Come to think of it, this is the same thing giving Wikipedia all those links. Well, to help you get off the Wikipedia crutch, here’s 100 sites to use instead of Wikipedia. And as Wiep suggested so intelligently, you’ll need to out-Wikipedia Wikipedia to outrank it, in many situations. Here’s a plugin for creating a table of contents at the top of your post, thus increasing usability, just like Wikipedia.

Of course, there’s other times that it pays to be small, as Seth Godin highlights. That relates more to your own thinking, however, rather than others’ thinking.

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  1. The worst part of it is that quite often the bigger fish can often get away with having huge holes in their articles, or possibly even mistakes. I don't think the cloaking is new I haven't studied Aaron's article in depth, I know I do a number of security things differently, though I haven't written much about it - maybe some of the other articles cover that better.

    Comment by Andy Beard - October 23, 2008 @ 10:35pm
  2. Hey Andy, Nice to see you drop by my blog! You're right of course that there can be mistakes in their articles, which makes sense since they're writing for an audience that's often new to the topic. Interesting to hear you don't think the cloaking's anything new... you mean to say you've seen it before? Perhaps you might write a post offering some constructive criticism on Aaron's blogpost, and write your own feature-length guide to it. Get the newbs and pros to know who the veteran WP security guy they should be linking to / citing is (no offense Aaron, just saying Andy's more authoritative here) :).

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - October 24, 2008 @ 2:37am
  3. I had to read the sentence "And as Wiep suggested so intelligently, you’ll need to out-Wikipedia Wikipedia to outrank it, in many situations." 3 times before I could get my head around it, but got there in the end! I think what Aaron did there was open up the discussion on blog security and it wasn't like he didn't link-out to more qualified/specialist bloggers. I personally can't spend every day reading blogs (although I do tend to do a hell of a lot!)...but it's good that those non-specific topics do creep in to the content that I read to add to my ever-growing things to do's! Regarding linking-out, you're absolutely right. Essentially this article could be called "The Laziness in Linking" or "Convenience before Link Quality"...maybe that last one's not totally right but you have a good point. As a link-builder for various smaller and medium-sized sites, much of the link-building has to be a bit more forced, and is never easy! But is absolutely required to build the credibility to be linked into so easily...inbound links certainly do tend to grow exponentially. Cheers Gab, Ben M [Gab: Valuable comment from this SEO Consultant - dofollow for ya.]

    Comment by Ben McKay - October 28, 2008 @ 1:07pm
  4. You're right that he linked out, so that helps subject matter experts get exposure. My point wasn't criticizing Aaron though, but rather just highlighting how being big helps him gain links more easily.

    Comment by Gabriel Goldenberg - October 28, 2008 @ 2:10pm
  5. Hi Gab, Couldn't agree more... (And cheers for the link - I should really put some time into sorting this site out very sooon!) Ben

    Comment by Ben McKay - October 28, 2008 @ 6:01pm

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