We’ve only recently begun exploring this option, and as you can see, position 14 is nothing to really brag about.

But we’re playing a long game.  went live a few months ago. It hasn’t landed on page one yet, but our hope is that we’ve created something that will build backlinks over time, and that we can update and re-promote year after year. And each time we update it, we’ll optimize the on-page copy to make sure it’s strongly positioned to succeed in search.As with most of the strategies referenced in this section, it’s still too soon to attribute success to this, but it’s something to think about. If other sites can create comprehensive lists that feature their own product, you can, too. It’s just a matter of creating said list strategically, and then promoting it and monitoring performance over time.

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3. Infiltrate others’ lists

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Or at least try by brokering your media strengths in exchange for a spot on their page one listing.

We’ve had mixed success here. In some cases, the promise of a link exchange, a guest blog post, or a guest appearance on our podcast were enough to get us included on a strategic on those lists is great, as it gives us more visibility on SERPs for high-value keywords. But much to our existential chagrin, publishers have (on more than one occasion) flat-out told us we need to pay to be listed on their site. I’ll save the far-reaching, philosophical implications of this for Part 3 of this post.For now, my advice is to add what we’ll call “referral SEO” to your existing backlink efforts. Think of it as targeted brand mentions. Your targets are based on what list is ranking for a keyword that is highly important to you. Once you’ve earned your placement, keep an eye on your referral traffic from that source.

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Part 3: What does this mean for the future of SEO

Answer: It’s complicated — and a potentially explosive subject.

  1. As directories and lists capture more page one SERP territory, they’re looking to cash in. One publisher literally told us they’d consider putting us on one of their lists if we paid them $3,500. Does Google care about that? Worse, at what point does commercial SEO become a pay-to-play situation, whereby if you want your company on a SERP, you have to pay your way onto someone else’s page.
  2. When should you stop investing in certain commercial landing pages Like I said, commercial pages are going extinct on the SERP for one of our most important keywords, “content marketing agency. For now, we’re in position three. But we’ve seen all but one of our competitors get knocked onto page two. What happens then.

I can’t answer these questions confidently, but here goes:

like to think the answer to the first question is that Google will catch on to what’s happening here, and start penalizing lists and directories that are presenting results based on who’s paying them, as opposed to what might actually be the best, most meaningful result for that query. But I have no idea if or how Google will do that.

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For the second question, we’d have to shift our keyword target. At some point, we may need to bow out and understand where we can’t compete with these directories head-on, and assess whether there’s another keyword of equal value that we should target first answer is hopeful and tenuous, and my second opens the floodgates to a whole lot of future work. But unfortunately, that’s the best we can do right now.

The final takeaways

Yes, there is some evidence that lists are now more prominent on page one for commercial keywords.Yes, there is something you can and should do about it.

and as always with organic SEO, you have to keep playing the game and run alongside the SERPs. Improve your rankings in directories. Get listed in new directories. Make some lists. Trade some backlinks. Get wily and start infiltrating some , we don’t quite know what this means for the future of can really do is stay informed, stay data-driven, and keep updating your strategies to have a fighting chance of maintaining some sort of presence on page one for your most important commercial keywords.

About Dominick Sorrentino —

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Dominick Sorrentino is Brand & Product Director. He launched, and oversees, a company-wide social proof and sales enablement program, and has helped double newsletter-subscription rate. His areas of expertise include branding, sales enablement, web analytics and copywriting.