Some project ideas I just sit on and wait. And since time is money, sitting on a good idea is usually a bad idea. If the idea is good, someone else is probably thinking of it too, and if they beat you to market then you are not remarkable when you launch. Search engines tend to like sites which have organic / editorial inbound links, and sites that they have learned to trust due to their age / history. The simple truth is that most new sites are web spam or duplication of existing sites, adding little value to search indexes. Using links and age as filters helps provide a barrier that makes it harder, more time consuming, and more expensive to rank low quality junk.
The best organic links often happen as a result of social interaction, customer recommendation, or just because the site is already findable in the search results. As Mike Grehan long ago said, when it comes to links, the rich get richer. If an idea is only in your head, and you have nothing on the web, then you have no chance for your idea to generate links, subscribers, or word of mouth recommendations. If an idea is only in your head then you have not shown up to the game, and you are falling further behind each day.
If you launch a domain, publish some content on a blog on it, and submit it to some of the major web directories, then you are at least getting the age clock going on your site. Perhaps asking a couple friends for some nepotistic links would help too. In time as you add more content, link to other related sites, and interact within your community, you will start picking up more links and RSS subscribers. As content management systems evolve, it gets easier to just crank out content and hope that some of it gains traction. Plug-ins like the Wasabi related posts WordPress plug-in make it easy for webmasters to later add structure to a site that started without a solid structure.
Is there value in a strong launch? Yes. But it is easier to launch new ideas after you are already well known. Competition is so fierce that it is hard to launch a new product or service unless you already have some market exposure. Majestic SEO is a great example of this. They have a great product, but did not get anywhere near as much coverage as LinkScape did simply because Majestic SEO was built by an unknown provider new to the SEO market.
Is there value to doing market research ahead of time? Absolutely. It is what can help give you an idea of what business models to consider, and how to organize your website. If you have a small static site then by all means it makes sense to make sure you target important keywords and map them out against your site structure and on page optimization strategy. But if you wait on perfection, then you might never start. And people like to read writing that they can empathize with. If you start creating content when you are new to a field then you build up content that may capture the hearts and minds of people new to your field. Wait too long and people might think you are writing over their heads.
When you think of some of the highest traffic SEO sites, many of them were started before their business models were proven (and in some cases before they even knew what they wanted their business models to be). Build a passionate targeted audience and eventually monetization will follow. Regularly creating content and interacting with people daily ensures that when you try something out you will get quick feedback on if the idea works or not, and how to evolve it. Owning a topical media channel is typically far more powerful then trying to buy exposure within that industry.
Do you have a niche idea in your head right now? If so, what is stopping you from sharing it online today?
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.