What Does Crowdsourcing Have to Do With Search Marketing?

What does this have to do with search marketing?

That’s what “mfaulds” wanted to know about my last column, “Crowdsourcing Your Search Marketing.”

To mfaulds’ credit, the examples I’d used then had a lot to do with design work. I used those examples because that was the area I was most familiar with.

Since then, I’ve continued my experimentation along this line.

I recently put in a job opening at oDesk to see what the results would be. The company’s home page meta description sums it up pretty well: “oDesk is a global service marketplace for small and medium sized business to hire, manage, and pay remote freelancers or teams. Submit a free job posting and hire from over 25,000 top professionals.”

So, that’s what I did. I posted a job opening for a “Link Building Specialist.”

I chose this arena for two reasons.

  1. I know link building very well. I spent years at SearchEngineWatch.com as one of its link-building experts. Additionally, I’m coming out with a book on the topic soon.
  2. Link building is an area that has a lot of interest for outsourcers. So, I thought I’d get a good response.

I posted this job on June 15. As I write this column, it’s June 22.

So far, I’ve gotten 56 applications. The average hourly rate they’re requesting is: $3.71.

This amuses me because I also recently posted a full-time SEO (define) job on my blog (along with sending it to a multitude of social media outlets). This would most likely be a full-time job. I’m prepared to pay a very competitive salary, plus a bunch of benefits. So far, I’ve gotten zero responses.

Why is it that there are 56 people in other places in the world eager to work for me for $3.71? But I haven’t gotten a single request for a full-time job for someone in Ohio…a place with a considerable unemployment rate at the moment.

I’d also like to add that the people applying for the oDesk aren’t untested.

Arrah Ocampo, from the Philippines, is one of the more expensive applicants. She’s requesting $4.44. But she’s also worked 2,313 hours and gotten an average of 4.23 out of five stars in 20 feedback results.

Here are some of the comments she received:

“I will definitely hire Arrah again for link building.”

“Did a great job. English skills and link building were great. I will hire her again.”

“Completed work with little need for oversight. Good communication in English. Dependable. I will work with them again.”

She is demanding that “high” hourly rate because she probably deserves it.

All that said, I wouldn’t just hand Arrah the keys to my website car and let her have at it.

I’ve started making tutorial videos on link building. I would have her watch those before moving forward.

I’d also want to talk to her about her plans on getting links, to make sure we agreed on the strategy.

Crowdsourcing for a link-building project and crowdsourcing for a design project look different.

When you crowdsource a design project, you post a project and a bunch of people post design examples. You see exactly what they have in mind.

When you crowdsource a link-building project, you can’t really see what it’s going to look like. So, you have to go on things like user reviews and previous experience. This makes the process a little trickier. But it’s still very possible.

Why Am I Interested in This at All?

A case could be made for just focusing on giving jobs to people in my city and state. This was actually one of my key values before the recession.

The 2009 recession made me see things differently. I now believe that there’s little room for idealism in business. Business is a place for innovation and efficiency. Like it or not, the market demands these things. Unless you’re a government entity or non-profit living outside of the marketplace, these realities can’t be denied. Your business will die if you don’t innovate and aren’t efficient.

Will crowdsourcing play a significant role in the future of search marketing? It’s hard to say how much of a role it’s already playing. It might be much bigger than we all realize.

I don’t know what the outcome of all this will be.

But I do know that if we aren’t experimenting, testing, and innovating, one thing’s for sure: our companies won’t be a part of the future.

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