Who's #1 Online for Video Surveillance?

By John Honovich, Published Oct 05, 2012, 12:00am EDT

Who's #1 online for video surveillance? You'll never guess. I can pretty much guarantee that.

Are you thinking old school? Pelco? No.

How about new school? Axis? Wrong again.

Perhaps it's the Wikipedia page for surveillance? Nope.

Maybe a big brand with poor products? Cisco? Getting closer.

The correct answer is Home Depot, proudly re-selling QSee kits [link no longer available] (yet another Dahua OEM), who is the top choice today on US google search results and the beneficiary of tens of thousands of visitors per month looking for video surveillance. Don't believe me, look for yourself:

[link no longer available]

Also, note how dominant ads have become of Google search results, drowning out even the top organic result and pushing companies to buy ads that cost ~$7 per click for the term 'video surveillance'.

Home Depot

Big retailers like Home Depot spends huge amounts of money manipulating massaging search engine results. While it is not clear to me how they got to #1 specifically for video surveillance, Home Depot recently created an uproar on their controversial search engine optimization practices. A while back, a well known SEO consultant criticized Home Depot for having 'shitty SEO'. Evidently no more, Home Depot is working the system like a champ.

The Curious Case of VideoSurveillance.com

This post was triggered by a strange email from videosurveillance.com, another retailer with aggressive SEO practices. Last year, we covered them in a survey of online surveillance retailers and linked to their site so readers could learn more. Now, they objected:

"We are unsure of why these are there and would really appreciate your cooperation in taking these links down"

This sure sounds strange unless you appreciate Google's search engine practices. One's ranking on Google can actually now be hurt by who links to you and how they are doing it. My hypothesis is that videosurveillance.com does not want to be linked from a page that also links to other niche surveillance e-retailers as it might hurt their rank by associating them in that group (which ironically is a correct assessment). Either that or they believe IPVM is simply a bad site. However, since another videosurveillance.com employee reached out last month asking to do a 'guest post' and, of course, get a link back, I suspect they are not objecting to our site (note: we do not allow such SEO posts).

Dealing with Google's wacky ranking practices, companies like videosurveillance.com engage in some crazy practices:

  • The UCF badminton club [link no longer available] and the Colorado University's Women's Volleyball club [link no longer available] link to videosurveillance.com. Those look to be paid links to .edu sites that can help increase ranking.
  • Videosurveillance.com has a "Top Cop Blog 2012 Winners [link no longer available]" and interestingly each of the 'winners' prominently display the award image and a link back to videosurveillance.com. This is solid SEO and could be a paid link scheme in disguise (which would be especially clever).

Given how poor Google's search results have become, its near monopoly on search traffic and the terrible conflict of interest it has from selling ads vs showing organic results, I do not fault any retailer for these practices. If you want to play in Google's rigged game, this is what you need to do.

[Update 2013: Amazon has ascended to the top spot.]

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