SEO, Curation, and Algorithms

July 13, 2011

I read an unusual blog post “Sometimes I Really Get It Wrong; My Apology to SEO Industry.” The sentence that caught my attention (albeit briefly) was:

I thought more human-oriented approaches, like Mahalo, would get better results than algorithmic approaches, like Google.

The write up points out a mea culpa:

it’s 2011 now and it’s clear that the Google way of doing things is still better for most people.

Fascinating. Google has a fan. The paragraph I tucked into my “Online Touchstones” was:

I went for cheap SEO tricks. Truth is, if you bash the SEO world they will all link to you, argue with you, etc. (Bloggers even have a name for this: “link bait”). Folks who do SEO as a profession love fighting about that stuff and it almost always works. But, does it really help you get the traffic you want? The reputation you want? No way. Putting up great content, like when I interviewed Mike McCue and told the world about Flipboard is a far more effective way to get good Google Juice. Taking shortcuts just tarnishes your reputation. Anyway, just wanted to say I’m sorry to the SEO industry.

Several observations on this sunny morning in Harrod’s Creek, far from the roiling popularity fish tanks on the left and right coasts.

First, I recall reading in the paper edition of the New York Times about Google’s apparent inability to filter certain types of content. My recollection is addled, but it seems finding a locksmith is allegedly a scam. I just look in the Yellow Pages, but I am in the intellectual dead zone. Use the Google and you may not get the old fashioned service still available in a rural backwater. I am not sure if the locksmith issue, if true, is search engine optimization or a slightly more sophisticated content operation. Doesn’t matter. Humans are doing these alleged actions and the Google algorithms are either on vacation or watching “Lizard Lick” reruns on Tru TV.

Second, the Google+ service is Google’s most recent attempt to get involved with human centric content generation. The social part is nice, and it is alluring to those looking for “connections”, but there is the content part. Humans are generating lots of data. The “lots of data” part translates to money because algorithms and scripts can generate ad revenue. The algorithm part makes money. I am not so sure about the relevance part anymore.

Third, my view of search engine optimization is that traffic makes jobs. When traffic to a Web site declines, search engine optimization kicks into gear. Adwords and Google love become an “organic” and logical response when organic methods no longer work.

Net net: information originates with humans via intent or as a consequence of an action. Machines can generate meta information. Now the trajectory of the Internet is moving toward broadly based human functions: talking. Finding is important, but it is a sub function. SEO is going to have to work overtime to recapture the glorious years of BP 2009. “BP” is before Panda. Brute force search is not where it is at. AltaVista-style finding will remain, but the datasphere is more human centric than algorithmic. HAL? HAL? What’s with the nursery rhyme.

Stephen E Arnold, July 13, 2011

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2 Responses to “SEO, Curation, and Algorithms”

  1. SEO, Curation, and Algorithms : Beyond Search on July 13th, 2011 3:49 pm

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  2. SEO Services Brisbane on August 11th, 2011 2:47 am

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