SEO for 2022: Why Not Buy Google Ads and Skip the Baloney

December 17, 2021

There is one game in the US for search. Yeah, I know DuckDuckGo is wonderful. There’s even Bing. And you can still navigate to and enter a search. Same for I am not going to repeat what I have been saying for decades. Primary search does the crawl, the indexing, the query processing, and the results serving. There are a few outfits in this business, but none is known; for example,,,, and a few others.

This article “Why Your Website Must Have an SEO Strategy for 2022” strikes me as pretty darned crazy. If someone repeats a process over and over again and fails, what’s that say about the approach or the person? In my view, crazy seems close to the mark.

The write up says:

The aim of SEO is simple: high SEO ranking brings more traffic and more revenue.

More accurately, SEO produces work for search engine optimization experts. Many of the certified outfits are Google partners. When a temporary boost expires, these professionals will sell Google ads.

There you go.

Why not just buy Google ads and forget the futility of trying to outwit the Google. In case you haven’t notice, the Google along with Facebook are in a prime position to determine who and what gets eyeballs.

Buy ads. Simpler, faster, and cheaper. People with degrees in art history and business communications are no match for Googzilla’s decades of “refinement”.

Stephen E Arnold, December 17, 2021

SEO Tips and Tricks Persist

December 10, 2021

SEO pros are working hard to keep the field relevant, despite the reality that buying Google ads is becoming the only productive solution. Search Engine Journal airily proscribes “5 Essential Enterprise SEO Trends to Watch in 2022.” Oddly, purchasing Google ads is not among the recommendations. Writer Lemuel Park explains:

“In 2022, [enterprise SEO strategy] will involve:

* Improving cross-channel and broader departmental collaboration.

* Advancing workflow and reporting processes and systems.

* Utilizing data and insights in real-time.

* Embracing and working with AI technology and automation.

Challenges in enterprise SEO can vary from organization to organization. However, the commonality is found in areas such as executive buy-in, internal collaboration, and wider digital integration (showcasing impact). With last year’s challenge comes next year’s opportunity – and with that in mind, let’s dig into the 5 key areas of focus to consider as you plan your enterprise SEO strategy for the year ahead.”

Here are the five suggestions: keep pace with search updates/ algorithms and best practices; take advantage of automation; squeeze insights from data; align SEO and Pay Per Click teams; and integrate SEO into all departments. Curious readers can see the write-up for details on each consideration. Some of these, especially the last point, seem like a lot of work. It would be much easier to give in to the Googlers’ machinations. Google Search is their platform, after all; it is no surprise when they tilt it toward their own pockets.

Cynthia Murrell December 10, 2021

Battle of the Experts? Snowden Versus Sullivan, Wowza

November 19, 2021

This is a hoot: “Edward Snowden Dunks on Search Gurus in Hilarious Twitter Clapback.” Mr. Snowden is an individual who signed a secrecy agreement and elected to ignore it. Mr. Sullivan is a search engine optimization journalist, who is now laboring in the vineyards of Google.

The write up makes clear that Mr. Snowden finds the Google Web search experience problematic. (I wanted to write lousy, but I wish to keep maintain some level of polite discourse.)

Mr. Sullivan points out that Mr. Snowden was talking about “site search.” For those not privy to Google Dorks, a site search requires the names of a site like preceded by the Google operator site: At least, that’s the theory.

The write up concludes with a reference to search engine optimization or SEO. That’s Mr. Sullivan’s core competency. Mr. Snowden’s response is not in the article or it could be snagged in the services monitored by the Federal service for supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) in everyone favorite satellite destroying country.

Quite a battle. The Snowden Sullivan slugfest. No, think this is emblematic of what has happened to those who ignore secrecy agreements and individuals who have worked hard to make relevance secondary to Google pay to play business processes.

Stephen E Arnold, November 19, 2021

University of Washington: Struggling with Ethics 101

October 18, 2021

Like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, some professionals at these esteemed institutions are struggling with Ethics 101. A typical syllabus includes such questions as these from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point Introduction to Ethics course:

  • What theoretical principles guide our moral behavior?
  • What makes an action right or wrong?
  • What factors (theoretical and practical) ground moral disputes?
  • Is there hope that we will resolve moral disputes?

The syllabus includes this statement:

If you commit any acts of academic dishonesty (such as plagiarism on written work or cheating on an exam) you will earn a zero for that work (and possibly other disciplinary actions).

Well, this is a basic class. How well did the University of Washington do? (We already know that MIT accepted some Jeffrey Epstein goodness and participated in the digital hair shirt ritual.)

Navigate to “University of Washington Settles DOJ Claims of Grant Fraud.” You will learn that one of those who appears to have flunked Introduction to Ethics engaged in some search engine optimization. I learned from the article:

The University of Washington has agreed to pay more than $800,000 to settle Justice Department allegations that a professor submitted false documentation relating to a highly competitive grant. The grant documents were submitted to the National Science Foundation by Mehmet Sarikaya, a professor in the university’s Materials Science and Engineering Department…

Keep in mind that some academics engage in citation exchanges and other crafty techniques to burnish their reputation as big time thinkers.

If the Department of Justice is correct, the get out of jail card cost the university providing Amazon-type and Google-type graduates a mere $800,000.

A PR-savvy university professional is quoted as saying“The UW takes very seriously the responsibility of stewarding public funding of scientific research,” university spokesman Victor Balta said in an email. “We are grateful this issue was brought to light and pleased to have it resolved.”

Abso-fricking-lutely. “Grateful.”

The issue is one that St. Thomas Aquinas might have enjoyed pondering. Why fool around with Aristotelian ethics when one can do what’s necessary to be a winner. The text of these thoughts might be called Macho invento and authored by a group of recent University of Washington graduates who volunteer their time to advance ethical thought.

Stephen E Arnold, October 18, 2021

Progress: Marketing Triumphs, Innovating Becomes SEO

October 11, 2021

I read “Slowed Canonical Progress in Large Fields of Science.” My take on the write up is different from what the authors intended. The notion of “science” I bring ignores physics, medicine, mathematics, and computational chemistry.

The write up is about marketing, good old-fashioned salesmanship. Don’t take my comment as that of a person annoyed at academics or big thinkers. I believe that the authors have articulated an important idea. I simply view their insight as an example of a a particular manifestation of generating buzz, closing a deal, making a sale, or believing the assertions so common in advertising.

The write up states:

Rather than causing faster turnover of field paradigms, a deluge of new publications entrenches top-cited papers, precluding new work from rising into the most-cited, commonly known canon of the field.

Isn’t this “more is better” similar to generating clicks to a Web page — whether the content of the Web page is germane to a topic or not? I do.

I call this the SEO-ization of knowledge.  Dr. Gene Garfield, the father of citation analysis, did not anticipate search engine optimization becoming the objective of his approach to determining importance in a scientific field.

The write up makes clear that:

As fields get larger, the most-cited papers become durably dominant, entrenched atop the citation distribution. New papers, in contrast, suffer diminished probability of ever becoming very highly cited and cannot gradually accumulate attention over time. Published papers tend to develop existing ideas more than disrupt them, and rarely launch disruptive new streams of research.

The effect of this “entrenchment” is little more than finding a way to get attention in a setting which resists change.

I think that the data presented in the paper provide an insight useful to understanding the vapidity of so-called corporate white papers to the interesting expressions of business ideas on LinkedIn and much more.

Advertising and search engine optimization are the defining characteristics of the last 10 years. The fact that it permeates scientific and technical work is evidence that intellectual endeavors are little more than key word stuffing.

Who “regulates” the behavior? A government agency? The reviewers of a technical paper? The publishers of journals dependent on commercial enterprises for survival? The young researcher who follows the well-worn path?

Search engine optimization-type thinking has been absorbed into the intellectual foundations of scientific and technical disciplines.

Now it’s marketing which is much easier than innovating and discovering. Even Google advertises in the Wall Street Journal. Google!

Stephen E Arnold, October 11, 2021

SEO Relevance Destroyers and Semantic Search

August 18, 2021

Search Engine Journal describes to SEO professionals how the game has changed since early days, when it was all about keywords and backlinks, in “Semantic Search: What it Is & Why it Matters.” Writer Aleh Barysevich emphasizes:

“Now, you need to understand what those keywords mean, provide rich information that contextualizes those keywords, and firmly understand user intent. These things are vital for SEO in an age of semantic search, where machine learning and natural language processing are helping search engines understand context and consumers better. In this piece, you’ll learn what semantic search is, why it’s essential for SEO, and how to optimize your content for it.”

Semantic search strives to comprehend each searcher’s intent, a query’s context, and the relationships between words. The increased use of voice search adds another level of complexity. Barysevich traces Google’s semantic search evolution from 2012’s Knowledge Graph to 2019’s BERT. SEO advice follows, including tips like these: focus on topics instead of keywords, optimize site structure, and continue to offer authoritative backlinks. The write-up concludes:

“Understanding how Google understands intent in intelligent ways is essential to SEO. Semantic search should be top of mind when creating content. In conjunction, do not forget about how this works with Google E-A-T principles. Mediocre content offerings and old-school SEO tricks simply won’t cut it anymore, especially as search engines get better at understanding context, the relationships between concepts, and user intent. Content should be relevant and high-quality, but it should also zero in on searcher intent and be technically optimized for indexing and ranking. If you manage to strike that balance, then you’re on the right track.”

Or one could simply purchase Google ads. That’s where traffic really comes from, right?

Cynthia Murrell, August 17, 2021

Google Search: A Disillusioned SEO Expert Grouses

May 10, 2021

Search engine optimization. Great play by the Google. Lots of “search experts” explaining how to get traffic. When the traffic went away or failed to materialize, these “SEO experts” morphed into Google ad hawkers. Slick. Who knew? Not the SEO crowd but the creeping tendrils of dawning knowledge are now wending their way through GenX and Millennial synapses.

What’s the proof?

I present Exhibit 1, “The Death of Search Engine Optimization.”

The author shows a screenshot of what are, it seems, ads probably loosely connected to the topic about which the user sought information. Then this explanation / commentary:

Notice what has happened to the page design—today, there is not one free organic search result anywhere to be seen on the first page, above the fold (where the computer screen breaks the page).  Every single link on this page is now a paid advertisement—the links in the upper left coming from Google Ads, the links in the lower-left map coming from Google Local, and the links in the right coming from the Google Shopping product feed.  Every single one a paid placement, which is great for Google maximizing their ad revenues.  But, if you want to see an organic search result that is truly based on the quality of the content of the landing page, you need to scroll down “below the fold”, and even then, they don’t start until the bottom of that second screen view after you page down.

The synapses crackle and the author observes: “The death of search engine optimization. Let’s see if Google’s attempt to fleece all of its advertisers for even more money, and further clutter up its user experience, will open up a door for one of their competitors to start growing share in the search industry.  But, until then, the grim reaper is sharpening his blade for the SEO industry.  R.I.P. my dear friend.”

There you go. Insight.

Stephen E Arnold, May 10, 2021

SEO: Yep, Easy Like 1-2-3

April 29, 2021

Much ado about SEO. VentureBeat has teamed up with StackCommerce to offer a training course the publication describes in, “SEO Is Shrouded in Mystery. This Google SEO Training Can Help Answer those Questions.” The post begins by emphasizing Google’s secrecy behind the specifics of its algorithm, lamenting that the company drops tantalizing hints here and there. Of course, they say, “everyone” wants to know how the algorithm works to make the most of their companies’ Search Engine Optimization. We’re told:

“Thankfully, not everything in the world of SEO is flying blind. The training in The 2021 Complete Google SEO and SERP Certification Bundle is an extremely helpful distillation of what a marketer or brand manager needs to know to make their web pages and content search-friendly so they can scale to that search ranking pinnacle. Over 11 courses, this package explains how SEO is done, as well as all the top tools and techniques to make Google algorithms smile on your website and your brand. It starts with SEO Training 2021: Beginner To Advanced SEO and The Complete SEO Course for Beginners 2021: Zero to Hero, where even digital marketing novices can learn the ropes, understanding what known factors go into a page’s SEO ranking and the factors available to move up those Google search results. The training also includes getting familiar with popular SEO tools like Ahref, Alexa, WordAI, Articleforge, and more, some of the most effective ways Amazon sellers market products, and even how to produce simple YouTube videos that can make a surprising impact on your Google search profile.”

There is a lot of razzle dazzle here, but let us provide a little clarity: creating quality, helpful content has always been the key to higher SEO rankings. That is the whole point of the algorithm in the first place, though the SEO industry has been built on gaming that system. The other alternative is even simpler, and probably the one Google would prefer—just buy Google ads for traffic. Mystery solved? Yep, just have $20,000 per month or more.

Cynthia Murrell, April 29, 2021

YouTube Manipulation: The Corrosive Effect of Search Engine Optimization

April 20, 2021

Do you want to get a glimpse of how “relevant” content ends up in your search results? Navigate to “Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods.” Here’s a quote to note:

Mr. Robertson recently boasted in a text that in one day a video
targeting Mr. Jones, the conspiracy theorist he once worked with, had
been viewed over 250,000 times.

The article explains how a person who comes across as an evil individual generated traffic. The information provides a road map to undermine relevance and make a mockery of Google’s vaunted black box for determining relevance.

Let’s call this manipulation of a flawed method for determining relevance what it is:

SEO or search engine optimization.

Take a look at a search results list from your most recent query? What’s relevant? What’s accurate? What’s manipulating you via injections of digital bias?

Years ago professional publishers produced indexes and abstracts of content human measured against specific editorial criteria. Those “standards” and “methods” are long gone.

What’s taken the place of knowledge work? Thumbtypers in the SEO game.

Stephen E Arnold, April 20, 2021

Checklist of Shady Digital Marketing Tactics

April 13, 2021

I think the author of “The Problem With Digital Marketing” wanted to make a positive contribution to the art and science of paying to get attention. The write up identifies four categories of marketing wizards which may cast a shadow over the well intentioned efforts of companies desperate for revenue.

The four buckets of bad things are:

  1. Gunning for a quick payoff
  2. Thinking about money now
  3. Shady search engine optimization methods
  4. Unprofessional behavior or what I call MBA ethical practices.

These four groups of activities are interesting for three reasons. First, the mixture of big things like the lack of an ethical command center and tiny thinks like using Dark Patterns to snooker a Web site visitor into spending money when the user thought he/she was NOT making a purchase are jarring.

The lack of the ethics thing opens the door to many activities not included in the three other buckets; for example, apps which are designed to snag a user’s financial information or the use of email to lure the recipient into divulging access credentials.

Items one and two are essentially the fabric of anyone who has bills to pay, a habit to feed, or a keen desire to ride to the bank in a new Bronco with an M1 MacBook under his/her arm.

Item three is actually the focal point of the write up. If an entity is not in the Google and easily findable by those with a limited vocabulary, that entity does not exist. The same need for findability applies to tweet things, Facebook craziness, and even the hopelessly weird Microsoft LinkedIn.

Distorting relevance, using assorted tricks like buying backlinks from clueless Web site owners, and dabbling in the sale of endorsements from YouTube influencers are probably not helpful to someone looking for an objective results list in response to a query.

So what do I make of this write up?

First, it makes clear that SEO is the way to go.

Second, the use of Dark Patterns or closely allied methods work and often work quite well.

Third, payoffs come when ethics are kicked into the trash surrounding the youth soccer field and email (phishing), apps (vectors of malware), and rhetorical tricks are used. The problem with digital content is a combination of tricks and bad content.

What works is buying Google online ads or becoming famous on YouTube or TikTok. Twitter is a minnow compared to the Google thing.

Stephen E Arnold, April 12, 2021

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