Thursday, March 4, 2010

Did Google Steal My Soul?

I came across this interesting write up on Site Reference and figured I would share it.

I wasn't looking for Google... but Google was looking for me.

Google seemed very austere. No flashing banners, no blinking buttons, no prettiness at all in fact, but very COOL non-the-less. Less is more. Clothed in simple green and blue, I liked Google right away.

Google said that I could search all of the world's information that was currently online. Google said that one day, in the near future, the sum of all human experience, the totality of all knowledge would be safely stored, managed and maintained by Google.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Later Google said to me that I could use a new 'threaded' email system that would give me 2Gb of web memory space so that I need never ever delete another email. All of my emails could be kept for the record, on the record forever.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Still later Google said to me that I was so cherished that I could have a calendar in which I could input all of my appointments and tasks and all of my contacts of friends, family and associates. I could access this information from any computer, anywhere in the world at any time.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Soon Google gave me Docs for me to write, analyse, plan and present with complete ease and accessible by anyone whom I authorised. My friend and I could collaborate and work on the same document together even if he was in Tokyo and I am in London.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Google encouraged me to use Chrome as my browser of choice as all other browsers are... so steam-aged. Google convinced me that I needed speed in my browsing experience. This is the fastest loading browser on God's Green Earth they said. I hate Redmond so I was cool with that.

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Over the years Google has given me Alerts, Books, Blogger, Checkout, Custom Search, Desktop, Earth, Finance, iGoogle, Images, Maps, News, Product Search, Scholar, Toolbar, YouTube and also Groups, Picassa, Reader, Sites, SketchUp, Translate and more...

Wow! I said. What do you want in return? Nothing said Google. Google love is yours for FREE.

Google just kept on giving and giving and giving...

Over the years Google and I have become very close, so close that Google now knows more about me than I probably do myself.

Who I am, who my friends and family are: Gmail, Contacts, Calendar, Checkout, Streetview. Google has a record of all of my personal information including banking and financial affairs. My calendar holds up to date contact information on all of my family, friends and business associates. It knows where they all live and what their houses and streets look like.

My financial affairs: AdSense, AdWords, Checkout, Streetview. Google knows where I work, what I do and how much money I make, where that money comes from and why. Google knows where I work, from which office and what it looks like.

Where I am, what time, with whom, for how long: Calendar, Latitude, Maps, Gmail, Earth, Search. Google knows where I am from my calendar but also from the computer I am using it can tell which city I'm in, how I got there, which websites I visit, how long I stayed there and which language I read in.

What I read and talk about: Google News, Gmail, Blogger, Search, GTalk, Voice. Google knows what type of news I am interested in. It knows what subjects I read about. It knows and has back ups of every single email that I have sent or was sent to me and by whom at what time and what the content was. These are packaged in 'conversations' so are all related to each other.

What my interests are: Search, Blogger, Voice, Picassa, Gmail, Chrome, Docs, Checkout. Google tracks every search I make and which links I click to and for how long. Google knows my shopping habits, what I buy, where they are delivered to and how much it cost. It deduces my spending budget and financial thresholds.

What I watch and when I watch: YouTube, Search, Chrome. Google notes what I look at on YouTube and how many similar videos I watch. It can deduce from this what kind of TV and movie shows I would be interested in and when they should be promoted to me. Every search is logged and recorded.

Cross-referenced and cross-correlated Google can infer from this arsenal of digital information my complete make-up as a person and a Google user.

The listing above is not exhaustive and I'm sure you can point out other areas of Google dominance. Hint: Google Health, Google Mobile, Google Wave, Chrome OS... get my drift?

You might think that, knowing all of the above as I do, I am against Google but you'd be wrong. Apart from the China censorship scandal, I actually believe that, on balance, Google is a worthy entity and on the whole makes life easier for most. Right now, it is a benevolent power.

I'll panic when the Google board members consider changing the name to SkyNet.

Okay, so call me paranoid but I still don't believe that Google is all that "not being evil". I honestly believe that they know too much and am a little concerned with what they may do with that info - not so much on a personal level but as a whole.

Just because I'm paranoid, doesn't mean that they're not all coming for me!

Monday, March 1, 2010

SEO for Dummies

I don't usually scrape content, but I'll at least offer some link love - SEO for Dummies from Hobo SEO Company.

I actually hate talking to customers about technical SEO. It’s fairly simple stuff but I always feel as if the technical bits get in the way sometimes.

I wanted to share some thoughts about SEO and how I think about it. A lot of it comes down to trust in my book.

* Use common sense – Google is a search engine – it is looking for pages to give searchers results, 90% of it’s users are looking for information. Almost all websites will link to relevant information content so content rich websites get a lot of links – especially quality links. Google ranks websites with a lot of links (especially quality links) at he top of it’s search engines so the obvious thing you need to do is ADD A LOT INFORMATIONAL CONTENT TO YOUR WEBSITE.

* I think ranking in organic listings is a lot about trusted links making trusted pages rank, making trusted links making trusted pages rank ad nauseum for various keywords. Some pages can pass trust to another site, some pages cannot. Some links can. Some cannot. Some links are trusted to pass ranking ability to another page. Some are not. YOU NEED LINKS FROM TRUSTED PAGES

* Google engineers are building an AI – but it’s all based on simple human desires to make something happen or indeed to prevent something. You can work with Google engineers or against them. They need to make money for Google but unfortunately for them they need to make the best search engine in the world for us humans as part of the deal. Build a site that takes advantage of this. What is a Google engineer trying to achieve with an algorithm – it was an idea first. What was that idea? Think like a Google engineers and give Google what it wants. What is Google trying to give it’’s users? Align with that. What does Google not want to give it’s users? Don’t look anything like that. THINK LIKE A GOOGLE ENGINEER & BUILD A SITE THEY WANT TO GIVE TOP RANKINGS.

* Googe is a links based search engine. Google doesn’t need content to rank pages but it needs content to give to users. Google needs to find content and it finds content by following links just like you do when clicking on a link. So you need to first make sure you tell the world about your site so other sites link to yours. ACCEPT LINKS FROM ANYWHERE – JUST DON'T RECIPROCATE JUST ANY. But don’t worry about reciprocating to more powerful sites or even real sites – I think this adds to your domain authority – which is actually better to have than ranking for just a few narrow keyterms.

* Everything has limits. Google has limits. What are they? How would you go about observing them or even testing, breaking them or benefiting from them or being penalised by them? It’s not a lab setting – you can’t test much, if anything, 100% accurately, but you can hypothisise based on the sensible approach bearing in mind what a Google engineer would do, and what you would do if Google was yours.

* The best way for Google to keep rankings secret ultimately is to have a randomness to it while keeping somethings stable – surely the easiest way for it to prevent a seo finding out how it works. Well I think that anyway. And I think this randomness manifests itself in many ways. What will work for some sites might not necessarily work for your sites – not exactly the same anyway. Perhaps no two sites are the same (the conditions are different for a start for any two sites) and I’m actually thinking about how to test this for a bit of fun.

* Google may play dice with the Google multi-verse so be ware of that. It uses multiple results and rotates them and serves different results to different machines and browsers even on the same computer. Google results are constantly shifting – some pages rank at the top constantly because they are giving Google what it wants in a number of areas or they might just have a greater number and diversity of more trusted links than your do.

* Google has a long memory when it comes to links and pages and associations for you site – perhaps an infinite memory profile of your site. Perhaps it can forgive but never forget. Perhaps it can forget too, just like us, and so previous penalties or bans can be lifted. I think (spending on the site because Google can work out if you have a blog or a e-commerce site) Google probably also looks at different history versions of particular pages even on single sites WHAT RELATIONSHIP DO YOU WANT TO HAVE WITH GOOGLE? Onsite, don’t try and fool Google – we’re not smart enough. Be squeaky clean onsite and make Google think twice about bumping you for discrepancies in your link profile.

* Earn Google’s trust. Most of our more lucrative accounts come from referrals from clients who trust us. Before clients told them of us, they didn’t know about us. ok, they might have heard about us from people in turn they didn't trust that much. Upon the clients testimonial, the referral now trusts us a lot more. These referrals automatically trusts us to some extent. That trust grows when we deliver. The referral now trusts us very much. But it’s an uphill struggle from that point on to continue to deliver that trust and earn even more trust because you don’t want to dip in trust – it’s nice to get even more and more trusted. Google works the exactly the same way as this human emotion, and search engines have tried for years to deliver a trusted set sites based on human desire and need. MAKE FRIENDS WITH GOOGLE

* Don’t break Google’s trust – if you’re friend betrays you, depending on what they’ve done, they’ve lost trust. sometimes that trust has been lost altogether. If you do something Google doesn’t like like manipulate it in a way it doesnt want, you will lose trust, and in come cases, lose all trust (in some areas). For instance, your pages might be able to rank, but your links might not be trusted enough to vouch for another site. DON”T FALL OUT WITH GOOGLE OVER SOMETHING STUPID


* When Google trusts you it’s because you’ve earned it’s trust to help it carry out what it needs to carry out in the quickest and most profitable way. You’ve helped Google achieve it’s goals. It trusts you and it will reward you by listing your contribution in order of the sites it trusts the most. It will list friends it trusts the most who it knows to be educated in a particular area at the top of these areas. IF GOOGLE TRUSTS YOU IT WILL LET YOUR PAGES RANK AND IN TURN VOUCH FOR OTHER FRIENDS GOOGLE MIGHT WANT INFORMATION ON.

* Google can be fooled and manipulated just like you can but it will probably kick you in the gonads if you break it’s trust – as I probably would. Treat Google as you would have it treat you. REMEMBER IT TAKES TIME TO BUILD TRUST

I of course might be reading far too much into Google and trust….I consider trust to be a psychological emotion Google is trying to emulate using algorithms based on human ideas.

If you do all the above, you’ll get more and more traffic from Google over time.

If you want to rank for specific keywords, you’ll need to be a big brand, be picked out by a big brand and linked to, or buy links to fake that trust, or get spammy with it in an intelligent way you won’t get caught.

I suppose Google is open to the con just as any human is, if it’s based on human traits...

Simply put, so bloody well said mate!