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I'm hating search engines and I don't want to

 12:47 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I love everything about building websites, well I used to anyway, but lately I'm actually hating the extra effort and worry the search engines themselves are causing.

I just want to build sites about subjects I like in a way I enjoy and that my visitors enjoy, in fact that's how it should be. Lately, perhaps because of changes such as Panda, I'm second guessing my every post or article.

Did I use my keywords enough? Did I use the H tags appropriately? Did I happen to write anything that is similar to something someone else wrote on another site? Will this article fit in with what an algorithm thinks my site is about? Did I use a title that had been used before? Etc, you get the idea. It's just not as fun anymore.

The competition is stiff too, because of money there are some big outfits, even Wall st backed outfits, who Google up any site that gets remotely good stats and/or metrics. Social media means I can't even just write an article anymore, I have to make it enticing to people who aren't even on my site.

What is draining from the experience the most is that if you don't do it all you will get fewer visitors, if any. Instead of giving 100% to my own site in a manner I want to I have to give it what, 70% and the other 30% goes to pleasing search and social? Or is that 60/40?

I understand that search is evolving to protect it's own interests but who is looking out for the webmasters that don't want to change how they build sites (and neither do their regulars) ?



 5:24 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I want to share a Zen parable that I think relates. Once there was a caterpillar crawling alone happily. A wise owl sat in a tree above the caterpillar's path. He looked down and asked "how do you ever know which leg to move next?" At that point the caterpillar tried to answer, and quickly became paralyzed. He could not walk at all.

Sounds like analysis paralysis is affecting you.

[edited by: tedster at 2:27 pm (utc) on May 13, 2011]


 8:29 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I understand that search is evolving to protect it's own interests but who is looking out for the webmasters that don't want to change how they build sites (and neither do their regulars) ?

Sorry to break it to you, but the answer is no-one. Protect your own interests because no-one's going to protect them for you.

Search is becoming "Walmartized". Big companies are maturing in terms of web development and SEO expertise. Being good at SEO is no longer a competitive advantage, as companies with larger budgets and more firepower are also starting to focus on SEO. Completing the pincer movement is Google, who with every update are focusing more on brands and "trusted" sites.

The idea of building a business around a well SEO'd mom and pop sized website is going to start dying in the same way building mom and pop grocery stores has. You either need to get smarter or get more resources (e.g. VC funding). That is unfortunately the new normal.


 8:55 am on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I feel the same way Sgt. The past few months have really soured me on the web. It's not something that's going to go away any time soon, even if things suddenly turn around and go my way again.


 9:54 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I am frustrated too...

But remember that the Chinese word for "Crisis" is made up of the ideograms for "Danger" AND "Opportunity."

If it took this long for Wall Street to "take over" the SEO world, then it will probably take them that long to take over the next major development. So we have to make sure that we are first on that new development.

I think the future is going to require us to be smarter and smarter. We are going to need to know our own strengths and weaknesses better, and we are going to need to better know what consumers want.

We can't stop learning and adapting.


 10:25 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I hear you Sgt. I just told my wife this morning, to quote BB King, "The thrill is gone". For me, the golden days of the WWW was 1996/97 to 2006/07. The 3 years after that were OK, but there was trouble in Paradise. But now, it's a daily unrelenting effort to protect ourselves from soulless thieves who take what they want when they want... and then those same scumbags outrank us on Google, and Google doing little or nothing about it... and to add insult to injury, Panda crushing good sites that followed all their rules and rewarding sites that couldn't care less about their rules. It gets old. Sing it BB...

"The thrill is gone
It's gone away for good
Oh, the thrill is gone baby
Baby its gone away for good
Someday I know I'll be over it all baby
Just like I know a man should

You know I'm free, free now baby
I'm free from your spell
I'm free, free now
I'm free from your spell
And now that it's over
All I can do is wish you well"



 11:01 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Feel the same


 11:16 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The past few months have really soured me on the web. It's not something that's going to go away any time soon, even if things suddenly turn around and go my way again.

Pretty much the same story here. There's a definite and permanent loss of trust for that whole web publishing business. Adsense issues, search engine troubles, incessant copyright infringements... all pretty much peaking in the past year. I'm not giving up though, because it's my thing, I'm just less hopeful about it all.


 11:23 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If it took this long for Wall Street to "take over" the SEO world, then it will probably take them that long to take over the next major development. So we have to make sure that we are first on that new development.

Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but for every leap in technology there will be a few (the original creators) who show the way, followed by a Wild West where every Tom, Dick and Harry make some small fortunes as they learn the new stuff, a period of growth toward Cream of the Crop (becoming giants) and increasing Mediocrity (for the rest), followed by the Giants of the Previous Technology waking up and applying Their Big Money in the new technology by hiring the Cream of the Crop in the New Technology. Resulting in Walmart Biz. Where we are today.

What's next for the web is improvements, not another leap in technology, so anything "new" which comes about will be SWIFTLY incorporated by all the players and the ones with the most money will will buy it if they don't create it themselves.

The next leap in technology will be direct telepathy sans mechanical means. Not looking forward to that leap. :)


 11:34 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

but for every leap in technology ... Where we are today.

Brilliantly concise historical analysis. Kuddos.



 11:36 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The next leap in technology is apps (although the game is already in full swing). Serious money to be made if you know what you are doing. No doubt it will become a Walmart cluster#*$! in time though.


 11:36 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

the golden days of the WWW was 1996/97 to 2006/07

I very much agree.

But you were not quoting Riley King (great though his 1969 version is).

Rick Darnell and Roy Hawkins wrote The Thrill Is Gone in 1951.

And when the thrill is gone, you just find another thrill.



 11:52 pm on May 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I saw BB perform "The thrill is gone," although 25 years ago. Anybody hit by Panda probably feels this way right now.

When I look at the first page of the SERP's in my niche now, all I see is the giant players, which happen to be big corporate .com's and big authority .org's. In hindsight, I'm surprised that I lasted as long as I did.

But in the same vein as Planet13's comments, while I can't compete with authority and cash, I can by being clever and innovative. To them it's a job, to me, it's what I do.

I guess I'm placing a lot of future faith on search engine metrics, such as Likes and Plus 1's. That would return the vote back to the people, as opposed to SEO's and the link buyers, more like it was 10 years ago when people actually linked because they thought a website was good.

I think for me it's going to involve less about providing information, as opposed to information interspersed with opinion or inside knowledge type info. The type of stuff an authority in a field actually knows. But at the same time, the story slant that the big, vanilla .com's and .org's don't do. I think the social side of the web would reward that type of content.


 12:13 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Yes, the thrill is gone for me too. I loved the days where, if I didn't rank well in one search engine another one would take up the slack. Now, if I don't rank in Goog then forget it. They obviously have ruined it in my opinion by buying up or running out the others.
Just my 2c


 12:46 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

First saw BB when he opened for the Rolling Stones, must have been about 1969. I was one of thousands of young white kids who did not know this great man's music when he hit his first notes, but was blown away and have been a huge fan ever since. Just watched a YT video of BB playing with the Gary Moore Band ~ awesome. Would love to post the link but probably against the rules. Too bad ~ would cheer us up....



 12:47 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

It's funny how we choose to reflect fondly of the past and completely ignore all the bad things we had to overcome to make it this far. I remember pay for inclusion, a handful of weekly- maybe monthly visits from search engine spiders, black hat cloaking, almost no money to be earned from advertising (assuming you were lucky enough to be accepted in the first place), outrageous hosting fees and domain prices, and the list goes on. The playing field is much more balanced today with the opportunity for greater rewards, although the field is a lot more crowded. You just have to work harder to stand apart from the crowd.


 1:13 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Your points are valid Key_Master but for those of us who were in that game, there was a sense of possibility because it felt like open territory, when there was no one MASTER dominating the way it is now. I've said it a dozen times at this venue: Give me 4 or 5 approximately equal search engines and I'll get the spark back. But that ain't the way it is and no amount of wishing will make it happen. Now, I feel like a tenant farmer, hoping for some crumbs from the Boss Man's table... hard to get excited about that, which goes back to Sgt's op, and the other frustrations expressed thereafter.



 4:31 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Nostalgic moments of late 90s and early 2006 were the best. What crushed a lot of us has been the recent panda update. I am literally out of business trying to sell my shares and get out of this whole thing. More of a stress than anything tbh.


 6:35 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Sometimes bad events force you to make choices that ultimately are for the better. When I lost my photo studio in 2001, I stumbled around for a couple of years trying to figure out what to do. It was at that time that I started working on websites, and also found Webmasterworld, where I learned some optimization techniques.

That transition enabled me to fulfill a promise made to my wife years and years ago, that we would someday live in the south. Once my site was generating a decent income, and I could sever my ties with the advertising industry, we were free to move.

Panda has decimated my site. As I write, photograph and video new content for pages, I'm thinking of new directions in which to take the site. As long as I'm having to do a major overhaul, why not figure out what things might generate more revenue than what I've been doing?


 7:22 am on May 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

the golden days of the WWW was 1996/97 to 2006/07

And only those that broke the rules made real money. Although Google is trying to Walmarterize the web and steal everyone's lunch money with a million ads and Google services on SERPS, there's some hope. I said right after Panda that it's a bad time to start a web biz, simply because Goog has made it clear it wants to favor big businesses...and get in that business too, as if everything else wasn't enough. The killer was giving long tails to big sites as well, essentially trying to kill small sites.

You cannot compete with those sites, they have huge media companies that plant stories, press releases, social media advisors, sponsored blogs and god knows what. And if they cross the line, they don't get penalized, but we do. I was shocked to learn that Overstock was only 2 months in a penalty.

As a niche, health is out IMO, so is travel, forget about local search or one page dui-layer-in-my-small-town.org type of sites. The other problem is that living in the west you need a lot of money and that the internet has 'matured' and it gets progressively harder now. But I don't think Panda as it is will last. There is no way the web will stand that Google kills all the small sites to send traffic to the top ones. People will embrace competition.

Think .cctlds or buying a good domain name? At least you have a fighting chance with a top domain name.

Don't forget that Google has matured as well, they need to milk search as much as they can. That's 98% or so of their $$$. They have reached or will soon reached a growth plateau so they will not resist tightening the noose on our necks. Bing is still flowing in Microsoft Office and Windows money.

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