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Social Factors - the End of Most Intelligent Content On The Web
coachm




msg:4316504
 8:47 pm on May 23, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERPS, and I'm quite stunned, in part as a business and also as a search consumer.

This is the single most evil thing I've seen in terms of its impact, if in fact social signals (in essence a measure of POPULARITY, not quality) play anything but a minor role in SERPS.

As social factors increase in importance, the point of creating original, thought leading, anything OTHER than simple mass content is removed.

The reality is that social media is a popular medium focuses on people (not a bad thing in itself), rather than content. The vast majority of the best and brightest in terms of subject matter experts in many niches, simply are NOT spending time pushing their ideas on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIN. They, in fact, we if I be a bit presumptuous, have better things to do with our time. Nothing wrong with social but if popularity (number of tweeted links/likes) is a deciding factor in ranking, those creating the best content in terms of "thought value" simply won't show up.

Apart from the fact that I've spend 15 years creating original content (I mean original, not some sad recast of what everyone else is saying), in print -- articles and books, and online (free, mind you), and that may now be worthless to me, it means that in my role of "content curation" (ok, finding and linking to the best content) is done.

There is now very little incentive to publish new ideas and thoughts to move fields forward, not only because it's hard to monetize, but because no one will see it because it won't have "buzz".

I work a lot with government, and have long wanted to open up a website on the topic, and have grabbed a few domains I might want to use. Now, there's no point.

If you look at social media, for example, what you will find is loads of stuff including the key word government from upset citizens, the political right, and so on....essentially contentless or worthless if one's interest is helping people understand government.

Project canned.

Finding the best content in niches from true authorities (scientists, academics, book authors that don't get buzz) has become harder and harder, and now the curation role is cooked.

And the kicker is, not only is content not king, replaced by "popularity", but the spamming of the SERPS and the pollution of an already polluted social media environment can begin aforce.

It's a trivial technical exercise to tweet every second on something, to vary the tweets, in order to boost SERPS. I have tools to do that, and they are openly available. I don't use them except to post occasional automated tweets for things I think are valuable and always spaced far apart.

Why shouldn't I just go completely black hat and do that?

If that's what it takes to be found, I won't do it, and not only that but there would not be any point in using the Internet anymore, EXCEPT to socialize.

I'm seriously stunned here. I hope I've got this wrong, but not only has Google crushed businesses like mine that trade in ideas and content, it has the potential to significantly damage the society at large by LIMITING (unintentionally) the spread of the very information that runs the economic engines of this planet.

I'm thinking that of course, social indicators will be only a part of determining SERP's, so the effect hopefully isn't as absolute as it could be.

Finally, perhaps this social factoring explains why my sales have gone to zero, my adsense income has disappeared, and what I worked to build is now almost useless to me, to those in my niches, and to the larger world.

Someone, tell me I've got this all wrong.

 

bw100




msg:4317149
 10:59 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see that Google is now using social signals in their SERPS,

OK: they are pandering to the masses. They have a business to run, profits to make, and stockholders to satisfy. Right now, this is their strategy to do this.

This is the single most evil thing I've seen

Perspective: History has examples of many things more evil ... perhaps some of us have seen / experienced some of those atrocities.

in terms of its impact

What is the impact? Popular results at the expense of in-depth "reporting"? Is that not good for most users? How do we know who wants what? How do we quantify the audience size, the demographics?
Original? For sake of discussion (and I admit exaggeration to make a point) for many subjects / subject matter areas there can be only 1 original. The others may be variations in style, presentation, vocabulary, design, graphics integration, etc. that may appeal to different audience segments. I find some writing and graphic styles more appealing, easier to handle. etc. Do I think Google should decide what styles are good for me? No. Do they: yes. If I don;t want to deal with what I see, I have to search further, or go elsewhere. Google seems to have defined their business as delivering the results that will satisfy* the most users. (*Substitute: appease, not offend, not drive-away, not cause to abandon Google). The point is: while the impact is not good for you, it may be good for others. Not the way we would like to see things, but consider this evolution. Or, at least the current state of affairs.

As social factors increase in importance, the point of creating original, thought leading, anything OTHER than simple mass content is removed

This implies that altruistic original, thought leading creation should not occur.
It also implies that "original, thought leading" content is the best, and should be valued by everyone. I can extend this thought train in many directions: this is the essence of competition, human and intellectual development, ... it goes on. Fortunately for the world, and humanity, not everyone has shared this belief. Sometimes the better ideas are not recognized or rewarded immediately. Ultimately,Google's recent results selection is change. And it is human nature to resist change (for most, anyway). I wonder what most users think?

There is now very little incentive to publish new ideas and thoughts to move fields forward

Good for the sake of good? Doing the right thing? Progress and development in the "field? Finding fellow value holders?

because it's hard to monetize

Well, maybe not as easy as previously. Erosion of profit margins is endemic to most current industries and business models.

because no one will see it because it won't have "buzz

Well, maybe we will have to expend more, different and new efforts into popularizing our ideas / content / position / etc. Perhaps learn to be persuasive ... to "sell". The days of "publish and they will come" are gone.

Now, there's no point

"Dale Carnegie meets Tony Robbins": I would encourage you to attempt to "adjust your attitude", despite the setbacks you, and many, may have experienced. Trite, but true: "It's not how many times you get knocked down that matter, it's how many times you get back up that count" ! And, you may have been knocked down a lot. It's easier to quit, than continue on in the face of adversity. But, someone else will take your place. So, if you believe in your content, do something. Get back up! Get back in training. With a new trainer. Change your diet. Get in shape. Pick some easier bouts to gain confidence. Learn a few new punches.Then work your way up to the Title rounds. Easy to say: Yes. Difficult to do: Yes. Does it work: Sometimes. Is it worth it: Yes.

Finding the best content in niches from true authorities (scientists, academics, book authors that don't get buzz) has become harder and harder,

Well, maybe finding the content that appeals to us. Absolutely correct. But, it's there. If we really want that, we just all need to learn where to go to get it. The interesting question is: how many people really want that type of content, and for what subjects? Somehow I think that, somehow, in some ways, Google has better statistical data than we do,and is using it to shape their results. I won't rule out mis-interpretation by their cadre of engineers. But, the cold, hard data about how many searched for what subject, selected which results to view, stayed on the page for how long, and maybe bookmarked / returned, etc. is theirs, and, most time, good business people do not ignore good statistics ... but, that is another discussion.

Why shouldn't I just go completely black hat and do that?

Well, you could. And, it is an option. And, there are ways of doing it. Let's separate idealism and pragmatism. Is that what's required. Nothing short of that will achieve your goal? Is it worth the risk? (Throughout the history of mankind, the answer, for many, has been "Yes")!
You run a business, and businesses have risks. Many are experiencing the results of risk: change and evolution in the process that delivers our website audience. And we do not like the results of those changes.

not only has Google crushed businesses like mine that trade in ideas and content

Well, maybe compacted you a bit, and handed you a temporary setback until you can make the necessary adjustments

it has the potential to significantly damage the society at large by LIMITING

Well, the difficulty in finding the information being sought, and at varying levels appropriate to various needs, can certainly have a role in "dumbing-down" the populace.
In addition to LIMITING, the FILTERING that some search engines do (whether they admit it or not), also can have a strong role in shaping the knowledge of the world.

Someone, tell me I've got this all wrong.

You got it all wrong!
ADAPT, IMPROVISE and OVERCOME!

Posted with good intent, in the spirit of encouragement.

Swanson




msg:4317152
 11:06 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

I understand the concept and why search engines want to link "social" to the results - however it just doesn't work.

My facebook friends aren't anything like me. Just because they are friends doesn't make them anything like me - in fact my close friends aren't like me either.

"Votes" from social sites mean little as well - you are right, it feels so much like trying to be popular at school. Trying to get yourself heard against a bunch of people that don't get you.

Using "social" signals for search engines is a very poor idea in my opinion and spells the death of content.

The best "connections" are made without these social signals.

Maybe this is the opportunity for a search engine that isn't social.

The "anti" social search engine? One that is Google of the old days that just gives textual matches when you are looking for something.

Swanson




msg:4317154
 11:09 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Just to clarify - as a marketer, it is an opportunity.

As a user it is rubbish and doesn't help me at all and in fact pushes me away from them as I don't want social recommendations from my "friends"

celgins




msg:4317160
 11:22 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

That may be the case for you, and I agree that we live in a marketed society. In fact your comment reflects a major part of my concern. The scientists, consultants (the good ones), the authors (the good ones), and the people creating content for other reasons than to try to sell widgets to the masses are losing whatever standing they had on the Internet.

Okay, but that's just the way of the world. Things change--including what works on the Internet. Besides, no one faction or group owns the Internet. Nor does a particular flow of information whether it's popular or intelligent quality. There's room for all of it, and Google and Bing are taking steps to promote the "popular" stuff.

Years ago, I can remember making the decision to not include article comments at the bottom of my website's article pages. I thought it was a sure-fire way to clutter up my articles with a bunch of nit-picky user comments. Plus, a few of the comments could be really negative and I definitely didn't want that. Then one day I started reviewing the websites of my competitors (all large corporations) and they had already added comments to thousands of their articles. Adding those comments allowed their articles to be shared and linked all over the web, and that popularity seemed to drive more traffic to their sites. So guess what 'ol celgins decided to do?

from wheel:
that's the internet for you. Are you prepared to do what it takes to win? Get on the juice, and quit worrying about how your form and diet is better than eveyrone else.

I agree, and I can think of several adages we might want to pay attention to when it comes to Google, Bing, and the Internet are concerned:

"Roll with the punches."
"Go with the flow."
"Take the good with the bad."
"Keep on keeping on."

Swanson




msg:4317161
 11:28 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

coachm, sorry just read your post in full with the real issues you raise.

Your income has gone to zero and you have been doing great things with content etc. over the years.

You don't want to go "black hat" to get that income back.

There is no "black" or "white" anymore - there are strategies with degrees of risk, ALL strategies have risk as you are now reporting.

Having a site that gets traffic from Google and/or the leader of search is a massive (massive) risk. Doing it "by the book" does not exist in the current environment.

You might have this great site and content but now strategies to maximise the ranking of that content on Google is so much more than "let them index it and it will be good".

You can't expect it to just "work". It may have done before but that is not life, it is not static and you need to be much more advanced to be able to get traffic from Google.

Just having a site with good content does not give you a right to get traffic and therefore earn revenue from it. You have to learn how to adapt, otherwise you will be replaced by someone else.

It is natural selection of the web. And the losers will moan and always be losers.

The winners will find a way to adapt to meet their objectives.

I am struggling to find what your objective is.

[edited by: Swanson at 11:32 pm (utc) on May 24, 2011]

walkman




msg:4317162
 11:29 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

My facebook friends aren't anything like me. Just because they are friends doesn't make them anything like me - in fact my close friends aren't like me either.


Ummm...probably 95% of people's FB 'friends' aren't even friends at all, just you know someone that knows someone that is my 'friend.'.

Swanson




msg:4317167
 11:35 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

walkman, that was my point about using "friends" in search/ranking etc.

However, after having re-read the OP post I am not sure that is the issue that is being dealt with here - it feels more like sour grapes about losing all revenue because Google has changed.

Which is a different issue.

Shatner




msg:4317174
 11:42 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

This was perfectly said by Swanson and I really think needs to be EVERY webmaster's approach to pretty much everything from now on....

"There is no "black" or "white" anymore - there are strategies with degrees of risk, ALL strategies have risk."

Swanson




msg:4317182
 11:50 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Shatner, thanks for the quote.

Yes, SEO is not for life - it is temporary. All you can do is reap the benefits while you are there.

Only brands can count on building links etc. - for the rest of us it no longer works long term as even if you have a great e-commerce site with unique content and loads of good links in one single update you are gone.

You need to have a different strategy if you want to earn money from Google traffic on a consistent basis.

walkman




msg:4317183
 11:51 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Swanson, he has the right to complain if he's site is quality and has been overshadowed by lesser ones that spam twitter etc. Mainstream media sites did and still do the same for Huff Post and other 'aggregators.'

He is not saying that "I must be on page 1 or else..." it' a discussion. If google wants to put less emphasis on content and more on 'buzz' they should openly say so, not continue the mantra. Obviously if it continues this way he has a choice to make: spam social networks, annoy friends too or forget it.

coachm




msg:4317184
 11:52 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

Swanson, I'd like a web where I can FIND the content I seek, and that content doesn't tend to be the type that will be liked or retweeted. I can no longer do that.

I'd like a web where there is incentive for everyone, whether they want to write simple stuff or complex, esoteric stuff to be found without having to pander or work to get retweeted, and Liked, essentially like a high school popularity context.

Or, at least, have the disincentives to visibility removed. In fact one way of doing that is for search engines to randomize positions among, let's say the top forty results (as in the serp's now), since the "rankings" particularly if incorporating Likes have nothing to do with quality of thought, value, etc.

That's the crux. My personal situation is there only for background, and to air frustration about the challenges of making available material that is not of the type that is "popular".

I don't want to see existing intellectual property creators (such as myself and a number of other people in my field), give up totally on publishing on the web.

It's interesting how some people think ONLY in $. This isn't about $. Like copyright, which was created to stimulate the production of intellectual property, there needs to be ways to make it sensible to post articles on the net that aren't absolute mush about Lady Gaga.

coachm




msg:4317192
 11:58 pm on May 24, 2011 (gmt 0)

He is not saying that "I must be on page 1 or else..." it' a discussion. If google wants to put less emphasis on content and more on 'buzz' they should openly say so, not continue the mantra. Obviously if it continues this way he has a choice to make: spam social networks, annoy friends too or forget


That's pretty much on the nose. I have NO problem being on the 4th page or where ever if those ahead of me weren't ahead me by spamming, repeating the same stuff everyone else is saying, and so forth.

I figure I write some good stuff, some average stuff, and some bad stuff, and I don't evaluate whether I'm better or worse than the next guy in terms of specifics. Is my article better than joe's? That's a dumb approach.

Is my article on [topic] better than the wikipedia article on same topic? yes. In fact I'm cited on wikipedia for that topic. Guess what is at the top?

But that aside (I know I'm confusing people by all this kitchen sink stuff).

I know a lot of people producing good stuff, attempting original thought and analysis for example, about business, finance, social sciences, etc, and most of them have never done it for the money.

Having talked to several, and asking the question: "WOuld you continue to write articles on the Internet if your readership dropped by x%?" The answer so far have been no.

Some of these folks only get 30-50 people total reading something they write, but they want to contribute and to contribute they need to be found.

lexipixel




msg:4317199
 12:04 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I usually throw my "distributed search engine" idea on these threads -- so I will again. Think decentralized DMOZ where vetted reviewers "manage" a niche, locale, or other chunk of the index and the same way DNS is propagated to root servers, the index is propagated out to decentralized indexes. The computing power can all be obtained from excess CPU, bandwidth and disk space from the unused resources of already existent sites.

Someone is the "editor" for apple pie recipes, someone else is the editor for "blue widgets", etc.. (when a category gets too big, it gets broken down to "blue widgets in USA", "in Canada", "in China", etc -- but those all share a fraction of the "rank" of all "blue widgets" collectively). Title keyword spamming, link spamming, best-blue-widget-in-the-world.xyz domains would be worthless

Like DMOZ it could have a hierarchical editorial structure - with a peer review type system built in -- a vote of no confidence would see any particular editor voted off the island.

Instead we have [greedily, yet] democratically elected Google as dictator of the web. It is time for a coup d'état.

Unless you can promote and monetize your site, or get your new original ideas out, or market your widgets with bumper stickers and t-shirts, (or are willing to make GOOG your business partner on the revenue side) you need a 100% human reviewed and edited search engine that values and can identify quality original content at the source, and longevity and authority are valued... or else we'll all be stuck reading how Britney spears wore fishnet stocking without panties when we really wanted "spear fishing" info.

Think of it like neighborhood watch -- nobody gets paid to go out on patrol, but the whole neighborhood is a little safer for the combined effort of multiple individuals.

Google has been taking over the web inch by inch:

- search suggestions put popular ahead of "new" or "better"

- Adwords has put spend ahead of credibility

- geo targeting has put "near you" ahead of best source

- image search has stolen the traffic that belongs to the author who uses a picture to reinforce written words

- Google Maps has put paid interlopers ahead of landmarks

- Google News favors huge corporate media aggregators ahead of the local journalists who actually break a story

- etc, ad nauseum.

The web was built on the premise of decentralization and redundant fault tolerance and the web can take back what was usurped by GOOG.

NOTE: Please "Like", tweet and +1 this post or nobody will ever read it.

[edited by: lexipixel at 12:07 am (utc) on May 25, 2011]

gmb21




msg:4317200
 12:06 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is simply providing what users want -- and that is generally NOT in-depth, scholarly research.

Which gets more TV viewers, quality documentaries or useless reality shows? Which gets more readers, newspapers with balanced reporting and insightful commentaries or the tabloids? When I go into a bookshop to look for a specialist book, it's never there -- they only sell the most popular choices.

Even for myself -- if I am looking for something in my niche, I will look at quality articles and scholarly research, but if I'm searching for the answer to a quick question, I would rather look at a site that gives quick and simple answers -- I don't want to trawl through a long, detailed article on the subject.

In my opinion, there will always be people looking for your expert and scholarly content, but they will probably not be the majority of people so you might have to find them elsewhere (i.e. not from Google), such as in specialist forums.

wheel




msg:4317212
 12:33 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Swanson, he has the right to complain if he's site is quality and has been overshadowed by lesser ones that spam twitter etc.

What? No he doesn't.

He didn't get 'overshadowed by lesser sites that spam twitter'. He got his ass handed to him on a platter by someone who's a better marketer than he is. ()speaking generically, I've no idea of his circumstances)

The better site is the top ranking site. Because the top ranking site makes more money. And that is the point right? To make money? Don't get distracted.

Waiting for Google to reward you for good content makes you the wall flower of the internet.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4317225
 1:11 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

GOOGLE: people click what their friends send based on trust, lets tap that trust as a positive sign.

GOOGLE HINDSIGHT: yeah, we forgot to consider that people are more likely to send crap than something meaningful. The people who like meaningful were like... at the library or something.

THE GODS: doh, there goes Google trying to let people's behavior dictate what's meaningful again, I keep meaning to send them a text about it, or something.

THE HISTORIANS: Google was steadfast in their multi-layer approach that taps into everything yet it was ultimately their undoing, if only they had stuck to their core business of ranking sites themselves, or something.

Or something
? Afterall, Google gotz billionz already and can make mistakes. (and yes, even their genius minds make many mistakes)

[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 1:15 am (utc) on May 25, 2011]

Leosghost




msg:4317226
 1:14 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

The apparent confusion regarding the meanings of "know", "realise", and "understand", is even more, "food for thought" ..and interestingly relevant to to the OP's point.

DirigoDev




msg:4317251
 2:25 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

The game has changed! And it didn’t change overnight. Once upon a time it was possible to own and operate a Web property that was profitable as a sole practitioner. Those days are long gone. It now takes a team of 2-3 people or more to feed the “machine” that we call the Internet. I continue to publish new ideas on my Web site. Feed my blog with the same. Feed Twitter and Facebook. Feed external blogs. Manage feeds, sitemaps, GWT, analytics, PPC/AdSense, servers… If you want to win you’ve got to do it all. All includes print, tv, youtube, radio, affiliate marketing... It takes a team and a great business model to prosper. This is not an easy game. It the only game that I love! So I continue to feed to the best of my ability. The era of social will pass in due time.

walkman




msg:4317255
 2:43 am on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

DirigoDev is right especially now that Google has announced plans to give even the longest tail, pretty much ignoring content, to certain sites namely brands. That means zilch for non-corporate or big sites in a lot of niches.

We can't change that but let's try to survive and hopefully another SE does it differently.

Bentler




msg:4317463
 3:43 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think it all depends on how you use the media. I see quite a few communities built up in social media that are very useful in filtering and vetting the best available info as topical experts.

This is a great presentation that seems related to this discussion-- more on aspects of innovation than on content: Where do good ideas come from? [youtube.com]

Of course, this discussion board is social media too. Good ideas here.

ByronM




msg:4317465
 3:48 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

To me this just screams "old media".. Google isn't the only big boy in town anymore and people who got used to that are now suffering.

"Social" is here to stay and will be even more deeply rooted.

If you're getting a bad signal/noise ratio, then you have a bad social network and that is only your own fault.

Personally, through social networks i can reach out to authors, writers, publishers, scientists and the actual people creating the news. I'm happy the days of curated content are over.. good riddance slashdot hellloooo reddit :)

If you think YOUR views are more valid than the social views & peers then the problem isn't with social networks, its with you. If you can't stand out as a respected peer and the only reason you stood out was because you could manipulate google, i say good riddance.

Internet Marketing has simply come back full circle to word of mouth

oodlum




msg:4317485
 4:11 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

This is the single most evil thing I've seen in terms of its impact, if in fact social signals (in essence a measure of POPULARITY, not quality) play anything but a minor role in SERPS.

Social search signals make me nervous too, but I'll try to play along.

What was PageRank, if not a measure of popularity over quality?

wheel




msg:4317491
 4:13 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you think YOUR views are more valid than the social views & peers then the problem isn't with social networks, its with you. If you can't stand out as a respected peer and the only reason you stood out was because you could manipulate google, i say good riddance.

Not everyone uses twitter. No one, like really, no one in my industry uses twitter or facebook.

Do people with genital warts go and twitter about it? Are there experts on genital warts that people like to follow to learn all the latest news? Update your facebook page to tell all your friends how you're cured? perhaps with pictures?

Lots going on with social media, but it's not the right place to market for everything. It is however, apparently being used as a rankings signal by the SE's. And if that's the case, then it makes sense to get involved for that reason alone.

ByronM




msg:4317494
 4:26 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Lots going on with social media, but it's not the right place to market for everything. It is however, apparently being used as a rankings signal by the SE's. And if that's the case, then it makes sense to get involved for that reason alone.


If all you have are gateway pages that enjoy google link juice to get people to buy stuff then yeah, you're probably going to see diminishing returns. However if your core busines is genetal warts then you probably would have a social awareness program. With that being said, not all media is for everyone and not all markets will have scaling rankings by social graphs because there may not be social graphs for every case in which the standard applies.

Even WITH genetal warts there is cross promotion.. take those late night dr shows where genital warts does come up and they recommend what to ask your doctor. If that gets tweeted then that product now has a social graph and while not EVERYONE may tweet about it, there is now a source who is trusted on the radio/tv so on so forth sharing that trust to the web.

If you ask me, i would "trust" (and i quote that, because i still trust my dr more) someone who has a syndicated show on tv with dr's and people with degrees on that show moreso than a website i found via google.

Get involved by all means.. the social graph is how you interact with your customers and that interaction is simply scaling to the search side now as well.

Also, If industries avoid facebook/twitter, what social verticals are they playing in that they could leverage?

wheel




msg:4317500
 4:41 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I assure you, the only instances of my niche on twitter and facebook are industry insiders looking to promote, and doing so unsuccessfully. Nobody tweets or facebooks naturally about my industry.

netmeg




msg:4317507
 4:46 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

(this post may end up being removed by moderators. The "you" is not directed specifically only at the OP, but to the ideas expressed here in general. I've been seeing them a lot, lately, and they piss me off.)

Ok, so let me get this straight.

Because Google has adjusted their algorithm to some unknown extent to possibly accrue more weight to some social signals, many of you posting here in this item think it's the end of all intelligence on the web.

Leaving aside the almost unbelievable condescension (and whining) inherent in this premise, allow me to retort.

Balls.

First of all, your "intelligent" content ain't all that. Nobody's is, not even mine. Get over yourselves.

Second of all, social factors are only one of - what it, now, 500+? factors in the algorithm. I have control over 273 sites at the moment, and most of them are NOT part of the social conversation (despite my attempts to persuade clients) and every single one of them is doing just fine (or better) in Google. If you think this *one* factor has the ability to make or break you, then you have more problems than not wanting to tweet or post to Facebook. Get over THAT idea too. I have clients with tiny sites (3-5 pages) doing well. I have ecommerce clients with 2500 products having their best year ever. They're not doing social yet. They're not dropping in the SERPs. Could they do more sales with social? Probably. But it's not kicking them down in G. Anecdotal? Of course. But my sample size is larger and more varied than most.

Third of all, it's not Google's fault you can't figure out how to monetize your site.

Fourth of all, it's not Google's fault you can't figure out how to market your site (or don't choose to).

Fifth of all, it doesn't matter how original your content is if your business model is common, overworked and, frankly, tired.

Sixth of all, things change. This is not the web of 1997, 2003 or even 2008. Adapt or die. You don't even wanna know how many times I've had to adapt. But sometimes someone had to give me a good kick in the ass first. Eventually it sunk in - I had to start looking at what IS there, and stop obsessing on what isn't.

Seventh of all, if this is what you think social signals are really all about, then you *don't* get it, and you probably never will. You may as well move over, cause someone else is doing it better. And to add insult to injury, they may be doing with your content.

Eighth of all, expecting an algorithm to be able to ascertain "intelligent" content (which is highly subjective to begin with) and miraculously float it to the top of the SERPs is sheer madness.

Ninth of all, expecting Google to do your marketing for you while you sit back (like baby birds waiting to be fed by Mama) and pretend to be above it all ... I can't think of a descriptive word that wouldn't trip the WebmasterWorld filter here.

Tenth of all, this "popularity" factor - guess what, it's a part of the human condition, and probably has been since there were humans. It's not endemic to the web. It happens in high school and it happens in the office and it happens in your family and it happens with your friends. The web was created by humans for humans; why would you expect it to be anything other than a reflection of humans (for good AND ill) ?

I meant what I said when I said we were having this conversation in 1986 - only then, we didn't have a web, and people were bemoaning the fact that 1) civilians were starting to flock online (as opposed to us true computer geeks) and 2) commercialism (and the potential for filthy lucre) was starting to show up too. We all survived. We'll survive this too. Except for the ones who turn tail and run, because it's too scary or too hard or somehow beneath them.

If you want better results out of your efforts, you have to DO better. That doesn't just end with posting your "original" and "intelligent" content. And you have to change with the times. If it all sounds too exhausting, then yep - probably time to find another line of work.

wheel




msg:4317515
 4:59 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

OMG I'm in love! :)

Relax, I mean with point # 7.

bw100




msg:4317516
 5:06 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Adapt or die. ... I had to start looking at what IS there, and stop obsessing on what isn't.

Well said!

tedster




msg:4317522
 5:17 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Seventh of all, if this is what you think social signals are really all about, then you *don't* get it, and you probably never will. You may as well move over, cause someone else is doing it better. And to add insult to injury, they may be doing with your content.

Excellent point netmeg. I tried to move things in this direction last year with SEO is from Mars, SMM is from Venus [webmasterworld.com]. At that time, I noticed how far behind the curve many "SEO" people were, and I hoped to paint the picture.

Why shouldn't a search engine take note of whether a business has a client base that cares enough to talk about them? And if people are talking about your competition - and with your competition - and not about you, or with you, then isn't that a big fat signal? And haven't people been complaining for years that Google is too dependent on links and needs another major signal or two?

HuskyPup




msg:4317525
 5:27 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

Excellent and interesting post netmeg.

<slightly off-topic however someone may point a few of us in the right direction>

I've asked before and I'll do it again:

Seventh of all, if this is what you think social signals are really all about, then you *don't* get it, and you probably never will. You may as well move over, cause someone else is doing it better. And to add insult to injury, they may be doing with your content.


Honestly, I don't get it however I think that's because we don't have interaction with the end consumer, all my stuff is generally boardroom level b2b.

I do feel there may be a way for us to do social however, so far, our attempts have been pathetic and definitely not productive leaving me more with frustration. There's no reason why we shouldn't do it, it's finding the right angle for it.

I tend to deal in extensive product technical details since that is what my customers require in case their customers ask such a question, that's the nature of my products, the retail side of our industry only need to market the idea that this IS the product for them without, usually, any technical information.

I also ought to point out that we're not an impulse purchase product!

The rest of your post could have been written by me IF I were so eloquent:-)...and had the time!

</slight off-topic>

indyank




msg:4317529
 5:36 pm on May 25, 2011 (gmt 0)

I have been doing pretty well on the social front and my pages are liked and tweeted more than other competing pages that outrank me after Panda! So, where is the social Google or what is Google social?

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