Archive | August, 2010

SEO Turned on Its Ear

21 Aug

Iago, whispering to Othello, “SEO is dead!”

Since the first search engine began to provide results for our on-line queries, there have been extensive efforts made to divine exactly how they determined what results to display, and in what order. Usually, someone who was thought to possess some golden information would utter a statement, and like lemmings, millions of wannabe SEOs would hoist their banners, and follow them… anywhere.

In all fairness, it’s easy to be wrong about some of what it takes to make a site rank high in the SERPs. By necessity, the search engines keep their formulas closely guarded secrets, in order to minimize unfair manipulation. Even the formula, called an algorithm, is suggestively mysterious (algorithm – alchemy… coincidence?). As a consequence, many people tend to cling to one or two aspects above all others, often to their own detriment. Even more often, to the detriment of their clients.

Such things as links, pagerank, keywords, sitemaps, URL structure, QDF, pagerank sculpting, meta tags, keyword density, load speed… very few SEOs can agree on the importance of even most of them, much less all. At any given time, someone can be found espousing the theory that one or more has no value, or is soon to disappear entirely.

Oooh... Oooh... Oooh...

For instance, in October of 2005, Steve Gilmore published Links are Dead, Doc, followed shortly thereafter, by W.G. Moore’s Are Reciprocal Links Dead? Both were preceded in their dire pronouncements, by Jeremy Zawodny, who blogged PageRank is Dead in May of 2003. Danny Sullivan, in June of 2009, published PageRank Sculpting is Dead! Long Live PageRank Sculpting! Then, in January of 2010, Paddy Moogan guest-blogged on Richard Baxter’s SEOGadget, SEO is Dead – Long Live SEO. Some preached death, some not. But all gave light to the issue.

As you can see, there’s a great deal of death in the SEO community… or at least, predictions of death. If we wait patiently, someone will probably soon predict that the internet itself has met its demise. Given the dearth of information as to what the Google alchemists consider most important, none of this should be surprising. Then, consider the new factors that seem to pop up just when we think we’ve got things nearly figured out… is it any wonder that we begin authoring hopeful obituaries?

Premature?

At this point, not to be outdone, I’ll make my prediction. First, however, I must admit that while I came to this conclusion on my own, I am not the first to give voice to it. For one, my Sensei at SEO Dojo, David Harry (@theGypsy), recently wrote a guest-blog on WordStream,  entitled, The Evolution of Ranking Signals: Google is Getting Past the Link.

Stole my thunder, well and proper, did he! Good on ya, David! Everyone really needs to read David’s piece… it’s spot on!

So – my not-so-original prediction is that links will have a diminishing role in determining the ranking of a page. Many others are saying it, as well, in varying degrees, such as Eric Enge, Nichola Stott and Kieran Flanagan to just name a few of the most recent voices.

Why do I believe this? First, the multi-headed link-beast is Google’s own creation. Oh, I know that Google didn’t create links, per se. But they DID feed the beast till it became unmanageable, thus providing the single greatest tool ever, for gaming their own system. Manipulation of rankings hit a new high (low?), owing to the sale, barter, hacking and spamming of links. I have to believe there were a few palm-to-forehead slaps around the conference tables at the GooglePlex, when they realized what they had spawned.

So it stands to reason that some thought must have been given to the process of taming the critter, and replacing it with a more manageable, more capable creature. Which is where I think we find ourselves now.

Google has been focusing much of its collective talent on behavioral, temporal and semantic analysis. As these all come together, links will no longer be necessary, in order to serve up the best response to a user’s search query. Entirely new algorithms can be developed, giving far less weight to backlinks. I’m not saying that I think links will go away completely… they’re bound to still be rolled into the equation. I’m simply saying that they’ll no longer be playing the lead – they’ll be reduced to a bit part.

As links take on less importance in the ranking of pages, the efforts to link-spam will diminish too. The crap-hat SEOs will always go where they can get the biggest benefit with the least effort. In my opinion, with links no longer providing the biggest bang for the buck, there’ll be a lot of scrambling to find a replacement activity. Well, guess what, folks? Link-spamming may well be the only aspect of SEO that actually DOES die! And it appears that its stand-in will be virtually un-spammable!

As the search engines polish their application of personalized search, tempered with temporal data, RDFa technology and CTags, the crap-hatters will find that the only spamming they can do will be against themselves. Query results will be greatly improved, link-spam will be reduced, and the user experience will be enhanced.

Don’t think for a moment that this means SEO will be dying. On the contrary, it will grow in depth and intricacy. Which means, I sincerely hope, that the crap-hat SEOs… those scumbags that give decent SEOs a bad name… will be dramatically reduced in number.

They needn’t worry, though… I hear McDonald’s is hiring.

Judge Bean’s Benefit Dinner for Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight

16 Aug

Benefit Dinner for Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight

There’s another Benefit Dinner for Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight, Saturday, August 28th, at Judge Bean’s, in  Keller, TX.

Ya’ll really need to get out of the house once in a while, and it wouldn’t hurt you a bit to enjoy a great dinner, some live music, and maybe come away a winner from the raffle. Most of all, it would really help others to help Rachel, if you’d grab your significant other, a handful of friends, or just a stranger off the street, and join us there! It’s a mighty worthy cause, and everyone that pitches in, is gonna be a winner, one way or the other!

If you can’t make it, at least stop by Rachel’s website, and leave an encouraging word. Hitting the PayPal button while there would be tremendously appreciated by Rachel, and all her friends and family — there’s a LOT of us.

And we’re waiting for you to show up!

Benefit for Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight at Celio’s Tomorrow!

7 Aug

Tomorrow, Aug. 8th, there’s a big pizza buffet benefit for Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight at Celio’s Chicago Style Pizza in Keller, TX. If you’re anywhere near Keller, make a bee-line down there tomorrow, and help out a good cause!

It’s Very Personal

7 Aug

Before I get started… a note about a commenter yesterday. He accused me of taking advantage of someone else’s situation, just to get more traffic to my blog! He said he didn’t come here to read about nothing but somebody that has cancer and wants money!

So I invited him to go elsewhere. I also pointed out that Rachel (and many tens of thousands of other cancer sufferers) didn’t sign on to be guinea pigs, pin cushions or statistics, either, and that they didn’t particularly enjoy being unable to sleep, eat or do the things they’re used to doing.

And I also invited him to perform a presumably impossible unnatural act with himself.

Cretin!

***

There are a few things that have truly amazed me, since I got involved in Rachel’s awareness and fund drive.

First, I am blown away by the breadth of the support Rachel has received, from people all over the world… over 60 countries, the last time I checked. It’s inspiring and encouraging, particularly for a cynic like me. You people ROCK! (you know who you are!;))

Second, and not so encouraging, I am taken aback by the ability of some people to tune out that which isn’t personally convenient. I suppose we’ve all turned our eyes away, to avoid acknowledging a panhandler, at one time or another. I have, I’ll admit. Strangely, that didn’t make them really disappear, though… only from my awareness. They were still dirty, hungry and homeless. They were still left feeling, yet again, as though they were invisible (which is a pretty rotten feeling, all by itself!).

I think that when we opt to feign blindness or ignorance of the suffering of others, we also do ourselves great harm. We not only cheapen them and their circumstances, but also ourselves and our own. It shames me to think of the times that I pretended not to see someone who was only reaching out for some help. If you’re one that has done the same, I would urge you to take a long, hard look at your outlook, and decide if that’s the way you want to continue.

And third, there’s another type of amazement… the troll that left the idiotic comment yesterday, and the moronic girl in yesterday’s post. I consider both of them to be total wastes of space, contributing nothing beyond the carbon dioxide for the plant life. Neither of them give any thought to the harm they do, let alone the good they could do.

All in all, it’s obvious to me that there are still a lot of good people in the world. Rachel does need more of them to step up, however. We’re a long way from achieving our goal of helping her with her $80,000 insurance co-pay. You’ve certainly given her a BIG lift, by your show of support and caring! And many of you have made contributions to the fund, which obviously helps a lot! Now, I’m asking each of you to do a little more – invite your friends to her Facebook fanpage, Tweet about her situation, visit her blog, and leave her a friendly comment, visit her website and donate and/or comment. And PLEASE, pass on the request to everyone you know… make this a personal campaign!

Because I assure you, for Rachel and her family, it’s VERY personal.

I Am So Angry, Frightened and Disgusted!

6 Aug

On a conference call this morning, a friend, from Burlington, Ontario, told me about a case that recently broke there, of a girl who defrauded many people, by claiming to be dying from four or five different types of cancer. My first emotion was anger, because this is one of the lowest forms of trickery I can imagine. Playing upon people’s emotions, garnering pity where none is due… I think there’s a special corner of Hell reserved for people like that. Preferably between the sexual predators and the drug dealers.

Enter, emotion #2 – fear. It dawned on me that news like this could have an immediate negative effect on the fund-raising efforts on Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight’s behalf. Rachel’s case, unlike the Burlington case, is real, and documented. And Rachel doesn’t ask for anyone’s pity… she radiates strength. But people that read about a fraud such as occurred in Burlington will now be more wary, more skeptical. They’ll be less likely to trust that a donation will go toward what is promised, and understandably so. If they’re one of the unfortunates that were duped by the Burlington case (check out the Burlington case’s fraudulent Facebook page), they’ve been burned once, at a very personal level, and will be unlikely to make themselves vulnerable again.

So, future donations will probably be at a lower level, because of that case. That means that fewer real victims will receive the help they need. It’s not inconceivable that some of the money that went to Burlington, might have saved a live, had it gone elsewhere. It’s not a major reach, to think that some future victim will NOT be saved, because a key donation won’t be made. The implications go on and on.

So I asked my friend to send me info on the case, thinking that I might be able to lessen any possible impact on Rachel’s fund-drive, by discussing it here. He did, and I read what the papers had to say.

Then my third emotion kicked in… disgust. This sick individual in Burlington claims to have been “caught up” in the whole thing. I call, “Bullshit!” The cold, calculating, and very detailed presentation of her so-called “condition”, prove that it was the contributors that were caught up!

For any of you that lean toward the skeptical side, I can only say that you’re probably wise. The fact that such a scam can occur, and rope in so many people who just wanted to help someone, indicates that skepticism is advisable.

For those of you that blindly cast donations in all directions, I only hope that you’ll be fortunate, and never encounter such a ruse as described in the below articles.

For those of you that may find yourself wavering… I can offer you very little. In terms of the reality of Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight’s situation, it is true. I can say that because I know. I know the people involved. I know their next-door neighbors. And I’m usually as skeptical as they come, believe me. I know my word may not mean much to most of you. I hope it does, for Rachel’s sake. And I know that there are others involved in Rachel’s support circle that are known to have integrity, so their word should carry some weight, too.

When it comes right down to it, each of us has to be smart enough to consider all possibilities, and then decide where our heart and mind should lead us. I would caution you all, not to be blind, but also, not to be blindly cynical. There’s a balance to be found, and straying too far in either direction will either make YOU a victim, or will deprive a real victim of the needed assistance.

Here’s some news coverage of the Burlington case. I urge you to read it.

http://www.thespec.com/News/Local/article/821169

http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/article/844614–woman-faked-cancer-to-raise-money?bn=1

 

Three-time Cancer Battler Needs Help to Get Urgent Bone Marrow Transplant

5 Aug

Three-time Cancer Battler Needs Help to Get Urgent Bone Marrow Transplant.

Rachel urgently needs our help! Nobody can help everyone, but everyone can help somebody. Will you help?

A footnote: PRWeb Press Release Distribution Service was kind enough to donate a free press release for Rachel. As as Advanced Release, the normal cost is $200.00 Thank you, PR Web… it is greatly appreciated!

Thanks to ChingoDeGringoLingo

3 Aug

I very rarely make any preparation for my posts, like notes, outlines or animal sacrifices. Maybe I should, but I prefer to just let my thoughts flow. Today may be different, though, as a buddy of mine did me the favor of writing a blogpost about Rachel Hunnicutt-Knight on his blog, and he set the bar pretty high. I think I’m gonna hafta dig kinda deep, to measure up.

So I’m gonna take the coward’s way out, and stall for time, by just pointin’ ya’ll over there, to get a taste of his inimitable style. I would greatly appreciate it if you’d follow the links in his post, too, since that’s the whole point of the post. Then, do yourself a favor, and scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page, and sign up for his RSS feed. You won’t be sorry.

And if you don’t, well…. one day, a couple of boozed-up gringos may knock on your door, wanting to know why! ;)

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