Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Zakia Bouachraoui

Related Topics: Cognitive Computing

Cognitive Computing : Blog Feed Post

The Great SEO Swindle

In our rush to better our rankings, we tend to forget why people are using search engines to begin with

I have been writing about the Web since it was nearly invented in the early 1990s and one of my continued sources of amusement is the snake oil search engine optimization vendors. Repeat after me: content is king. Everything else is just a shell game.

In our rush to better our rankings, we tend to forget why people are using search engines to begin with: to find the best content. Those search sites that don’t deliver (remember Altavista? Or Yahoo, for that matter?) are going to find out really quickly that their users will go elsewhere.

What does that mean for you as a Web site owner that is trying to move up in the charts? It means you first have to focus on your content, and deliver what your visitors want. It is a matter of managing expectations, but also about making sure that your content is continually tuned and adjusted to meet the needs of your ever-evolving audience.

What it doesn’t mean is hiring some SEO firm to tweak your meta tags, flog your links, and hire a bunch of offshore keyboard pushers to promote your pages.

I got a PR pitch for an SEO company that I would rather not promote here, but the essence of their existence is that charge their clients only after the desired rankings have been achieved, with a sliding scale depending on whether you end up higher or lower than your goals. This is just utter nonsense, although the company is growing by leaps and bounds.

I coincidentally was meeting with a young entrepreneur here in St. Louis last week who runs a real business that is based on carefully tweaking search engine results. His name is Mark Sawyier ([email protected]), and his business is in listing apartments near major colleges around the country. (Movingoffcampus.com is just one of dozens of domains that he owns.) He is the cyberspace version of a major urban real estate developer: he understands SEO, Google Analytics, and how to play in a game where you live and die by your rankings and page views. He has managed to up his pay-per-click rates from his sponsors because:
a. He has tons of content – in this case apartment listings,
b. He has tons of relevant content – the apartments are listed by proximity to campus and other things that students are searching for, and
c. Results – because the people searching actually end up as renters more often from his site than his competitors.

He told me: “The fact is that the combination of the constantly changing algorithms search engines use to calculate rankings with increased competition from other websites, guaranteeing someone a rank and still playing by the rules, to me, is almost impossible. They would need infinite resources and time and have to have a ridiculous amount of startup capital to get it going.”

I offer my own modest example to buttress what Mark says. I have a page on my Web site that I have maintained for more than a decade. It is a simple list of dozens of Web conferencing vendors, with some basics on what they cost and what client platforms they support. I spend about an hour a year on maintaining this listing.

A few years ago, I started getting unsolicited emails from vendors of conferencing products who wanted me to list them on my list. Then I realized why: a quick Google search on the term “web conferencing services” has me in the top ten results. Did I stuff my page full of keywords? Did I abuse my meta-tags? Did I hire a bunch of third-world keyboarders to hit my page? Did I pay some SEO firm to work their magic? Did I have some special insight into how Google ranks my page?

No, no, and no. I just doggedly set out to provide good content, week after week. And gradually, this got results. It may take years, but eventually, as Mark says, the best content will win.

So instead of gaming SEO or hiring someone to push you up the page charts, think about making a quality website with tons of content. Mark reminds me: “search engines are ALWAYS trying to connect people that use them to search for information online with the absolute best websites to provide it – the minute any of them lose sight of this objective, they will stop being a good search engine. This is the core concept behind all of the variables and algorithms that go into calculating search engine rankings. And while external links and proper SEO coding are certainly important elements in the battle, at the end of the day, the most important thing is having a website that provides the right answers and information to the searchers.”

And if you really must hire someone to do your SEO, think of hiring Mark. Off Campus Media offers campus, social media and search engine marketing services using his own experience with building his own Web sites.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By David Strom

David Strom is an international authority on network and Internet technologies. He has written extensively on the topic for 20 years for a wide variety of print publications and websites, such as The New York Times, TechTarget.com, PC Week/eWeek, Internet.com, Network World, Infoworld, Computerworld, Small Business Computing, Communications Week, Windows Sources, c|net and news.com, Web Review, Tom's Hardware, EETimes, and many others.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
Machine learning has taken residence at our cities' cores and now we can finally have "smart cities." Cities are a collection of buildings made to provide the structure and safety necessary for people to function, create and survive. Buildings are a pool of ever-changing performance data from large automated systems such as heating and cooling to the people that live and work within them. Through machine learning, buildings can optimize performance, reduce costs, and improve occupant comfort by ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IoT Global Network has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 6–8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The IoT Global Network is a platform where you can connect with industry experts and network across the IoT community to build the successful IoT business of the future.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...