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Changing Trends. Could This Be a New Trend? Order Now!!!

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OK folks, it’s October and the holidays are fast approaching. This means the 2011 New Years is next week, the 2020 summer is right around the corner, and our mortal demise is knocking at our doors. Merchants have already realized this and in the spirit of convenience and driving consumers into fits of unrestrained spending, have decided to conglomerate Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas into one 3 month long sale. With one foot practically in the grave, there’s simply no time to waste.

 Yes, the marketing world is moving right along and if you want to keep up, the department stores are there to give you your cue if you need some help getting into the swing of things. Go to Wal-Mart for instance and witness the Rudolph and Santa figures sitting together on the shelf with an eyeless zombie, while next to them a smiling Tom Turkey wishes you a Happy Thanksgiving as 12 hungry pilgrims prepare to carve him into bite sized pieces. You should be able to come away with a sense of urgency and the marketing creativity it has spawned after just a few minutes of browsing. What effect this is having on the psychological develoment of small children is not yet clear, but in today’s modern world we can’t be worried with what might happen tomorrow. It’s all about now folks!

 For those of us who’s lives revolve around the web, (Yeah right, like you have a life, quit fooling yourself), this means we have to pay close attention to the latest trends and generally pretend we have a clue as to the best way to make good use of them in the coming year. A lot has happened online in 2010 that promises to have serious repercussions for the rest of our lives, so let’s get right to the business of making some of the most important trends work for us.

Stop Searching, Start Talking Nonstop

Search engines are dead, except for Google; their pact with Satan is good until 2015. Social media is now the name of the game and unless you have 2,000,325, 452 Facebook friends, 4,000, 259, 123 Twitter followers, and 342 blogs you can forget making a sale online. The name of the game is now about making your business social and friendly, so make sure you emphasize how important it is that folks add your new blender outlet to their friends and follow lists so they don’t miss out on all the crazy and entertaining antics associated with pureeing Grandpa’s lunch. Remember, there are 700 billion users on Facebook, and every one of them is just dying to make Cheap Aluminum Siding their friend!

The New SEO

Contrary to popular belief, SEO is not dead. Although Google’s unveiling of Instant caused a minor wave of hysteria and a small handful of incidents on window ledges, I can assure you that SEO is still alive and well, only different. The savvy entrepreneurs will recognize the differences and begin working them into their SEO efforts right away. For those who need some help, here are a few tips.

#1. Relevancy has gone from being of the utmost importance, to total worthlessness. The name of the game now is to get your website appearing at the top of Instants on the fly results with total gibberish. Although this may present something of a challenge, consider how you can make this work for your business. For instance, if you have a website dedicated to selling Graphic Design, consider changing your keywords from things like Graphic Design and Custom Web Graphics to Gacdin and Cumbwac. I’m sure you can easily see how this will greatly improve your appearance in Google Instant and rocket you right past all those rubes still trying to do silly things like produce consistent content and relevant links.

#2. Google Instant also makes possible a tried and true method that once was effective for everything EXCEPT the internet. This method involves simply smashing something, in this case your keyboard, in a blind fit of anger fueled frustration until it works. Once done smashing, simply hit save and your keyword work is done! Proven a popular method with automobiles, ATM’s, Furnaces, Televisions and just about anything else mechanical, anger fueled frustration or AFF as I like to call it, may just be the SEO trend to watch in the coming months. For added results you can scream something like “Kreeegahhh!” while utilizing AFF. Although it may be of dubious SEO benefit, it certainly aids in adding a bit of enthusiasm.

Note: You don’t have to use “Kreeegahhh!.” Goddamnit, Sonofabitch, and OHGODWHYME?! can all be equally effective.

Location, Location, Location

Getting noticed, popular, and thus rich and successful online is all about letting everyone know your every last move at every single moment. With Twitter and Facebook making it possible to add locations to your every post, get ahead of the game and show everyone how it really should be done. Have a GPS tracking chip implanted within your body and link it to your Twitter and Facebook accounts. This way, no matter where you are you will always be on the grid. No one will ever again have to wonder where you were when you Tweeted them about that epic sale on fungal cream, and advertisers will have your spam so perfectly targeted you’ll wonder how you ever got by without your new bionic abilities.

Note: Not recommended for those considering becoming Felons or already living a nomadic lifestyle as a result of becoming one.

Summary:

Well, there you have it. A simple and concise breakdown of the major changes and trends that are sure to transform how you work and play online and how to use them. If this seems like a lot of work or just too much to contend with, consider letting me do the work for you. Using my cutting edge techniques and ahead of the curve thinking I can guarantee you the number one spot on Google, $300,000 in your website’s first week, and a date with Taylor Swift. For only $3,000 dollars an hour this is a real bargain, but hurry! I can only handle a limited number of customers and since I am so busy using my own techniques to get filthy rich overnight, I am only willing to do this out of the goodness and snow white purity of my own heart.

 Note: The date with Taylor Swift is a bit of an exaggeration. She stopped accepting my calls and is pretending not to know me. It’s probably because my confidence, charm, stunning good looks and wildly successful lifestyle intimidate her. Until the restraining order is lifted the date offer will have to be suspended.

Yes it’s entirely ridiculous B.S. Disclaimer added for the terminally gullible.
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Trust me, I’m a Blogger.

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There are times when I am about to push the publish post button that I find myself inwardly cringing, and about .3 seconds after hitting the button wish I hadn’t sent my words off into the cruel world to face their fate. Ok fine I’ll admit it, it happens almost every time I publish a post. What is it with blogging and feeling like you have to tell the truth all the time anyways? I’m starting to think torture and polygraphs could go the way of the Dodo if authorities decided to blog information out of suspects instead. “Ok Nails, either start talking or we’ll make you write a post!”

  “No, not blogging, anything but that! I’ll talk, I’ll talk!”

I can’t speak for other bloggers, because they’d probably sue me into the Stone Age if I did, but when I write a post I try mightily to avoid factual mistakes, much less make less than realistic statements. Every facet of a post is closely scrutinized for factual accuracy and if that’s not possible, at least genuinely honest intents. That way, no matter how badly I flub and go careening off the cliff in a fiery ball of stupidity, folks will still have to amend their derision with statements like, “At least he meant well.”

I guess you could say I’m going on about the integrity of blogging today. I hadn’t really thought about it much because to tell you the truth, I was for the most part pretty busy just trying to keep from embarrassing the bejeezus out of myself while drawing in a little bit of regular site traffic. Sure I like sharing what I’m fairly certain might be of use to others online when I know I won’t cause them to lose their job, home, marriage, family, dignity, and any possible future they may have to look forward to, but basically I just like to write and want to convince people they should pay me to do it. I’m still eating and they haven’t shut off the cable yet so I must be doing something at least half right so far. The point is though, I have to be right often enough to avoid scaring away every potential job offer. So I work hard at being right.  A recent article in the increasingly redundant newspaper however struck me as a possible symptom of a growing problem with blogging that may become a major obstacle if blogging is to continue being a popular means for public exposure. Yes, I just had a mental picture of trench coats and sock suspenders too after reading that last sentence so no, you’re not alone.

Onwards.

In this article, the subject had nothing to do with blogging, and everything to do with the trust of the public. What was disconcerting was the story mentioned an Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll which found that the public has little confidence in major institutions. According to the poll, most Americans reserve the bulk of their trust for the military and small business. Now that may raise a few eyebrows given some of what’s transpired over the last nine years but it’s reasonable for the most part. What really made me spit my coffee was the finding that the public reserves it’s greatest distrust for Congress, Banks, and believe it or not, Blogs. Yes, you read that right and no I am not making this up. The general American public ranks blogs right up there with professional liars, otherwise known as politicians and institutions designed to make their money with your money, while making you pay them to do it.

Given my normally non-confrontational demeanor, my first reaction was, “What the hell did I do”? That happens a lot with me; don’t ask me why, it just does. My second reaction was to wonder just why in the heck the lowly blogger would be included in a group that for all intents and purposes represents those who spend a great deal of their time finding ways to deliberately mislead and bamboozle people for their own gain. Considering all the emphasis on factual accuracy and detailed research I see advocated by those who would promote the world of blogging, it struck me as highly ironic that blogging has somehow become associated with bullshit.

Let’s be frank here. Congress is an institution that is tasked with the critical job of helping to run a country, but is made up of yahoos who spend their time finding ways to do anything but, yet appear as if they are. Then when election time comes around, everything that they DO manage to get done is garbage because it’s intended to fool everyone into keeping them in their jobs. Banks are no better because they take our money and get rich with it while paying us ridiculously low returns on the profits they make in the form of insignificant interest rates. Interest which promptly gets eaten by fees for the privilege of letting them borrow our money. Then when they flub and lose their shirts gambling with our dough we have to give them more money to stay in business. Sure, I can understand public distrust of these two groups. No problem.

But blogs? How in the name of all that’s understandably screwed up in this world did blogs get lumped in with professional crooks and liars? Blogs may be a very easy way for those who would not normally be able, to gain a visible public presence and present themselves on a large scale without constraint. Thus they include a lot of the ridiculousness that comes with such an ability in the hands of the public, but seriously, is it that bad? Do blogs have such a horrible track record of fallacies and misinformation that the public thinks of them as nothing more than another way for shysters to peddle their crap?

Perhaps the poll is addressing sites like Huffington and Drudge which have made a habit of embracing partisan political spin, but do they really qualify as blogs in the first place, and more importantly do they represent blogs as an institution at all? It’s probably moot because the story does indeed call blogs “citizen media” which certainly conveys the idea that what we are talking about here is indeed you and me, the citizen blogger.

As if it weren’t bad enough that I have to worry about staying above board with people who know me personally and know where to find me, now I have to worry about the general public thinking I am no more honest than a politician? What a lovely thought.

All this time I was worried that my posts would be found ridiculous and full of errors and faulty information. I needn’t have worried. The public thinks blogs are full of it before you even hit publish post.

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Googles Instant Foray Into the Darkside

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You know, it’s one thing to recognize shifts or trends in how the public is behaving and capitalize on them. SEO experts get paid lots of dough to try and predict what the new trends are going to be so clients can try to latch onto them with almost psychic ability. It’s another thing entirely to try forcing that new shift or trend. With Google’s unveiling of Google Instant, I am struck by how the company is ham handedly trying to change the way searches are used by the general public. Leveraging their considerable influence, they’ve attempted to change on a fundamental level how users surf the net by altering their surfing experience at its very core. Before a user has even begun their journey, Google is influencing where they go on an almost Freudian level. Your intentions may have been to find some info on alcoholism, but Google instant wants to make sure you get a look at Allegiant Air’s listing before you get through with your typing and find what you were actually after.

General searches on drugs will initially pull up results for DroidX before you get to the third letter. Attention deficit should be obvious, and brings you ATT.

While a lot of people are going on and on about whether or not this is going to destroy SEO as we know it and believe me, my first inclination as a content writer was to worry about exactly that, the bigger picture may be how Google has decided to not only recognize our proclivity to waste time online doing things we really shouldn’t, but to exploit that proclivity by putting suggestions in front of us in the hopes that we will take them and run. If the idea is to make our search faster, then why are there suggestions among SEO experts and proponents of Instant that this new change will perhaps cause users to click on results they normally might not? Why are they suggesting that Instant will end up giving those results some extra clicks that would otherwise be ignored because they were not truly relevant? If the reason for the change is to help us find what we were looking for faster, isn’t that taking us away from what we were looking for in the first place? It’s as if Google is saying,. “Here’s your results. Hey! Look at that shiny thing over there!” While I might appreciate being shown where the cliff is, I don’t think I would enjoy having my guide ask me to look at pictures of his kids while my feet are on the edge.

Think I’m being overly dramatic? Consider Matt Cutts thoughts on this very thing.

“I was recently researching a congressperson. With Google Instant, it was more visible to me that this congressperson had proposed an energy plan, so I refined my search to learn more, and quickly found myself reading a post on the congressperson’s blog that had been on page 2 of the search results.” – Matt Cutts

Now, that sounds like a sunshine and butterflies scenario and who can blame him? He’s Google property after all and it’s his job to tell us how great everything Google does is. Those who work with SEO learned a long time ago to winnow the wheat he throws out from the chaff. So, what we really get here is this; Good ol’ Matt was looking for info on a congressman, and spent time reading about his energy policies. Here’s the problem. While Matt is not being deceitful or anything so sinister, he is practicing omission; a great big gaping sinkhole of an omission. I can feel my feet getting closer to the edge of the chasm as I type, and the instinctive and always futile inclination to windmill my arms to maintain balance is growing. I always end up flat on my ass anyways.

 Ok so great, Instant alerted Matt through its on the fly results that the congressman had energy plans, and Matt CHANGED his query (like how he calls it refining?) in midstride to investigate them. Problem is, what was he originally looking for? That’s what he isn’t telling us and where that honking big sinkhole is. Was he trying to find out info on the congressman’s finance history? Perhaps he was interested in learning more about the congressman’s voting record? However, what he ended up with was time spent reading about his energy policies. Great if you had no particular subject in mind, an utter waste of time if you were trying learn about his tendency to vote against good policies and you have a piece about it due tomorrow.

For those of us who have that kind of time to waste, great, go ahead and spend time clicking on any result that looks interesting. As someone who uses Google as a tool to educate myself about specific subjects in order to put together informative text on a specific subject, it does me absolutely no favors whatsoever. I suspect that this is the case for most people as well regardless of whether Google is used as a work or leisure tool. I can’t speak for everyone of course, but I don’t normally go to a search engine because I need some suggestions as to what I need to look for. I go there because I know what I need, I just want to find it.  

Nowhere is this basic fact of user search behavior and relevancy more obvious than in the current trends of SEO itself. Single terms no longer rule the roost except for those who already own them. Long tail and complex queries have taken precedence and not because they are cheaper or better for getting around optimizing for saturated terms. They are being targeted because users have found that the relevancy of their searches improve as they add more terms to their search, and SEO gurus recognized this in about .0001 milliseconds. To this end a real estate marketer might avoid trying to rank for Real Estate, and instead concentrate on Sunny Hills Real Estate if that is more relevant to his business. While his static results would likely be effective, his Google Instant results would be highly polluted. He would then have to accept that before the user ever gets to his relevant results they will be bombarded with results for Sun Trust, Sunny 105.9, Sunny Hills Reunion, and finally some relevant results with the typing of “real”. Nothing was speeded up, and additional distractions from his listing have been added.

Sure users are not stupid and will ignore irrelevant results and continue typing if they are determined, but that assumes that SEO does not change to take advantage of Instant, which the experts like Matt agree is likely. C’mon, this is Google. Who out there optimizes for anything but Google anymore? And if Google changes how searches return results, are we going to simply carry on as usual?  You might as well ask us to forget Google even exists before you’d get anyone to ignore changing tactics to take advantage of Instant.

 For some SEO will change to include more attention to things like gearing LSI towards producing results for short nonsense terms that may not be relevant but will still result in a page being displayed before the actual relevant terms are typed. Someone may search for “arctic bears”, but I being an article writer might be tempted to work SEO towards improving my results in Instant for ARC in order to get my businesses pages exposed in more searches overall. While I am unlikely to do this because ranking is less important for me than relevancy and the two currently go hand in hand anyways, it’s pretty easy to see how those who would abuse SERP’s might use this. It is here that Instant’s tendency to distract and provide totally meaningless results before a term is completed really begins to make itself known. The bane of the internet, spammers are guaranteed to begin using Instant mercilessly. In fact, how Instant displays results is very much similar to the entire premise of spam.

Spammers know full well that 99% of what they churn out will be ignored. They are after the 1% who buys, and because of this churn out ridiculous amounts of spam to be effective. Now imagine what happens when the less than reputable begin targeting Instant, if they haven’t already. What will all their attempts at gaming it do to static results? Will long tail terms become even more important in order for Instant to remain effective in returning results that appear in some manner relevant? If so, then what is the point of Instant anyways if we are going to have to expand our search terms? What good is removing the need to press enter if I have to enter several more letters instead in order to get past added garbage?

While Google says that Instant is good news for short terms and will increase their value, making them more expensive and even more competitive (read as “saturated”), the likely result is that long terms will increase in cost as well, which is bad news for those of us who cannot afford highly expensive short terms and target long terms almost exclusively. In other words, I may currently be on the first two pages of Google for Article Writing, Keyword Articles, and Keyword Article Writing. A week from now may see me banished to the 5th or 6th page as those terms become saturated by expensive campaigns. My Instant results will be absolutely and horribly obscured by irrelevant and distracting returns until an entire term is finally entered, assuming the user gets that far. With static pages users find my terms immediately upon hitting enter. With Instant my pages get put at the back of the line as the user is exposed to hundreds of returns until they finally hit upon mine.

 Where we once worked to get to the top of static SERPs because of the fact that users tend to pay attention to only the first 3 pages and ignore the rest, those static results are effectively gone until the user makes it past all the distraction and completes a query. Worse, the changes in SEO this will bring about may mean that past ranking for those terms may no longer be any good, and even if they get to those terms you may no longer rank well for them. The algorithms behind rankings may not have changed, but how the results are displayed HAS and that is what everyone will be trying to game. 

Google built its empire on a simple and efficient search engine that returned relevant results. No gimmicks, no distractions, no special considerations on the part of the user. You typed in your search terms on a clean page and got results that depended more on your ability to correctly identify your target than anything. Google has made a complete departure from this concept and introduced the mother of all distractions. They’re not only distracting us after leading us to the edge of the cliff, they’re sticking their foot out and shoving us in the back as well. What they’ve done goes far beyond sticking advertisements all over a search page. They are literally spamming us.

It’s one thing to improve the ability to return relevant results and weed out those who would game the system, it is quite another to introduce a change intended to subtly force users to consider clicking on irrelevant returns and that is exactly what Instant does. While Instant may be good for increasing the value of terms and raising the cost of good SEO, it is not good for improving the search experience. The algorithms haven’t changed yet, but Instant add’s a new level of interaction that users aren’t generally interested in performing. Instead of simply getting your results and looking through them to find your match, you now have to actively ignore endless returns that have nothing to do with what you want.  It also adds a new facet to how SERPs may be targeted by the less than scrupulous which could have serious repercussions for good SEO practices. The one thing Google did not do is make searching easier or faster. What does Instant stand for anyways? Instant market value? If this deliberate overload of search results doesn’t kill Google’s attempt at streaming results, you can expect the option to turn them off to disappear in the near future. Google did this for a reason, and if it PAYS off, expect Instant to become the new Google norm. Who would have thought it? Google search is turning into Google Spam.

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Sept 11 2001

1

Enough Said. Copy it and pass around if you’d like.

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Posted in: General Entries

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Professional Writing Services

Smart business owners know there is no such thing as overnight success. They also know that today's marketplace is online. If you're in it for the long haul and are success minded, you need an online presence. I have helped many businesses increase their exposure, develop their branding, and grow their customer base through website design and content development.

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