22 April 2010

SEO Unethical Techniques

The way I learn best is for someone to pose a question. For example, "Diane, have you heard of SEO article writing?" To which my answer would be, "No, but now I'm curious.." Look out rabbit hole, here I come.

So, I did do some research, but not a whole lot. I sort of stopped myself when I ran into some information that was pretty disturbing to me about SEO article writing. First off, in case you didn't know, SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. What it means basically is preparing your website to be the most richly matched in content with search engine queries made by users surfing the world wide web.

How is this done? Well, for example, a site would use meta tags in their html documents, like so:

I chose that one because it is quite long for a reason (I took out some keywords because it was soooo long). The site itself is a website for an aquarium in New England and I found it quite easily by just using Google to search for "aquarium". It was the first one to come up in my list of results. Of course, I don't live in New England, nowhere close even. So maybe I should redo my search to include Florida? There, much better results!

But look at the long list of keywords in that meta tag! I did another search using Google and combined the words "webcam", "tickets" and "England", all keywords in the above meta tag. Not at all expecting to get an aquarium hit right? But, I did.

Maybe I heard that somewhere someone was selling webcam tickets to entertaining footage of the Royal Family Dinner Party with Barack Obama! New England Aquarium came up 5th on my list of results. Several results and pages away from the forefront was a link entitled "London web cams links". Jeez, do you think that might have more to do with what I was expecting to find as a result?

So we have moved away from keywords now, not so important... Now the people who want traffic have to work just a little harder for it. Thus, the need for SEO article writing. What they do here is instead of just slapping some keywords in a meta tag, they use the keywords in a written article that gets published in an article directory and with a link back to their site.

I've read so many how tos and to dos about this that made me cringe, simply because I love to write myself, but I love to write about things that are comprehensive and I don't write just for the sake of writing something. I have to be really focused on what it is I want to accommplish with my written words. That means quality content to somebody, I hope!

I did read on this one site that you "just string the words together to where they make sense". This really, really bothers me. It's like instructing a three year old to "just put the yellow square block into the yellow square hole, dear...see not so hard huh?"

Then what really kills me is that they will rewrite the same article, same keywords, but with slight changes to make it a different article...over and over again. Then they re-publish these articles. This is laziness - pure, evil laziness!!

Stop, people!! Stop treating the web like a checkout lane by filling it with these publications that are comparable to trash magazines and their headlines that have little to nothing to do with the real content. Integrity pays, not gimmicks. Well, aside from the "as seen on TV" products I keep buying for my husband each Christmas. I love those things, but I don't think he does.

Getting back to SEO article writing (there ARE ethical techniques in SEO article writing, but that's not what I'm writing about). What disturbed me the most is that these people that are involved in article writing and "rewriting" in order to gain traffic for their websites seem to forget about integrity and pride in their products or content of their sites. Nevermind that a large percentage of their customers probably won't go back because they were "tricked" into visiting to begin with and have found very poorly written, even painful to read content.

I hope that people who practice this type of unethical approach to marketing would find better ways to get word out to their potential customers, but quality costs. You can pay as little as $1.25 per hour for article writing/rewriting. Some ads seeking writers will even list that you "don't have to have real good English" or "noobs welcome". Scary, isn't it?

So, when their credibility becomes famously negative, they won't have to worry about getting traffic hits anymore, they will be blacklisted I think is the term. Thank goodness there are smarter people in place that anticipate these unethical techniques, so kudos for policing the trash!

14 April 2010

Privacy on the Internet

I received a phone call yesterday from register.com and I realized then that I had updated my contact information on my account. I did this because I had used my mother's name and listed her business address and an old phone number.

For a few years now, register.com would not have been able to reach me, mainly because my mother is deceased and her business was sold and the building leveled. But now that I updated my phone number, why not, right? After all, I did just add another domain and removed the private listing cost and email account cost that was so eloquently folded into the total cost in my shopping cart. tsk, tsk.

On to this privacy matter.

I've managed to keep the number of stalkers that are coming after me for any number of reasons to a bare minimum, let's say um, 0. So the register.com representative explains to me that this information about me is published for anyone to lookup in the whois database.


Well, duh...if you have a presence on the internet, isn't it likely that you WANT people to find you? Or if they find you on the internet and are excited about your product and want to give you money for it (Lord forbid)...do you then want to hide any means of contact they may obtain in order to reach you and make further inquiries about your product?

If this information is so readily available, why is it that every website on the internet has to have "contact us" and "about us" pages filled with information such as address, phone number and email? Oh look! Now they have maps showing people how to find you! Scary, isn't it?

And what about your picture? On the internet?! What?!

My feeling on all this is that whatever you're exposed to when you walk out of your house and into the public eye, it's no different on the internet. You don't go to the grocery store with a bag over your face, do you? So why would you be on the internet without a picture, doofus? Unless, of course, you have something to hide. In which case I wouldn't want to have anything to do with you anyway, since you're that shady. :)

09 April 2010

Learning New Things

So why do I write about all of these things that I'm currently undertaking as new learning experiences? Because I'm one of those people who gain a comprehensive understanding in areas of study when I write about them. It's not enough to just read the how tos on the internet and just start coding, messing up, fixing, and recoding, etc. The real lightbulb comes on when I decide to write about some new thing that I have to learn in order to do my job properly.

I think the reason this works for me is that I'm not afraid to also write about the shameful things I encounter through my screw ups. Nobody likes to mess things up, certainly not me. But I also find that I have more freedom to admit the things that I do mess up because I am very forgiving of myself. I have to be or I would never agree to be in this profession.

Although, I have found that once I write something down and make an announcement about it, I'm 100% committed and at that point I know that if I am not successful, then these written words will be a reflection of my failure. This is a motivating factor in getting my ass in gear to learn all this new stuff.  It's taxing on the brain (at least it is on MY brain) and I imagine not something a lot of people want to get stuck doing. Maybe it's because they don't have that strategy in place that will glare back and challenge them. It's called committment. College was successful for me because of this very thing.

My husband calls me a professional student.  :)

08 April 2010

Writing Site

Well, I put my writing site up yesterday.  I'm going to eventually send it to my sister so that she can check it out. Mainly I want her to check out the design of the site since she took up web development before I did. I'm the newbie here!  lol

I'm getting used to it now and used to deployment/publishing, but I think I'm going to invest in a domain at some point. I'm not sure which to go with but will do the research. It's so tedious trying to fill the content.  I think I enjoyed the designing of the site a lot more.  Hope I don't peter out with the content and leave things half developed like that.

I really do have a lot of content to put out there, but some of it I'm not so sure I want just anyone looking at. Time to create some form of login maybe to my private folder or something? Who knows...

We are definitely NOT there yet.  :)

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