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I don’t know whether to laugh or cry this morning about a situation one of my clients is having. They, like many other sites, get a fair amount of traffic from Google. In their case, because they’re a news site, Google News is a key traffic driver as well. A week ago, with no notice or changes to the site, their articles disappeared from Google News and their traffic dropped precipitously. What’s really weird is that the site is still fully indexed in regular Google – only News is affected.
Why am I telling you this? Because while the cause is still unknown we have an idea of what’s doing it and there are larger thoughts beyond our specific case that I want to share. Continue reading
Let’s start the year off with a question I’m sure you’ve heard if you have kids. It goes something like this: Why learn? “Why do I have to learn all this stuff in (math, history, chemistry – pick one) when I’ll never use it anyway?” The easy way out is to remind them that you had to labor through it and it’s the unfortunate lot of children that their play gets interrupted to acquire certain life skills. However, in an age when damn near everything anyone has ever learned is pretty much accessible via a search of some sort, and access to search is immediately available everywhere, why learn indeed? Well, here’s why, and it’s a business lesson as well. Continue reading
Hope everyone had a great holiday and now it’s back to business. My business brain got turned on yesterday as I read the article on the front of the NY Times business section. If you haven’t read the piece on how an unscrupulous web vendor grew his business by exploiting Google’s algorithm (my guess is it’s the same with the other search engines as well), you can read it here. The gist of it is this dirtball welcomes and precipitates customer complaints, saying they vault his business higher in Internet search results. It’s really frightening but in the almost 48 hours since it was published (on the web site Saturday night) a lot has happened. Most importantly, it shows me once again why newspapers won’t die any time soon. Continue reading
One of the more esoteric things I work on with clients is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. I’ll tell you upfront, as I do my clients, that I’m not an SEO specialist but the reality is that many of these folks are at 0 on a scale of 1 to 10 and I can get them to 6 or 7. If they want more help from there, we’ll bring in a specialist.
SEO for you non-search types is a variety of tasks that improve a site’s ranking in search engines. Since a huge percentage of web usage involves search, where you rank in the search results can have a big effect on your web success. Sounds technical and complex, right? Well, sorry to burst everyone’s balloon, but like many things in business, it’s actually fairly simple if you focus on one thing. Continue reading
If you spend any time reading about what’s going on in digital media, you’re probably aware of Rupert Murdoch‘s war on free content. His beef is that many companies spend lots of resources to produce original content and then others such as Google, Drudge, and HuffPo aggregate it and make money off of it with minimal investment. He wants to place a lot of content behind pay walls which, in my opinion, will be an interesting experiment but one which is doomed to failure unless there is a systematic change in the nature of the web. But that’s not the subject of today’s piece. Instead, Rupert’s now gone one step beyond. Continue reading