As we head into more thorough discussions on SEO (search engine optimization), I find that I am getting into areas that I have traditionally felt are overwhelming (read: technical mumbo-jumbo). I have tended more toward the right side of the brain, and steered clear of the left, but lately my exposure to the technical aspects in this master’s program have actually helped me to connect the dots with more frequency. Case in point: the week’s assigned readings.
Designing a website that successfully meets the needs of any business is daunting, especially for a person like me who sweats the details. MVT was a fascinating discovery for me. I love the idea that designers and developers have the ability to test multiple elements of web pages “live”. Those test results, to a newbie, like me would be valuable because they are from actual users in actual visits to an actual website. (The example sites proved for results were fun to explore.) .
Also this week, I read through a dizzying glossary of search engine marketing terms – some familiar, most new. Three terms grabbed my attention as I read: Attention Profile (APML), Bounce Rate, and Online Reputation Management (ORM).
Attention profile is amassed information about what users read, write, share, and consume. Besides the Big Brother creepiness that still exists as a voice in the back of my head, it is intriguing that there are profiles of all these people with shared activities and interests online. The possibilities for target marketing are incredible (and visible every time I venture online, now that I’m paying attention to it) when armed with this sort of data.
Bounce Rate refers to the percentage of people who leave a site within the first 5 seconds. Would I be a “bouncer” if I know I’ve been guilty of that?
Of the three terms, this is the one that really hooked me: Online Reputation Management (ORM). While freedom of speech and expression are guaranteed by the First Amendment, many individuals and companies may easily become the target of negative attacks by others exercising their rights online. Hence the need for ORM as a necessary PR tool. I highly recommend this article by Anvil Media, Inc. on ORM.
As with most of the information it provides, Google has given very clear, and easy-to-understand guidelines, divided into three sections. The Design and Content Guidelines are helpful and the Technical Guidelines were, well, technical.
The Quality Guidelines, though, were very interesting, as they really do emphasize integrity and honesty. Among the “don’t” guidelines were several that I have seen in practice on the web, but as I thought about it, I got the impression these instances are becoming more rare. I’ve seen cloaking and doorway pages in the past, but haven’t come across as many lately. Does that mean quality control on the web has worked? Does it mean that the web community has somewhat succeeded in patrolling itself? Or does that just mean that those guilty of these guideline infractions have gotten more clever and clandestine?
The two most important guidelines I walk away with are these:
- Make pages primarily for users, not for search engines.
- Provide unique and relevant content.
One last question for the day: What exactly do they mean by “hand-to-hand spam fighting”? (It’s probably not as entertaining as the picture in my head right now.)