by Ben Elowitz

Move on from the Algorithm

Early reports are in confirming the results of Google’s index changes.  Yahoo’s Luke Beatty says two-thirds of Associated Content pages have lost traffic, while I’ve heard that total volume declines from Google search have reached 70% on some properties.

For sites like eHow and About.com, which get somewhere between 65%-70% of their traffic from search, the concentrated risk exposure that comes from Google engineers changing the algorithm makes for an unstable and uncontrollable business model.

Never in the history of media has there been such a precarious model for distribution, and the bad decision by SEO-focused sites to try and build a relationship with an algorithm looks worse and worse. The SEO-focused sites kowtow to the algorithm’s desires, as best as they can interpret them.  They game their moves internally, based on what they think the algorithm wants, not what the customer wants. And they rely on the white hats, as well as all of the blackest hats they can stomach, just to please the algorithm.

But, unfortunately, the algorithm is capricious and unreliable.

What these companies should do is form relationships with consumers.

That means providing consumers what they want – and where they want it, which increasingly means in their Facebook or Twitter feed, and on their mobile phone.

In the end, this is the only way to create great experiences that are branded in the consumer’s mind today.

My advice, then, is simple.

SEO slaves, rise up – and revolt!  Throw out the false God of the search algorithm and, in its place, focus on building valuable content and experiences. Win the audience, not the search.

  • http://thedealerblog.com TuneyFish

    Ben, I agree that companies should form relationships with consumers, but I disagree with the suggestion to revolt against search engines.

    The way companies form relationships today is by creating something remarkable that others can't wait to get their hands on, share, talk about, etc.

    Doesn't matter how active a company is on Facebook or Twitter, if they make crappy stuff or offer a lousy service, they will lose eventually.

    So eHow, About.com, etc. didn't create remarkable content, and now they are paying the price for that.

    Google's product is search, and if they didn't make improvements to it, people would find another means to get information that is remarkable.

    If companies want to be successful, they need to listen to what others are saying about them. It's not like those sites didn't know what they were doing. They simply created the absolute minimum quality content, and created as much of it as they possibly could to make money off search traffic.

    Now that this has happened these companies will re-evaluate their business model because they will only continue to lose money by focusing on ways to manipulate search engines instead of creating something we might consider remarkable.

  • woaini521

    I like your article
    Cheap jewelryCheap jewelry

  • http://www.digitalquarters.net Ben Elowitz

    Thanks for your note. I am out of the office on business travel June 8-June 17. Please email my assistant, Larisa Hauser at larisa@wetpaint.com with any urgent items.

    Thanks!

    –Ben

  • Imaginary Borderlines

    I enjoyed your article on BusinessInsider.com and this one was even better. Couldn't agree with you more. Keep up the good work!

  • http://www.digitalquarters.net Ben Elowitz

    Thanks for your note. I am out of the office on business travel July 11-15. I'll be on email regularly, but responses may be delayed due to travel and meetings.

    Thanks!

    –Ben

top