Tuesday, June 24, 2008

“Content is king” arguments on Internet - Knowledge about machines wins over knowledge about humans

Those who have knowledge have power. That is a statement many of us holds to be true. It does not matter within which area. It applies in most of them. Take the business markets as an example. Those who truly understand the logics of a particular market - how it works and tics – they have a competitive advantage over those who do not. On internet markets, it seems to be very important to have deep knowledge about the search machines – much so than about humans.

Bloggers and social media
The reason of my reflection about knowledge is that I have read a lot of blogs about how to be successful as a blogger. Nowadays blogging is a very important marketing tool so it is important to cover that ground if you want to be successful in marketing on internet. In my reading everybody acknowledge the importance of SEO. But many seem to be very focused on, what I call the human side of internet marketing. Much recommendation is e.g. about how you should market and promote yourself in social medias. The argument is that you can not just sit and wait for somebody (search engine) to find you. You have to “go out there” and make yourself visible – connect and mingle with other bloggers! To me this feels intuitive right – spot on. This is something which I'm familiar with. It fits my experience. But I have learnt that when I easily tend to take things for granted, I should be aware.

A contrarian view
The alert came when I read Court's excellent post about avoiding the search enging pipe dream by focusing on social media sites. Most of the many commentators seem to agree with the author. However, one of the commentators, Vic, seems to have a different take on this than the rest. He emphasis that “Content is king – Period!” Google’s algorithm is what rules on internet. He goes on and explains his doubtfulness on the focus on the social media. The problem is express in this quote.

“Court I do agree that social sites are great but the problem is the older the content is in a social sites the less people come from it, hence you have to constantly keep writing new stuff, with Google is the opposite the more older content you have the more keyword combinations you site have.”

What matters is to add rich content. That suits the algorithm of Google. According to the commentator this means that it is important to choose a topic which is wide enough – in meaning of being interesting to a large population. Then will the Google algorithm help you to make a lot of money. This much more than interacts on social sites.

The "problems" of human thinking
I interpret this as a focus on the machine side of internet marketing. A lot to the success lies in the design of your communication, compared to its execution. To create a good design you need to have a deep understanding of how the machines “think”. The machines will like you if you chose a topic which is wide enough. To add content on internet is like food for the crawler machines. You feed them and they will like and reward you for it.

It is though not easy to think like the machines. I’m not a programmer who has a lot of knowledge about these things. I think the way human thinks. I have a keen understanding in how important it is to get notice by other humans and network with them. However, the risk with this non understanding (i.e. being human), is that I tend to deemphasize such things which I do not understand – i.e. machine thinking – and emphasize such things which I understand – i.e. human thinking. But that can be a loser game. It can reduce the changes of a successful marketing strategy on internet.

The importance of a well thought out design
For me as a blogger, it is important too avoid a too narrow topic – and of course a too broad. When I surf among successful blogger I have to remember that this is still a small market with very specialized interests. Yes, even if we are talking about millions. In these markets can social media sites be important. But in larger markets the customer is not necessary interested in blogging strategies and business networking. They want to find good keywords so they find information, friends, offerings as quickly and accurate as possible – and this is the job of the machines. Internet marketing as blogging is then about making sure that the machines work for you and place you really close to our potential customers. To achieve this, the blogger has to learn how to think more as machines than as humans when designing the business idea. Then can we obtain a competitive advantage on the internet market.

This can be odd, because we humans are humans. But the two guys who were able to think like the machines created the profitable business idea which now rules what we know as internet – the Google search. This business idea is hard to comprehend for many people who think like humans. That is why we use colorful metaphors such as beauty contest when we want to explain Google’s business idea. As for the machines, they have no clue what beauty contest means. What make sense for them is cold and hard numerical signs.

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