Most bloggers and site owners want to be heard.
Lets have it right, who really likes sitting in the corner chatting away to themselves? Blogging for most is a conversational medium. For some it isn’t of course, but for most who do get it, they actually want to engage with other like minded humans who have an interest in what they write about.
The same can be said for other site owners. Those who run businesses desire to have conversations with peoples wallets and purses. Informationists and academics want to have conversations with their lessers and their peers, everybody wants to chat it seems.
Getting your site noticed through social mediums
There are a number of ways that people notice what we say.
We can talk about other people in the blogosphere and link through to them. Bloggers are curious beasts, blogs like wordpress for example, come complete with a dashboard that pulls links from Technorati. Technorati gets these from the various pinging services that are ‘pinged’ when a wordpress user publishes a post.
Ok its state the obvious time for most but it needs saying nonetheless.
By seeing who is ‘talking’ about us, we can then go over and participate in the conversation. If we say something worth listening to, then we might even gain a few new visitors and overtime a good subscriber base.
We also get noticed when we leave a comment on someone elses blog. People can read what we say and if sufficiently interested can click on our sig link and visit our blog.
We can also tag our posts with related keywords. By doing this we help social aggregators classify our content. People who subscribe to these tags or classifications might then notice a relevant or interesting post in their feed readers and decide to pay us a visit.
We can also participate in well trafficked sites that are relevant to our topics and participate in the groups and conversations that develop. Forum type sites with established communites topical to our content, social media type sites, like Stumbleupon Bumpzee Mybloglog and Blogcatalog .By doing so (as in the scenario above )we draw attention to ourselves and might even get a click through to our little personal hives of inactivity.
Pushing the envelope and going that little bit further
Of course, to take such an approach takes a lot of hard work time and effort. We don’t just build up a rep overnight. It takes time to build a subscriber base, we gain these by getting noticed and building a readership. As we get more involved in some of the principals of building traffic, we might well get into things like logfile analysis, user click through paths, traffic referals and other metrics that show us who is coming to us and from where.
We might notice that our post about our topic close to our hearts is getting a lot of traffic from a particular source this will often be a search engine. Some of us might get a little fascinated by how all this works and delve a little deeper. We’ll do a little seacrh on the Internet for stuff about blog promotion or website promotion or blog marketing and encounter this thing called SEO . We might then read up on it and think to ourselves ah, so I just got to get me some links of the right kind and write about stuff in the right way and kazaam, more traffic will follow.
So we set out on our road and begin to modify our tactics somewhat to fit in with the plans of those who seem to know what they are talking about. We might begin to behave in imaginative ways that we might not have behaved in otherwise. We begin to think like a search engine bot and forget who we are as we find ourselves signing off as ‘Big Money Keyword’ or ‘What I Do keyword’ in our blog posts or social interaction signature links. Some of us have huge sucess too; we get a little arrogant and brag about how great our content is and how marvellous our abilities are. We effectively say, ‘hey its easy to game the search engines and here’s how’
Searchbots have human faces
It’s tempting to think of search engines and algos as some cold non aware construct oblivious to all that goes on around it.
Would it be right to think of them in terms of a simple series of ifelse statements and databases with indices and bits and bytes? No of course not, they are of course much much more than that.
Google for example has a team of people dedicated to ensuring the integrity of its index. It can’t just sit idley by and allow a situation to develop that gives an impression that they are easy to game or manipulate. The fact may well be that technically they are. It may well be that given the right amount of resources and commitment to a topic that anyone on the planet can rank for anything they so wish, but hell it doesn’t happen in isolation and you’d better not stand there and say, hey look at what I did. If you do, then you are opening yourself up to some greater scrutiny. Do not expect the people behind the search engine technology to sit by and just let you get on with your ‘I’m the dogs bollocks boasts’ they can’t and they won’t.
It is their baby, their show, their index.
Don’t break the golden rule
I might be helpful to paint a little crazy world anaolgy – Consider a big house owned by a schizophrenic monster .
She owns a house with a lot of food in it created by a magic larder that is stocked by a bunch of unsuspecting farm labourers, she has so much food that she doesn’t know what to do with it.
She manages to sell a lot of it, but not all, she accepts too that every once in a while a percentage of this food will taken by people who don’t pay for it in the conventional sense. This isn’t so bad as these people help in other ways; they help fix up the house and make it look a little more attractive and presentable to those who do pay.
The house has lots of these helpers, new volunteers arrive daily standing outside shouting ‘hey I can do the ironing, or the painting or the cooking’. The house has a continual long line of people all queueing up to do their bit for free food.
These queues stay long because those who are already inside eating obviously like their jobs and their free food so much, that they don’t ever want to leave.
There are only a maximum of 10 of these places at any one time. However, there is also a golden unwritten rule which says you can never ever brag about the free food you get. If you do, and she hears you then you might just be kicked out and forced to wait in line again like all those others who don’t like to pay.
The golden rule is that if you are doing wll in the search engines then you just mustn’t mustn’t brag about it. They know what they send you, they can flick the switch at a whim and you have no say whatsoever. They aren’t a democrasy, they aren’t accountable, they can do what the hell they like and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it.
She is always listening, always paying attention, remember that and you’ll be just fine.
Build your own traffic sources, create buzz, create your own sustainance, plough your own field, grow your own crops. If you happen to get invited in for some free food, then great enjoy it while it lasts, but don’t get too comfortable as its a cold long wait in any queue.