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Troy

Google is King -- not Content

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All of us involved with the production of content online is familiar with the refrain "Content is King". 

 

The general idea behind the phase is that if you generate a lot of unique content you will generate a lot of traffic, links back to you site from other sites and high ranking in search results.

 

The key is really the last bit about ranking high in search results.  Well funded websites today are discovered by spending a lot of money on advertising and promotion.  Smaller independent websites (the vast majority of websites) are dependent upon ranking high on search engine results -- specifically Google search engine results, because they are far and way the most popular search engine.  Indeed "google" is now a verb meaning; to search online.

 

However, at an accelerating rate, it is becoming clear that in reality, "Google is King".  Even Google says quite loudly that content is king when it comes to their search results.  My experience and the data I've collected suggests otherwise;

 

Here are a couple of many anecdotes to illustrate why your support is needed:

Not too long ago I paid a writer for an article he'd written for publication on The Huffington Post's website.   The writers was unhappy.  He felt his article would lose it's impact because the Huffington Post was taking too long to publish it.  On top of that, he was not being paid for that article or any of the articles he wrote for the Huffington Post.

Knowing I could publish the article in a few minutes, I paid the the writer $25 and published his article on AALBC.com.  I wanted to test a theory.

My article was indexed by Google in less than 24 hours.  About a week later The Huffing Post published the article. Immediately, after Huffington Post's publication of the article they started beating beating AALBC.com in search results. This is not surprising a giant corporate site beats a much smaller independent site on the same content.

However, the real problem is that scores of other sites which aggregate content, by automatically copying excerpts of content from the Huffington Post and other sites, producing no original content, began beating me in Google searches as well! The only purpose those sites serve is to generate advertising revenue through the use of excerpts from other websites.

Social Media or Rather Google's Bias Toward Social Media has exacerbated the problem.

 

My own social media (FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google+) OFTEN beats AALBC.com on searches for my original content! If I post a LINK on FaceBook to an article on AALBC.com, then later run a query on the article's title my FaceBook page can come us first! It is hard to rationalize how a page with just a link and can beat a page with the entire article. 

 

Click this link which runs a Google search on Troy Johnson  Now Troy Johnson is a very common name and I'm doing great to have several results appear on the 1st page of results. On my tests my LinkedIn in profile and my Facebook page beat my site which has, deliberately, much more up-to-date and comprehensive information.

 

The problem with sending people to Facebook to hit a link that leads back to AALBC.com where the content is, is that Facebook is very "sticky", once people get there they tend to stay there. Someone looking for Troy Johnson or an article I've published will likely get stuck on Facebook and never make it to AALBC.com.   Sometimes I find myself reading something on Facebook completely side tracked from my original task.

 

I've been running Google searches since Google was invented and they are no longer getting it right, particularly when it comes to indie sites (save Wikipedia - arguably a commercial entity).  On one hand I'm disappointed because for many years Google represented what was great about the net.  Google facilitated a level playing field between content providers based upon QUALITY of CONTENT.  Today they are more reflective of a greedy corporation bent on exploiting the net for monetary gain.

The things I mention here impact the entire internet experience for all of us. The impact of what I've mentioned here is far WORSE than even the digital divide problem. Sure, it is bad to have an environment where accessing the Internet is difficult for so many, but it is far more tragic when independent expression is completely shut out.

There are certainly solutions to this problem. Perhaps the biggest challenge is recognizing there is a problem. This is not just about Black books. Journalism is impacted, the ability for a writer to earn a living is greatly diminished, the quality and depth of what is published on-line and the ability to tell our stories from our perspective is in serious jeopardy.

 

There was absolutely ways to correct this problem, but it will take a concerted effort from a critical mass of people.  But the first step is helping people and content providers (the ones remaining) recognize there is a problem.

 

 

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Troy as I said before, all of this industry jargon is greek to me. If I am typical, this may have some impact on whatever it is you're complaining about.
 

AOL is my carrier and anytime I want to find out something, I just key the subject into its search blank which is "google enhanced". This takes me to a page full of links on the subject I am seeking info about, and the links include those to Wikipedia and Ask.com.

On my AOL homepage, the Huffingtono Post is the main source that draws you in with teasers about the latest news in every field. But I hate going there because, for whatever reason, my computer freezes up and stalls once I am finally able to get to any given page which is rife with pop ups and ad videos. It's a frustrating hassle, and one of the reasons why I am getting my news less and less on line. For me, it's too much trouble. The internet has started to overwhelm me with its overload of everything and the browser problems that plague me.

When I want to reach this site, I just key in AALBC Forums which gets me to a page exclusively dedicated to subjects about AALBC. I then click on the "join the conversation" link which brings me here.

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Actually Cynique that helps a lot.  I've been online since before the internet was a commercial entity, and have been building websites for the better part of 20 years.  My perspective is very unique.  It is useful to read how regular people engage the site or the internet in general.

 

Your method of accessing the board is fine it I tried it too.  I simply type the URL http://aalbc.com/tc or hit the discussion board on the main site's menu bar.  Once I arrive at the forums I hit select "View New Content" on the menu which shows me the new posts I have not read.

 

Most of the people I talk about stuff in original post "get it". When I talk to "regular" people they don't quite understand or care very much. 

 

I've been bouncing ideas and arguments off my 21 year old who feels twitter, for example, is a great way to communicate.   I think if I can get her to understand why it is not -- indeed the exact opposite I can convince anyone :-)

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