Thursday, December 27, 2012

What if you got” Scroogled” this Holiday season?


I got to hear about the word “Scroogled” after reading CNN’s report on the various Search Engines sales drive for the holiday season especially after ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Cyber Monday’. Bing allegedly coined the word after accusing Google of some sharp practices Google employed to curry things in its favor, Bing reported how the search Engine giant manipulated its shopping Portal- Google shop search listing results by including paid listings with organic search results without formerly informing searchers of the distinction between both results, rather they got both paid and organic searches merged into one with paid listing gaining precedence over the latter.

 Looking at how spurious these claims are to the realities of today’s dog-eat-dog marketing environment we find ourselves in, then every small and low budget marketer need to get really worried and agitated over this sad development to say the least. 

The main reason being that Google is notorious for raising red flags and doing things rather unconventionally without regard to the people it is serving. If for any reason, which many foresee; Google were to extend this to its other products, then we are finally witnessing the death of Online Democracy which Google used to be a strong advocate of.

Remember we are already in the holiday season when the rush to shop for various items happen to be the norm, and as an Affiliate it won’t hurt getting some commission dollars from the prospects and leads you’ll be sending the way of Amazon, eBay, clickBank etc. and every conceivable online shopping portal. Then Imagine getting scroo-gled in a period like this, can you imagine? You can now understand that Google is on the precipice of setting another dangerous precedence if it indeed broadens its spectrum with this callous change, as we will be dramatically witnessing another round of its animal attacks- maybe a Tiger this time that’ll unleash chaos to the entire World Wide Web: this has to be resisted at all cost.
Though I see many webmasters dismissing this move with a wave of the hand, since Google is yet to release any official statement to either support of disprove these wild accusations by Bing- a big opponent increasing in strength by the day. But my discussion here is not what happens between Bing or Google- remember when two elephants fight (Google vs. Bing) it is the grass (small webmasters like you and I) that’ll suffer. Therefore I’ll be looking at the negative implications this denotes for you and I who lack the big budget to get our contents top in the search Engine’s Serp’s for lack of the funds to do so. Below are some reasons why we need to fight Google on this one (just wondering how, remember we don’t even have the wherewithal to do so, notwithstanding we should at least try.
  1. The End of Online Democracy: I mentioned this above, however this happens to be the most devastating of all the blows Google will be throwing at us if this was to be the case where a webmaster gets Scr(ew)-ooo-gled by Google. What is online democracy if I might ask? Well this simply means the equality in ranking of various sites on different niches based on the overall quality and value of its content to a searcher. Without online democracy, the emergence of Big players like Darren Rowse of copyblogger.com, Problogger,  John Chow of Shoemoney.com, Seth Godin  the founder of Squidoo.com and all the A-list bloggers with six figure income we get to hear about every now and then won’t have been possible- since most, if not all of these guys had their humble beginnings. Now what will happen if the small guy with good stuff gets relegated just because he doesn’t have the financial muscle to compete with the big brands with enough resources to throw around for PPC? Just go figure! 
  2. The death of Affiliate Marketing: from every angle this might not happen as many big brands rely on the services of affiliates to make more sales. But imagine a scenario where the middle man (Affiliate) is no longer required in the chain of circulation of product and services because the big brands and advertisers can meet the customer directly? This is what should be happening as all what a brand needs to do is bid high for a particular keyword; Google gets its money from the bid, indexes the content of the brand and serves it hot to the searchers. Now think of the small guy who takes his time to write a well-researched and detailed review of the Brand’s product and services hoping to  land the required listing from the SERP’s and hopefully get a referral commission only to get sidelined from the whole channel of distribution, can you picture this? This is the sad believe me. 
  3.   Killing off Competition: this is the most devastating of all. If truly what Google was accused of can be ascertained as the real facts; then the spirit of competition has been formerly shut. Though this might still be considered as online democracy. However when you talk of favorable competition, this is an entirely different case here. This is so because small marketers and affiliates competed on a level playing field with the big players. Anybody with the right coding knowledge or free software can start his own Affiliate program, recruiting other little marketers to promote your products and services- but this might become difficult now if Google sounds this death knell on competition. 
  4.  Poor Search Result Pages: The job of web Siamese twins Panda and Penguin was to fight duplicate content and web spam. But it is rather ironical that Google is going back on its word or should I say action. Lately I’ve been getting poor and unrelated search result pages on various search terms I conduct on Google. Many SEO gurus and self-styled Google pundits keep telling us that thin content with not more than 300-400 words are sent down or completely off the SERPs. But I find this quite phony as I’ve been served with thin contents who comfortably occupy number one.
Now these are the common problems that every little marketer will encounter if this turns out to be the case. In this order, what should really matter is how to fashion out an iron clad antidote to confront Google head on. If for any reason I get screw-oogled, I plan to take the route I’ll be listing below to make sure that I don’t lose my place in cyber space as an Affiliate marketer and as a writer.

  1. Place less emphasis on Google, SEO, Panda/Penguin and every sundry search engine marketing tips and techniques: most of the victims of Google’s incessant algo changes are people who place all their hope in search engine traffic- Google traffic specifically. These set of people easily get screwed when things do not go their way. Most times we even forget that as affilaites looking for leads, these leads are real human beings like you and me. There are no robots who come to your site to either put you high up in the SERP or de-SERP you when you violate any of their set rules; this is is why I plan to place less emphasis on Google and its minions, but will spend more time creating good contents for people like me to read and feel. Good and well written content will always find its way to the corridors of those who need them, this is my candid believe. 
  2. Go entirely social:  Twitter happens to be my new social darling for some time now. Social Networks are powerful marketing tools if you know how to exploit their various platforms for marketing purposes. Facebook is purported to have over 1 billion active users- that is about one quarter of the world’s entire population. Twitter on the other hand, boasts of about 140 million active users on their network. Now if you combine these two platforms, we are looking at about 1.4 million people to reach out to. Facebook after its IPO launch a couple of months back is carefully building a strategic framework to integrate business and social. Google understands the risk this move poses to them, this is the real reason behind the launch of Google’s not too successful social network- Google plus (Twitter’s alter ego). Twitter on the other hand is the most powerful marketing tool; this is so because the network is concise and straight forward in all its dealings. They have a cool and seamless networking system that does not require age and parental restrictions. This is why it is the preferred marketing instrument or gizmo used solely by many top marketers to promote their various brands in 140 words or less. It is even rumored that some top celebrities like Kim Kardasian with verified accounts and millions of followers get as much as 10 grand to create sponsored tweets for various companies to their followers. This is why any savvy web-preneur must stop looking at Google all the time, and start making plans to go entirely social. I have a twitter account I created solely for adult related stuff, not hardcore though, just ordinary stuff that Facebook will not allow on their stage, on this particular account I have about 180 followers and some of them are well known celebrities, on days like ‘follow-Friday’, ‘cyber-Monday’ etc.; I get to see more followers following my account mostly via these top people I follow. For Facebook, I’ve not been very active there as I see it more like a place to tell the world about your cat and how you screwed up on prom. Then the new social phenomenon Pinterest; I’m still yet to figure out this network, but from the feelers I’m getting, this is one place to be as the site have been getting rave reviews about its services and more. Google need to do more if it plans on taking Google plus to the next level, as I find this site as a mediocre site and a complete shadow of Twitter- looking at how Google is shamelessly bullying users into using this product against their wishes. Remember on YouTube, you are forced to push the G+ button to promote the video whether you like it or not. On the flip side, I’ll state here that Google is not only the place to get word out about your business, rather going social can take you to where Google can’t, get a clue or remain screwed over! 
  3. Build a List: this is very funny considering that I don’t even have one and I’m here talking about it. From the first time I hit the web, I’ve always heard the maxim “…the money is in the List”. The thing here is that for years now I’ve been trying to build an email list, but for some very strange reasons I’ve not been able to accomplish this. With social networks like twitter running the show, most web marketers are still confused if it is still profitable building a list, as most of your subscribers either delete your email campaigns as soon as it hits their inbox, and others who get annoyed with your incessant mails-push the unsubscribe button below the message to opt out. This can become counterproductive if you keep losing leads in this manner, remember you have recurrent bills like auto responders and squeeze pages to take care of. But in all of this, through my findings I’ve discovered the importance of building a list especially looking at how Google is demonizing the web with its authoritarian rules and pugnacious demeanor. As the Holiday season continues to hit up, with more and more people shopping for different gift items and holidaying apparels- these shoppers need to make comparisons to know the best deal before the bring out their credit cards. Now for someone with a list, all you need do is compile a list of sweet deals from top shopping portals like Amazon, eBay etc. send out corresponding emails to these group of people who need them. With this in place, you do not require the assistance of Google to get your messages out to those who yearn for them. All that is required is an Auto responder, a list and a compelling message. Screw Google, I don’t need them, but I need to build a list fast. 
  4. Concentrate more on Building Content rather than keyword researching: like I stressed in my first point above, they should be more emphasis on writing than any other thing. Like the gurus who always say “content is King”. Keyword researching is one SEO strategy that kills more time than saves. This is so because content creators believe that spending more time getting keyword job done will bring in more search engine traffic. This used to be the case in the past when Google still believed in rewarding hard work; but in this age and time the reality is qite the opposite. Since the big G is more concerned with getting more ad dollars via its ad flagship program- Adwords. So if you do not want to get screwed Google style, then concentrate more on building the content. For me, I’m yet to remember the last time I did any keyword research, though very important. However, MR BIG G doesn’t give a hoot about that, all that matter to him is giving more preferential treatment to the man with the dollars. So remember your readers, leads and prospects, f$$$k Google these people matter more and if you’ve got great stuff, they’ll always find you-trust me. 
  5. There’s always Infobarrel, Hubpages and not forgetting squidoo: though these sites where terribly hit after the algo changes. Hubpages was hit more, followed by Infobarrel luckily for Squidoo the impact wasn’t much. Notwithstanding, it is still profitable writing for these sites, as they boast of a large user base that somehow will get to see your stuff. Hubpages for example is where I get most of the traffic to my contents. One thing Hubpages still has going for it is its dynamism and plurality. There’s power in numbers, and these sites are blessed with it. I’ll mention here that there was mass exodus of top writers on Hubpages, even after this exit- I still think the site is worth giving a shot. For InfoBarrel, I’m relatively new here; as a matter of fact this might be my first article- that is if this article gets the nod to be published. Squidoo on the other hand is one place I still find it a little hard to publish, why this is so is still confounding. But I think I should be thinking on taking it quite serious if I still think I can hit Google in the balls; come to think of it, Squidoo post panda/penguin gets more traffic than any other content/revenue sharing site; more so with an impressive page Rank hovering between 6 and 7, this site can give Google a run for their money when it comes to giving exposure to small marketers who Google is de-SERPing for not having the necessary funds to get quality placing in its search results. In all, Google needs these sites to still stay in business, and for these reason Google bots still visit these places regularly for fresh contents. But this discussion is not about getting link juice from dictator BIG G, but surviving independently from its unusual interference with how the World Wide Web is being run. Sorry for digressing, all I’m saying here is that for we to give ourselves and brands the publicity required, then these web 2.0 conveniences will suffice. 
  6. I’m reconsidering article directories: many webmasters will promptly disagree with me on this, nevertheless, article marketing is not all that decrepit to say the least. Top article directories like ezinearticles.com, articlesbase.com and more where totally devastated post panda. Truly speaking, they deserved what they got since they deviated from what they were supposed to be- a repository for information to a spam promotion conduit. For this reason, article directories got hit hard by not only Google, but Bing and Yahoo too. Surprisingly, some of the directories that actally survived like ezinearticles.com and articlesbase.com are back in business, though not as strong as there were pre-panda/penguin; but still strong in every sense. With Google taking the small marketers to the cleaners with their latest speculated action, I did a reconnaissance of some of the sites listed, my findings where quite compelling. Ezinearticles for example has an impressive page rank of 5; remember it was 8 before the algo change. Articlesbase hovered between 5 and sometimes 6, cool you should say considering that this site lost its ranking after the zoo attack and its traffic plummeted to pitiable state. So in my arsenal to confront cyber big FOOT, I need these directories to help in my future marketing campaigns, what about you? 
  7. I think RSS Syndication can still be of great use: as I continued in my findings and research on potent weapons to fight the Giant in focus (G), I thought of RSS feeds syndication and its role in a post panda/penguin world; I discovered that this technology is still much in vogue and cannot go away with just a G-Swing (whatever that means).  Why this is so is because contents parsing and syndication delivers the latest info on any subject to the searcher/user, especially for news sites like CNN, BBC and FOX. For a fast moving world like ours, people need second-by-second news and information which can be quickly syndicated and delivered via feeds. For a small player like you and I with no money for PPC, this technology can come in handy. Though the issue of duplicate content and spun and thin content will always play out here, nonetheless I feel if this technology is properly put to good use, then who cares if you get scroogled.
In summary, I’ll surmise here that Google remains the potent force for any successful marketing drive, but we should be thinking of un-Google-ing ourselves from the tight grip these web Goliath has on every one of us, Bing on the other hand cannot be trusted in all of this as there are only crying wolf because they feel they cannot fight this monster alone- so therefore require the services of small guys like us to twist Google’s arm. Whatever the real situation is, we as the little guys must always remember that we are the pawns in the hands of these big guys whenever they are throwing mudsling considering that this is Holiday season when they make the most money. So get yourself propped up and never get ScrooGLED!

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