Google-watching is an an activity that makes me absolutely wonky. Why in the world anyone would want to fixate daily on every word Googlers utter is beyond me. Yet, the practice has become a ubiquitous, inescapable, fixation.
Proof? This article and 1000 others penned over the last few days in response to a Matt Cutts article.
All eyes forward
It reminds me of how the Chairman of the Federal Reserve must be cautious to stay steady in habit. Should she decide not to carry a briefcase into a meeting one day, but pack a paper-stuffed satchel the next, Fed-watchers are sure to interpret the change as a sign that something huge is soon to happen — causing the stock market to rise or fall dramatically.
There is a word for that: Paranoia. And ever since the Google Penguin slam-dunked a ton of websites (many that deserved the slam and some that didn’t), the online world has been bouncing around like the balls in a lottery drawing.
Who will be next to fall?
Open mouth, insert foot
First titled, The decay and fall of guest blogging, Matt later changed the title of his most recent stirring of the waters to The decay and fall of guest blogging for SEO. He also posted an addendum to his statements, for it seems there are a few writers online who take offense to being painted with the same brush as spammers. Who would have thought it?
Listen, I’m not here to take digs at Matt or pronounce Google the Antichrist. Whether one is hoping to rid search results of irrelevant, low quality returns in order to make another trillion dollars or out of pure love for the internet — most folks are in agreement about spam: It stinks. Even spammers don’t like spam.
Unfortunately, the propagation of hogwash and litter has become a cottage industry. I’m with Matt all the way in the attempt to take it down and haul it off to the dump. If it’s trash, treat it like trash.
There is a point, though that most people are denying
We’ve an elephant in the room, and it is way past time everyone admitted the beast is there. While guest blogging for link-building should NOT be your primary objective, the truth is the internet is built on links. They are vital. To take Cutts’ advice to the extreme and disavow my outbound links is to deny recognition to those who deserve it. I won’t do that.
Links are to guest blogging as sex is to marriage: You would be ill-advised to get married to someone just because they can provide you with sex — yet sex is a wonderful and blessed part of marriage. Sex is a necessary ingredient that helps keep the relationship intact. We are uncomfortable talking about it, perhaps, but it’s true.
Let’s face it, folks. We need to stop pretending we don’t care about links. They aren’t dirty. They aren’t wrong. And they aren’t all spam.
Of the plethora of articles birthed by Cutts’ explosion, the only guy I’ve seen with the balls to shoot straight on the issue of links and guest blogging is Jon Ball of Page One Power. (Pun intended, and Jon when in the world are we going to get the chance to talk?)
Jon is one of those special folks who lives in reality, walks his talk, and isn’t afraid to call the shots the way he sees them. Anyone fortunate enough to work with his team will get results — honest results, earned results, solid results.
This Game Theory stuff is starting to wear thin
My guest blogging mentor, Ann Smarty, bravely published my article about Google and Game Theory: Two Secrets and a Google Story. I urge you to read it. If you don’t have time, bookmark it in your Read Now file. It is that important.
I love Ann. She is a champion of guest blogging and one of the few voices who have consistently lobbied for sanity in SEO. Ann was advising her audience to back off from exact match anchor text (EMAT) long before it was listed on the Google penalty sheet. Ann tells folks to write for people, not for the search engines.
Contrary to Ann’s advice, though, the general trend is to watch Google and Cutts as if they are writing the formula to turning crap into gold (if only you could figure out the language). Like a flock of birds in flight, Google watchers knee-jerk at every cockeyed idea and astute observation that spews forth from the bevy of Google gurus holding forth online.
Get a life, people. Google is no longer focused on doing good, they are interested in making more money, and Cutts is staggering under the load of attributed omnipotence like the groom at an Irish wedding (okay, I know that is an obviously incorrect categorization of my Irish friends). I’m just trying to make a point: Matt is under a heavy stress load. He appears to be in sore need of a vacation. Maybe he could join the President on a golf outing to Hawaii, have a few beers at the clubhouse and calm down a few notches.
Why should you step out from the flock?
We are talking about people’s lives here. The internet put a serious dent in the occupational outlook for journalists, but creative publishers have helped bring it back. And one of the best things about the internet is that it means we no longer have to swallow the opinions of the major networks only — the playing ground has in large part been leveled. The voice of a relative “nobody” can be heard around the world in minutes, and those who would bar the gates of free speech are having a tough time keeping folks under the thumb.
I am naive enough to believe that no company, no search engine, no individual is powerful enough to stop people from sharing links freely. That is dictatorship, and dictators use fear to control their citizens. Once a way out of the country is discovered, though, brave folks take advantage of the exit and go where Freedom calls.
Stand up, folks. Stand up and assert your God-given right to enjoy the fruits of your labor and to choose your own way. Stop hanging on Google’s edicts. Write good stuff for a good reason. Share what you know. Read the work of others, leave comments, give the writer an attaboy. Participate in the online Community and stop spamming! (Many who don’t think they are spammers … really are.) Read this: Why Can’t I Spam Your Community?
Links make the internet, and they will be an integral part of the net long after Google is just another advertising agency and a company or companies who can hold on to the vision of doing good for goodness sake get recognized and rewarded by the people.
Listen: whether you are shopping for organic apples or deciding which search engine to use … every time you patronize a certain brand you are casting a vote. If enough people decide pesticide-laden fruit is not worth buying, it will no longer be piled high in the grocery bins. And when enough people decide enough is enough and choose to stop being pawns in the game dynasties crumble.
Google, Monsanto, Amazon … they are all giants because you voted for them … and they will cease being giants when customers no longer believe they are the best choices for the products and services they provide. No matter who you are or what you do, chances are someone is doing push-ups and biding the time, just waiting for the opportunity to step in and take over. Come to think of it, Cutts’ counterpart at Bing, Duane Forrester, sure smiles a lot for a guy who is running a distant second in the search engine wars 🙂
Think about it. You are the one with the power … and, when you give up that power of choice, you are but a puppet, bound to bend to the will of every puppet prince who pulls your strings and motions with a hand to tell you how to dance and in which direction.
Listen to this talk by a real pro — a guy who cares about the internet, about you, and about guest blogging: