“AdWords, SEO, Lies, damned lies, and statistics”
and the history of the website
People say all kinds of things;
Was said to have popularized this quote by Benjamin Disraeli. So what does this have to do with websites and SEO?
While I don’t have any statistics, I will guess that close to half the websites you see are pretty much more about lying than telling the truth. Many websites you find searches are found because of deceptive SEO practices. Generally, deceptive SEO practices point to deceptive websites.
Of course, this is not always the case. If you found the website on AdWords, you can be almost 100% assured that you found it because of these reasons, in the following order:
- They have the largest AdWords budget for the product and geographical area for the sites you have found
- A lot of time and/or money to finely tune the key-word SEO functionality.
- The care about making money more than helping you.
- They care about YOUR needs, more than their needs.
Yes, a rather cynical view. But seriously how many times have you found an Amazon or another really quality website. And how many times have you just found click-bait, or get-rich-quick offers, or some other company promising far-fetched “deals”?
Why is this?
There was a time when a website was a footnote…
… for a business. You had a business, maybe a “good business, an ethical business and now you needed a website. Just like you needed a phone number, a Yellow Pages ad, and maybe a newspaper, radio or magazine ad. You needed a “domain name” or URL, and a web page. And “a page” is all websites were for a few years. It said the business name, the phone number the mailing address and maybe something about the business. There was no email address on the page, not because of concerns about spam, but because almost nobody had email!
Then we entered the “Art” phase…
…and beauty and GETTING ATTENTION. Dancing bears, animated GIFs, and countless screen shows and graphics. The objective was to appear as credible on-line as you were in the real world. This was the age of Art-and-pages, lots and lots of pages. The art part was a playground for designers and we somewhat lost track of the purpose of the website, which was marketing.
This is when “the smart people” realized that a fabulous website could make a mediocre business or even a sleazy business look like a great business! The more pages and gadgets there were the more it (supposedly) conveyed how big your business was. A sleazy business could APPEAR to be a reputable business. Ah, the old advertising game in a new medium. Now reputable businesses had to spend more and more money to build a website that looked as good as businesses that were often nothing more than a website.
Then along came Google, The “Statistics.”
Yes, there was a time before Google. So Google came along and now it was not as important how professional your site looked. If one searched for “Jewellery” one would not necessarily find the “best business” or the “best website” or even the most artistic website. What they would find is the website with the best SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION (SEO). So now even “art” was not as important as it once was. Sure a site had to look nice, and somewhat professional, but really it was becoming much more important that the site could be FOUND. Unless it looked terrible, it might be “good enough” as how much more “searching” did you want to do anyway?
So now we have
the “damn lies.”
Because “statistics” or algorithms, or key-words or magic incantations dreamed up by Google essentially determined what sites were even found. It became a matter of learning the current “Google formula”. One just had to master the “statistics”.
So where does that leave your business?
The reality today is if you want to “be in business” you pretty much have to have a website. If the website is to be of any value, then it has to rank somewhat reasonably in Google search results for your product or service. So whether you like it or not, you need a website, and it has to fit into the “statistics,” the Google search algorithms with some reasonable degree of success.
Of course, you may still “point to” your website at a meeting with a client or include it in an email as a link. But without some ability to be found in a search, its value is minimal.