I revisited today an older post of mine that talks about paid links and the problems that I have with the way how Google is trying to solve the problem. One of the last comments to the post asked a question, which many professional SEOs probably asked themselves too. I never did, because I am not a professional SEO and clients to worry about.
However, the question caused some activity in my brain that was first a mix of sarcasm and cynic remarks and then turned into a fairy tale that I think is pretty funny and worthwhile sharing with you.
The tale uses metaphors and comparisons, but else completely fictitious. It is in part meant to entertain and in part to provide a different perspective on old and known issues. Who knows, it might triggers new ideas and a change of opinion of somebody who read it. If it does not, then I hope that you have at least a fun time reading it and like the story for its pure entertainment value. It is also weekend, hence a bit more casual and possibly a welcome break for somebody who is working on this Sunday.
Here is the question that triggered the whole thing.
“So should we only advertise our client’s websites on websites that have the ability to bring direct business and not buy links for the purpose of effecting PageRank.
This seems fair yet our competitor’s clients are paying for links and rating higher on the engines then ours. Yet when we tell this to our clients they do not understand as their competitors are displayed higher on the search results.”
Tell your customers (figure of speech) that their website is living in a land called search engine land (not to confuse with Danny’s SearchEngineLand hehe).
The ruler of this land is Google, because they have the majority of inhabitants of search engine land on their side (consider them to be the democratic or Republican Party. Take your pick, any of them will do. The inhabitant would be the internet users.)
They call their constitution “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine“, which was written by the founding fathers Sergey Brin and Larry Page during the Relevance Wars a long time ago, when there were many parties, aehm search engines who were getting attention by the people, but had nothing like a constitution or even clear laws and law enforcement. It was terrible. The relevance was getting worse every year, because of ruthless people who did what they want and fooled everybody. Breaking the law was not necessary in many cases, because there were no efficient laws.
That changed when Sergey and Brin had an idea that would change the world. They found many followers who supported what Sergey and Brin had writing. Eventually the majority of people were behind the two founding fathers and they founded this great country and instituted their paper that changed the world as the constitution for the new country and vowed to protect it with their life’s, if it should become necessary.
Life was good in our little country, but something started to change while the years passed by. Some people figured out how to benefit by employing methods that threatens the foundation of the constitution, but was not against the law. It was in most cases not even bad from a moral point of view. The methods were not really unethical for the most part. Okay, everything has its limit and some folks go over it, but for the most part was this not the case.
The government which is mainly made up of Google members and controlled by Larry and Sergey since the country was founded also took notice eventually.
They did not know what to do, but knew that they have to do something. They started to pass legislation and instituted new laws to combat the threat. The enforcement of the new laws and their interpretations became stronger, harder and at the same time also broader. This caused more and more cases of people who allegedly broke the laws, but either didn’t do it or didn’t know that they were doing anything that is not legal.
I have to add for clarification that the laws were written very vague and lawyers debate day in and day out about how to interpret them. The average person in Search Engine Land did not understand most of those laws at all. This is a problem, especially if the law says that something is bad where the average person does not think about it as something bad, immoral, not to mention illegal. With the government losing control over things and fundamental values like relevance did their aggressiveness increase.
People started to get scared when a bill was passed that made virtually everybody a potential enemy of the state and constitution without the need to provide much proof that this is actually the case. A neighbor complaining to the police or telling suspicions, he might has, anonymously over the toll free hotline by a new enforcement agency that was created by the government in an attempt to gain back control over what happens in the country.
People who are new to the country have virtually no rights and punished from the start, just for being new and not trusted. They have to proof over time that they are trustworthy enough to be accepted within the society. Reports are heard about people who got arrested and hold in confinement for 10 or 30 days without ever being questioned or getting answers for their question why they are being held captive and in isolation.
Some few unofficial reports, made in private and the protection of private members only clubs, talk about people who were imprisoned for between 650 days up to 900 days. Most of them had no clue what they did wrong or if they did something wrong at all. Some say that many cases are dropped eventually and the people let go without any words of explanation or at least a simple apology. When some talk about pushing for pressing charges to get damages paid, which were a direct result of the unjustified arrest and imprisonment, most people just laugh. Yeah right.
Reports are mounting and the situation of the economy is getting worse every day . Relevance is at an all time low and there is no sign in sight that it will get better anytime soon. People started to question if the strong actions and the sacrifice of some of their basic and treasured rights for the sake of fighting the problem and get rid of it is actually working and worth their sacrifices.
Some do not believe anymore that it is and looked at by the government with suspicion or banned from search engine land as traitors and saboteurs who are to a large part responsible for the failing of the government’s actions. Some of those guys were also arrested for allegedly supporting the forces that cause the decay of relevance.
You, or better your website is a citizen of search engine land like the rest of us. And we consultants who are responsible for your website well being in this economy have to make tough decisions nowadays. The forces the government tries to stop with all means are active everywhere. People realized that this force grew automatically and naturally in the economy and country, because of the way how the constitution was interpreted every day. It was a good idea back then, but times changed and the interpretation of the constitution did not change along with it. The core idea of it is still good and will probably remain that way for all time. The current government did not realize this fact, but more and more normal people did.
People do what they have to do in order to stay afloat in this economy. They are bending the laws here and there and some even break them, in most cases because they have to, in order to bring foot on the table for their families.
We are the ones who actually bring the foot on your table and in order to do that for you, we are the ones who are bending the laws and even break them for you, if we have to. You cannot say that you are unaware of this. The claim of denying it would make a fool out of you.
We would like to change things in order to do what he have to do in a controlled environment, instead of doing things more and more secretly to prevent the government to come down on us. Some people also have some good ideas for how to fix some of the stuff that is broken with the economy today, but the government seems to ignore them or worse, call hem the enemy.
We cannot take fight for you, because if we do, your whole family will suffer as a result of it. Getting your website or us arrested or thrown out of the country will not change anything for you.
You have to take the responsibility and time and energy to educate our government and convince them to change course in order to prevent things from getting worse as they are already.
We can support you from behind and provide information and stuff, but that is all that we can do. If the time comes where we have to stand up against the search engine land government, it will already be too late and cause a lot of deaths, turmoil and violence. We hope that it does not have to come to that, but if nothing changes, it might be unavoidable.
I hope you understand now and know what you have to do. We know what we have to do in the meantime to make sure that you and your family have enough food on the table, even with the dropping value of relevance… …at least for now.
I hope you enjoyed this fairy tale. Feel free to comment in the area below and let me know your thoughts and opinion about the fantasy world issues and/or the real world ones.
p.s. It has been the single longest break between two blog posts of mine here at SearchEngineJournal.com. I feel bad about it, especially, because I have multiple unfinished posts flying around that would be interesting for you. That means that it is not the lack of ideas to write about or writers block as they call it. It would be an easy excuse to use, but it wouldn’t be true. I was just busier than I used to be. I got my Green Card last fall and started shortly thereafter my own company and am since December officially my own boss.
I plan to go to SMX Advanced in Seattle, WA, which is coming up in about one month and hope to see some of you guys and girls again. I will also be in Boston in August to Affiliate Summit East and BlogWorldExpo in September. SES SJ in August and WebmasterWorld’s PubCon in November are currently on my “maybe” list.
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