Friday, May 14, 2010

have some consideration for your readers

Your business's brochure sucks. Your web site content probably does, too.

Jason Fried, a writer at Inc., thinks so too. That's a pretty accurate summary of his article, Why is Business Writing So Awful?

(I'll tell you why, Jason Fried. Right after you marry me. Just kidding, weirdo. You make a very valid point, but your introductory joke did NOT make me laugh out loud, or LOL as they say. Oh, and I'm not even on the market, so please stop flirting with me.)

Honestly, it took me six months from my start date to actually read our entire company brochure. It's filled with jargon and it's a total snooze fest. What makes this even worse is that I recreated this brochure, but I had no control over the copy, so I didn't care what it said.

When it comes to web sites, I think the obsession with keywords is partially to blame. I know, keywords, keywords, keywords. I get it. Google needs to find your site, but it's your readers who need to stay there. I don't read like a spider. You know why? Because spiders can't read. The spiders that crawl your page might see all these key words and think, "This is top notch. Google, we've really got it here. Put it in the top ten!" But really, if it's all jargon and keywords, it's nonsense.

This is a photograph I took of a spider trying to read. He has 8 angry eyebrows because he doesn't understand full sentences.
You know what you need to focus on? You need external links pointing to your web site. And to get good backlinks, you need people to enjoy your content enough to refer it. Give your readers something of value. Or at least respect them enough not to bore them to death.

You don't want to attract ONLY the crawlers. Seriously. Everything that crawls is creepy. Spiders. Worms. Snakes. Babies?! Kidding. Babies are adorable. And yeah we need the creepy crawlers to sustain life or whatever it is they tell you in 2nd grade science. But it's more a necessary evil than it is something to base your entire writing style around.

Friday, May 7, 2010

no more meta desciptions

At PubCon last year in Las Vegas, I accidently ended up in this class for super extreme code lovers. I totally played it cool, though. Like when they asked what kind of idiot didn't know that we were moving from HTML to all XML, I didn't raise my hand. Completely blended in.

Anyway, during this session, it was announced that Google's search spiders would no longer put up with this meta tag crap. No more meta descriptions on your web sites, people. And this was back in November 2009.

So this is not by any means news, but some people are still out of the loop. So, I was excited to find the article, "5 Outdated SEO Tactics" in Website Magazine's May 2010 issue:

This article should be re-titled, "5 Outdated SEO Tactics and 1 Very Good Reason You Should Have Listened to Elyssa," but that's another story.

What I'm trying to say is: Pay attention if you hire a web marketing professional to improve your rankings in the search engines. If your web marketer's presentation or, even worse, your contract with the web marketing company states anything about working on meta tag descriptions, they're wasting your time and money.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

wtf, google?

Dear Google,

I just want to start by saying, I'm not mad; I'm just disappointed.

elyssa ely nicole

You just haven't been yourself lately.

Today, I needed to do some very important research* so of course I turned to Google. Everything started out just fine. The home page looked fine. Plain. Simple. Trustworthy. But then I submitted my search query and all hell broke loose.

Really, there was just some extra nonsense on the side strongly resembling Bing's search design. Really, Google? If I wanted Bing, I would have asked for Bing.

After all this time I've stood up for you, you're just going to betray me? "Google is evil," they said. "Google is running small businesses into the ground," they said. But did they tear us apart? No. I defended you. "Google is just good at what it does," I told them. "Which is basically everything. Ever."

You used to keep it real, Google. Real simple.

Now where am I supposed to turn? Everyone knows Yahoo! is only to be trusted for their horoscopes. And don't even get me started on Bing. Seriously, though, don't ask me about it because I can't explain why I'm so bitter toward it. I think it's their advertisements.

We've been together now since the 5th grade. I think we can work this out. Let's just go back to the way things were.


But really. Isn't differentiation the number one rule of branding? It's at least in the top five. And when you really only have one agressive competitor in your industry, why would you copy that competitor?!

I'm so upset about this whole situation that I'm going to have to go back to using encyclopedias and other reference books for my research, like in prehistoric times. Too bad I just had to use Google to verify that I spelled encyclopedia correctly since I don't own a dictionary. Damn it.

*Research = Google image search for "raptor"