- “SEO is Dead” – there’s a new Forbes article out on this topic. I don’t want to write a lengthy response as I don’t think it’s necessarily worth the time, but will say it’s fantastic link bait (not that I’m going to link to it :) ). It shows a disturbingly naive understanding of what SEO is all about and buys into the “social rules the world” theme of the day. Clarification: “social rules the world” as far as signals go in computing how to rank a particular document for a particular keyword. I will only say that what’s true for you isn’t always objectively true for the world
- Enterprise SEO – I’ve been at HomeAway for ~1.75 years having moved in from an agency. It’s posed an entirely different type of challenge in that I have access to all the moving parts of the business that can impact our SEO performance and, from my vantage point, SEO in this environment is as much about advocacy, education and relationships as it’s about the daily activities of on-page optimizations, content creation and link building (boo!). We have a fantastic setup – SEO marketing, SEO analytics and Product SEO – but you can only get so far working on the things you directly control. You need to build it into the DNA of an organization; it doesn’t get much more user (customer) focused than, “What do our customers search for, how often, when and what pages (content) do we build to fulfill their needs – from the top of the funnel to the bottom of the funnel?
- At the end of the day, all you’ve got it is content. A page with text on it. A video. A blog. A whitepaper. A newsletter. An infographic. A URL.
- Who are you customers? Where do they live online? What are you doing to get in front of them – display? Retargeting? Content? A link?
Lehrl’s axiom was that the definitive test of the efficiency of any organization structure was information and the filtering and dissemination of information.
-The Pale King, David Foster Wallace
I came across this line in David Foster Wallace’s latest book The Pale King two weeks ago and it’s been lodged in my head since then. I’ve found that in my line of work it’s paramount that my team and I filter and consistently disseminate information about the search landscape, traffic, keyword movements, an update to the visual presentation of SERPs, a potential correlation between act A and result B to one another. If we don’t, we lose.
It’s also relevant to a company’s online presence: do you publish information about your company and it’s products in an effective and efficient manner? Is it effective – do you filter out the fluff and publish what’s important to your users whether they’re at the top or bottom of that farctate funnel (don’t forget the first touch!)? Is it efficient – is it located in a logical and intuitive hierarchy on your site, is it easy crawled, indexed and found?
It is one way to test the efficiency of an organization’s structure and vitality.
It is a fundamental principle of economics that a person is always better off if they have more alternatives to choose from. But this principle is wrong. There are cases when I can make myself better off by restricting my future choices and commit myself to a specific course of action.
The idea of commitment as a strategy is an ancient one. Odysseus famously had his crew tie him to the mast so he could listen to the Sirens’ songs without falling into the temptation to steer the ship into the rocks. And he committed his crew to not listening by filling their ears with wax. Another classic is Cortés’s decision to burn his ships upon arriving in South America, thus removing retreat as one of the options his crew could consider. But although the idea is an old one, we did not begin to understand its nuances until Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling’s wrote his 1956 masterpiece: “An Essay on Bargaining”.
It is well known that thorny games such as the prisoner’s dilemma can be solved if both players can credibly commit themselves to cooperating, but how can I convince you that I will cooperate when it is a dominant strategy for me to defect? (And, if you and I are game theorists, you know that I know that you know that I know that defecting is a dominant strategy.)
Schelling gives many examples of how this can be done, but here is my favorite. A Denver rehabilitation clinic whose clientele consisted of wealthy cocaine addicts, offered a “self-blackmail” strategy. Patient were offered an opportunity to write a self- incriminating letter that would be delivered if and only if the patient, who is tested on a random schedule, is found to have used cocaine. Most cocaine addicts will probably have no trouble thinking of something to write about, and will now have a very strong incentive to stay off drugs. They are committed.
Many of society’s thorniest problems, from climate change to Middle East peace could be solved if the relevant parties could only find a way to commit themselves to some future course of action. They would be well advised to study Tom Schelling in order to figure out how to make that commitment.
From Edge.org – Richard H. Thaler’s answer to: What is your favorite deep, elegant, or beautiful explanation