5 Ways to increase Google Juice and become an A-list blogger

There are times when I prefer to read a newspaper instead of looking for information on the web. It isn’t just the comfortable feeling of holding paper in your hand while reading (yes, I love real books too). A newspaper has another advantage over web sources. It tends to have a strong editor role which ensures on one hand that news is checked and double checked before it gets printed. And when it gets printed there is (some) pressure to present it as objective as possible.

News on the web is obviously quite different. It’s lightning fast, and unlike with newspapers gets copied easily so that in the end it comes from many different sources. News on the web is user-generated. We all produce news and have simple means to distribute it. While this has obvious advantages it also comes with a downside. The only way news is read on-line is if you can create reach. Newspapers sell subscriptions and newspapers at physical points. On-line there is Google juice. Link and get linked is the name of the game. The more links you get the more reach you will have.

At first glance it is a very democratic game. Anyone can join in. You can start a weblog today and enter the process to get noticed and linked. A good way of doing that is by producing relevant content. In other words, if you write things that interest other people you will end up with an audience that follows your writings.

However, that is only part of the equation. And in my opinion it unfortunately seems to be a less important aspect of the equation. The currency on the web is traffic and linking. The metrics that decide whether or not you are found can be manipulated in ways that are hard to copy in the physical world. You can manipulate this game and quickly improve your reach.

I believe that traffic and links have become too important on the web. Google has brought many great things to the web, but the importance of traffic and links is now leading to unwanted behavior. All kinds of strategies are used to manipulate this equation. Google keeps the algorithm secret. If people knew exactly how it worked it would simply be unusable as a metric. But there are many cunning ways to ensure more traffic to your site.  For example, if you would instantly like to have thousands of readers to your weblog (which might greatly improve your “credibility” as a blogger) just take a look at this solution. I’m not going to discuss more “technical” ways of doing that, I’m by no means an expert on that.

If we forget these technical manipulations and simply look at the content itself then it seems to me that it becomes increasingly difficult to find trustworthy content on the web. In order to be noticed in this jungle of world wide web logs several cool techniques can be applied to be noticed.

The Killer app

It’s a war out there so any new release leads to at least a dozen bloggers screaming that it will kill all competition. Cuil was going to kill Google, Friendfeed was going to kill Twitter and Facebook, Google Chrome is going to kill Microsoft, or was it Firefox, or both? The sole purpose of a kill title is obviously to attract attention. I doubt that many startups can afford to have a business plan and strategy to “kill”  a competitor. In general I hope entrepreneurs are thinking of building a service that provides great user value. If that is the case competitors might simply disappear. But claiming that a new launch is going to kill something else that has barely reached it’s own diaper stage is pathetic.

People’s massacre

One of my favorites. Someone is outspoken on his web log (a prerogative, as it is his web log). Someone else sees an opportunity and nails the first author to a cross. It isn’t even important what the food fight is about. The author is wrong and we are going to let the whole world know about it. Just  make sure you scream loud and with lots of bombastic words and for sure traffic is going to go up high. I’m sure Ted Dziuba may have a point, but is it really that important to let the rest of the world know that they don’t understand sh*t about OSes as can be seen here? Doesn’t add much to the conversation imo.

The Copycat

Look at TechMeme or any other aggregator at any time. I bet that you can find copycats on each of the blog conversations going on. Copycats provide no value to any discussion except echoing what has already been said. Being up there, over on TechMeme, is more important than actually having to say something. Some call that branding, I say its a definite turn off.

The Burning man principle

Let’s say you are an outspoken, well known A-list blogger. Let’s assume for a moment that you are also a passionate Tech lover and that you tend to let your personal passion rule what you write about on your personal web log. You may or may not have written something ridiculous, but for sure if you decide to take a stance people are going to burn your ass. Not because of what you say, but mostly because if you are a Z-blogger it is so darn easy to burn an A-lister and get noticed for it. The podium might be yours for one day, but when the storm calms down, the A-list blogger walks away with more traffic and the Z-list blogger remains with his one day triumph.

The Breaking News junkie

Again, one of my favorites. Any post that starts with breaking news, and I mean ANY, is well worth ignoring. The reason is obviously that in 99,999% of the time it is impossible in this world to have truly breaking news. In all other cases, 0,001% or so it might be true, but the Copycat will ensure that we will all hear about it soon enough. Breaking news is yet another way of drawing traffic. It usually consists of some minor unverified detail we really could live without knowing. I hardly ever read breaking news. I always read the blogger that end up analyzing what that breaking news really meant. Much more interesting.

Does any of this ring a bell? It seems to me that a lot of techniques described above have been used for many years already. As we are all hip and on the web we tend to forget that these same practices have been around longer than the web has. It’s called the Tabloid. Sensational journalism was invented there, for the very same purpose, traffic.

Google juice might be the all mighty currency on the web now. But all it really seems to do is turn people into sensational journalists just for the sake of getting to the top. I find that  people I trust are often people that aren’t on any list. They aren’t in the game for traffic r links. Instead they write because they are passionatete. For me those writers are on my A-list. The rest is placed in my Tabloid feed. If you have a spare moment and not a lot of expectations they can provide a good laugh. Otherwise, they are best ignored. Google Juice seems to be the driving force behind our new Tabloid culture.

Now all I need to do is think of a sensational title for this post ;-)

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See my about page, http://vanelsas.wordpress.com/about/ ;-)
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7 Responses to 5 Ways to increase Google Juice and become an A-list blogger

  1. amzolt says:

    I admit, I’ve been known to make comments on A-list blogs, used catchy titles, pinged like an addict, and many other less than tabloidesque behaviors.

    I’ve also recently pruned my efforts to those that make “sense” from a compassionate perspective.

    Now I’m creating a special consultant group to explore non-tech, non-”2.0″ approaches to attracting dedicated readers.

    My content is my value. Promoting that is my prime concern.

    ~ Alex from Our Evolution

  2. @Amzolt, hear hear. That is what it really should be about! BTW in my experience (for what it is worth), is that if I write original content I end up with maybe less readers, but they are very much engaged. That’s much better than a wave of people passing by on a catchy title, only never to re-appear ;-)

  3. Ralf says:

    This quote of John Boyd describes why blogging in a deep sense is of high value:

    “Live the instinctive see-saw of analysis and synthesis across a variety of domains, or across competing/independent channels of information, in order to spontaneously generate and share new mental images or impressions that match-up with an unfolding world of uncertainty and change.”

    The choice is simple: Focus on getting attention (and being quick is then important) or contributing value.

    Some interesting background about John Boyd (inventor of the OODA loop) here:

    http://www.line-of-reasoning.com/issues/the-essence-of-information-based-human-creativity-and-how-robert-scobles-techmeme-game-is-related-to-john-boyds-military-strategy/

  4. @Ralf nice quote. The “TechMeme” game is a game that uses many of the examples I provide. it obviously isn’t about contributing value, but focused on attention. In all fairness, being the first can sometimes be very valuable to readers, but in the TechMeme game the value is greatly diminished by the fact that in many cases there isn’t anything of value reported (the breaking news strategy) ;-)

  5. Josh says:

    Wow… this got me thinking all day… I had previously shared a lot of your observations but the concluding comment of: “our new Tabloid culture” just suddenly made it all click for me.

    I guess it just goes to show nothing ever changes =( kind of depressing really

  6. @Josh I find that human nature rarely changes. So it is always good to look back, because a lot of the things you see today have alreayd been around before. Just in another form or context ;-)

  7. Josh says:

    “”Vanity of vanities!” cries the Preacher, “Vanity of vanities! all is vanities!”

    Everything is so weary, so full of labor that man cannot even begin to express it. His eye is never satisfied with what it sees or his ear with what it hears.

    Is there a single thing about which you can say, “This is new!”? No, it will have been done long ago during the ages before we were born. There is no memory of those previous generations, just as there will be no memories of everything that occurs between now and the future.” – Ecc 1

    Woah… did he just throw a Bible verse into the conversation… =)

    Ah well religious or not, I couldn’t recommend Ecclesiastes enough, it’s a fascinating read…

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