On my LinkedIn profile, which is a little barren and has a goofy picture, one of the skills listed is procedural SEO ((search engine optimisation (or optimization) for those not familiar)). Now, there’s a massive amount of people who know SEO, spanning across all levels of knowledge.
As you may expect, procedural SEO has to do with process (a buzzword that I try in all circumstances to avoid in normal conversation). It’s optimisation of a process which inputs into the creation of positive search ranking factors.
A business is creating brochures for offline use. Introducing the process of adding this content to their website is procedural SEO. Taking something which was never intended for online use to create new search coverage, greater depth of content, opportunity to clarify a website’s main topic or offering.
Putting in place the process of using offline content on a website is not only SEO, it’s asset optimisation, getting greater return from the initial investment for creating the brochures. Sounding all a bit financial?
Interchangeability of expertise
Process optimisation is not limited to Search. Switch to any industry and merit emerges. Procedural design, medicine, wine tasting . As touched on in a previous post on collaboration being more important than data, if we connected these different skill-sets, outlooks, what could be achieved? Industries are at different levels of evolution. What processes could mining engineers (centuries old) bring to the table when collaborating with space travel? Or vice versa. Someone who has researched process optimisation, what great insights they could supply to this blog post? Staggering when you think about it. How far this internet lark (the concept) can go!
Why procedural SEO is important?
Myself, I don’t want to be underwhelmed. I don’t want to receive sub-standard when it matters. When I ask a sommelier which is the best wine on the menu? Firstly, I’d hope the first response would be “what do you like?”. After this please share your knowledge to empower my decision.
As close as possible to 100% comprehensive wine knowledge suits me. Which raises a question, with so many self-proclaimed experts around, what level of comprehension in a subject should one have to be considered an expert? Standardising expertise – interesting topic.
I know as much as I’ve learnt, I’ve seen, I can theorise and fathom. Beyond that – I don’t know. Perhaps that’s where you can help?
Google’s quest to answer user’s search queries immediately — or moreover control as much of user’s time online (hello AOL!) for data capture and ad serving — draws the possibility of Google’s search results pages turn into Wikipedia-esque landing pages, providing every detail possible.
Why go anywhere else?
We’re already seeing the fledglings of this with the Knowledge Graph:
Google’s issue with search is irrelevance ((not boredom or lack of visuals – I (right now) use Google for its functionality)). In the life-cycle of a search query sequence, how many search results do you interact with? Normally one, possibly two, sometimes three if you’re a ‘open in new tab’ kind of person, before starting a new trail by rephrasing your query.
70% of Google’s Search Results are Irrelevant
70% of what Google is showing to user’s in the search results is irrelevant. This isn’t about understanding the user’s query, advancing this is 100% beneficial for everyone, it’s about Google making a choice – follow best practice landing page optimisation or maintain integrity with its original goals.
Benefit users versus Google’s bottom line
Google is BIG. They have a lot of mouths to feed. The amount of people with resolve will be diluted by people who follow conventional business models and practises. Inevitably along this chain many will bow to taking the easy option, sacrificing integrity for quick return, releasing pressure off their own backs. It’s human nature and an easy out when you have no buy-in to the ideals that were created by the two founders, back wherever they started their initial conversations of creating the search engine. That moment is important – think about it.
Adjusting the concept, empowering it with greater expertise is evolution, something which needs to happen. But balance is crucial. Roll it out, test it, don’t be afraid to transparently and say we were wrong, here’s why, so we’re changing back, what do you think?
Jimmy Wales – Time to Speak Up, Time to Use Your Face on Banners, TV Shows
When the actual search results start going below the fold and 99% of content loops back to Google’s own properties (example – [arsenal team]), the threat to Wikipedia can be perceived.
Google is even not linking to or crediting where the data is coming from re: Arsenal’s fixtures.
To ensure close to 100% relevance, Google will need to provide comprehensive information. This is Wikipedia.
Call me a Cycnic
Google improving their product benefits everyone, this is more about integrity and transparency. Attribute value fairly, openly and honestly to all have helped form your product. Build credibility with users and websites through collaboration, rather than veiled mystery and abusing their assets in the search results pages.
Lloyds TSB have a cool ‘log on’ button to use their internet banking.
Hover over the log on button and some CSS wizardry transitions to the setup illustrated below:
Many websites dedicate a whole landing page or above the fold to ask a simple question such as ‘personal or business customer’.
Responsive web pages, in this instance responsive to user’s intention rather than device or browser dimensions, are incredibly rewarding. A simple tweak which removes the discomfort of having to click-through to a needless additional landing page (1 click instead of 2). Win!
Simplicity should be universally applied.
Reducing web elements to concentrate focus
Relax – knowing you’re getting — our best purchase credit card — offer.
Two lines instead of three. Same principle as the button. Why make user’s scan back to left to interpret the full message?
Some might say that it leads to a more natural eye movement from ‘offer’ to the next line. Two lines provides a more relaxed and coherent reading style, allowing for a pause between sentences. Making each sentence more digestible.
Relax – knowing you’re getting our — best purchase credit card offer.
The Platinum Purchase Credit Card.
Simplifying web pages by using colour
Colour could incorporated to further distinguish the sentences:
Contrast for readability is poor in this example as the image is small.
Then again would Lloyds want to disassociate the benefit from the product – probably not.
Cop out disclaimer – as with most user experience it’s heavily dependent on individual’s preferences. A/B or multivariate testing is a good idea.
The need to understand value and providing a sense of place is driving everything in our lives to become measurable. Even in this case (the TED video above), F1 technology translating to infant health, take away morals, will be heavily dictated by the long-term cost benefit.
There is an impending period of over-investment in data collection coming, a large part of the workforce will simply be handling and trying to make sense of data.
Inevitably data in the wrong hands, without defined best practice methods, will become less useful. It is a starting point to better understanding and sparking discussion however. Data becomes useful to prove and often to dispel bias.
The real innovation here is collaboration. Collaboration between two very different sets of expertise, outlooks and methods. Built over decades with completely different goals in mind. Optimisation merging with preservation. Connecting skills which have been harnessed independently (not swayed by market innovators) to get a fuller picture.
Thinking of my own background and approach to online, UX collaboration with data analysts to produce balance. Blending cross-service skills for comprehensive insights and greater comprehension between all involved.
Perhaps the real question is – how do we get all parties in the same discussion? (word of mouth or the chance of someone watching a video is too slow burning). Is this where Google or another can step in? Monetisation streams of PPC or affiliate commission seem simple enough. Ultimately I feel it needs to be commercially driven, perhaps with competition from a well intentioned community.
not a great example in terms of relevance and visual appeal. This could easily incorporate Google’s Knowledge Graph richness (without infringing copyright, which will be a hurdle with their current setup).
On a smaller scale perhaps it’s the dawning of collaboration consultants, part of R&D departments.
The internet can be a Matrix, addictive, intoxicating, an injection of skipping information. At times it is draining. Avoid it for too long and become cumbersome. Like an athlete, minds can be trained to adsorb information, evolution will sculpt it, hopefully make it easier for future.
Sit back, see how other people communicate, how they dedicate their time, their missions changing due to mostly external factors.
Balance. Balance people and tech. Lose sight of one and miss out on a lot. (written after reading RSS feeds for 4 hours and drinking strong Guatemalan coffee)
For the past 2 years or so I’ve had a temporary 302 redirect in place from this domain name to my LinkedIn profile. The Google.co.uk search rankings for “tom birmingham” sustained over this period, initially in first position, and then in second position to the Wikipedia entry for my U.S. politician namesake. But now Google has upset the apple cart, perhaps by doings of LinkedIn, and passed the ranking from my LinkedIn profile to a generic Tom Birmingham category page on LinkedIn.
Well, that’s not on.
So in order to get back some glory for owning firstnamelastname.com the blog is back.
Google Alerts is a fantastic tool for monitoring what people are saying about you, your company or the new brand you’ve just launched. It’s incredibly easy to set up new, edit and delete alerts.
I have alerts set up for “Tom Birmingham”, “Thomas Birmingham”, all my websites, brands, products, family members. Also, for keywords I’m competing for.
At times the amount of alerts coming in is overwhelming, especially if you have instant alerts set up. So it’s important to prioritise and set less important alerts to be sent daily or weekly.
After careful consideration I went ahead and purchased the .co.uk domain name of my full name, Tom Birmingham. With no immediate plans to develop the domain in to a website, you may wonder why I actually bought it?
To start off with — it’s cheap, £7 per 2 years (registered with 123-reg.co.uk). It prevents that horrible feeling you get when you know you’ve done something wrong. If, one day, I had woken up to find the domain had been registered by someone else, I would have been angry at myself. My advice – get your full name domain if it’s available, and while it’s cheap. Domain prices are only going up with increasing global population and growing internet usage.
In future, if I want to focus more on a UK audience I can develop tombirmingham.co.uk in to a seperate website with tailored content. You’re probably thinking it’s going to be British slang, and you would be right! Joking aside, it could also be used on business cards or for marketing