symptoms

Google has a remarkable aspect to its algo these days. That’s the phenomena where a website either ranks for terms or it doesn’t. And we’re not talking about hardcore competitive terms, either. For lack of a better term, it looks like “Trustrank” comes into play when a website loses it’s rankings. First you need to check a few things. 1) Do you still have pages indexed in Google? If not, you’re likely banned. If the site command shows nothing, you have probably been dropped from their index. 2) Do you rank for your own unique domain name? If you don’t, you likely have incurred a penalty. It’s not severe enough to keep you completely out of the index, and can probably be fixed on its own. But if you still rank for your own domain name and you have plenty of indexed pages and incoming links, the problems gets a bit murkier. Add in the fact you may even have “sitelinks” to your website and the situation is downright cloudy. “Domain trust”, “authority,” and “TrustRank” are all concepts that explain away the symptoms, but with no official word from Google, it’s all speculation. In any event, I witnessed this phenomena again on 4/8/2009. Something “removed the filter” from one of my websites and a massive amount of long tail traffic returned to the logs. By the 12th it was gone again. To me that looked like Google did some testing of user data signals and shit-canned the results for further study. Of course it could be something unrelated. Since I’m not privy to Google’s internal thinking, I can simply guess. I have to admit that “All or nothing” form or ranking certainly does appear Draconian.

One of the first things you’ll hear from people is that “Twitter is not a broadcast medium.” It is, they’ll argue, a medium for two way communications. But let’s be realistic. Now that major celebrities and corporations are Tweeting, the service is featuring more one-way communications than ever before. There’s no rule that says you have to follow everyone who follows you. Some do it because they think it looks like they’re interested in the law of reciprocity. But as the numbers of people following you go into the hundreds of thousands, it’s highly unlikely you’ll be personally communicating with everyone. So why fake it? The larger your list of followers, the less likely personal communications remains the goal of your Twitter use Once your list of followers becomes very large, the interpersonal aspects of Twitter start to lose appeal, and the marketing and broadcasting aspects of the new medium become more obvious. The potential for Twitter as a boon to marketing is not lost anyone who is trying to get the word out to the masses about a complimentary product or service. Twitter is unique in that it limits messages to 140 characters, but since you can include a URL in your message, the limitation hardly matters. It’s a great way to point people to content or products on your website that might be of interest. In many ways, broadcasting to Twitter can replace many functions of email and email newsletters. Your followers are, in essence, a list of interested people who have “opted-in” to receive updates about you or your company. Twitter can out-RSS RSS Clearly there’s some overlap between this idea and what RSS if currently used for. But it’s not hard to imagine a world where Twitter is much more popular than RSS and people end up using Twitter in ways that RSS was originally intended for. As stated, a follower can get a list of interesting links from someone they’ve chosen to follow, but they can go one step further and actually respond to the link (assuming they’re being followed back). This provides instant feedback, and makes broadcasting through Twitter even more valuable than broadcasting your updates through RSS. How many people in the real world interact with 300,000 people? Not many. But on Twitter, many accounts have reached these dizzying heights. Of course these accounts are maintained by people or organizations who generally have enormous “followings” offline. Syndication is another no-brainer use of Twitter and many companies are already using the service in this manner. Again, Twitter is a one way communication tool when used in this way. As Twitter continues to grow, more and more unintended uses for the service are bound to arise from the muck. With evolution, Twitter may even replace some of the current standards of online communication. Certainly using Twitter has a broadcast medium will be one of them.