Mike Levin SEO

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Very influential user profiles to become the PageRank 9 sites of the new SEO landscape.

by Mike Levin SEO & Datamaster, 07/31/2012

And today’s work journal begins. I pushed out an awesome article today. I’ve been trying to envision and nail the future of my field as accurately as I did in 2009, when I laid out precisely how things were going to play out, wrapping social results into search and the gradual shift of relevancy signals away from invisible-hand webmasters, and to the billion-or-so people online, clicking and liking and linking in a brand new way. What PEOPLE are doing matters—not just unaccountable webmaster people who broker the links between scarce influential sites that they control. I hit it out of the ballpark with that premonition, with a company founder mentioning it to me years later, thinking it was something I did recently. I reminded him it was a 2009 deck. Win!

So, what about the shift in the field of SEO going on RIGHT NOW? Well, the type of valuable scarcity that was previously in high PageRank sites, giving them the SEO juice to divvy out, the new scarcity will shift to personal accounts that require topical expertise and influence. Think what’s going to happen to things that are “Liked” from a genuine Oprah Facebook or Google profile. See? The social links suddenly start to become qualitative in nature—rather than just being a numbers game. Say you only got 10 likes on a page, but one of them is verifiably President Obama (one of my followers)? You’ve got the link graph switching over to becoming social in nature.

Evidence? Well, Barry Schwartz blew the whistle on Google showing Danny Sullivan and Matt Cutts in “people related to [your search]” space in the coveted upper-right, normally reserved for AdWords, and increasingly now for Google+ profiles and the Knowledge Graph. And when I google myself or any other Google+ public profile, I can see how many circles people are in. I mean think about that—how many circles you’re in! BAM! You’re a node. Things are changing. Expect personal reputations tied to uber-user-accounts to be the next PageRank 9 sites (Google reserves 10 for itself).

Things acquire value through scarcity. Influential profiles like that are going to be scarce due to how Google (and I assume Facebook and Bing) are going to divvy out results-influencing authority to profiles. We can assume that they actually WANT to give trustworthy domain experts the ability to impact search results, the way that DMOZ editors (the open directory project) of years past had. But now, there’s some new level of accountability, because people’s pictures are being shown right in there with the search results. If a looser site rises to the top, people are going to say: “Hey Danny, why did you +1 that looser site?” Accountability gets infused into the system, and the domain experts will have quite a bit of pressure on them to keep their noses clean. It becomes self-policing… yet another Nash equilibrium.

And it won’t just be a pop culture popularity contest either. The long-tail and specific specialized knowledge will begin to reassert itself again. But this time, instead of being centered around the pages that address obscure topics, it will be around the people who authored those pages that addresses obscure products. See? The person gets center stage, because those particular documents may come or go. But the residual knowledge of their existence, and credit to the domain expert who created them will remain… perhaps for their entire life. And there you go! The long-tail of search reborn… but now, centered around specific knowledge experts who can send out their “Like” juice and “+1” juice to documents in their field that they feel need some love.

Frigit! Enough pontificating. You are here to design how your day is going to go! Not to pontificate on the future of SEO… you need to practice the delivery of your deck… on the future of SEO! Ha! I made things circular, after all. Okay, I am in a good place. I am doing precisely what I need to be doing, and this raw daily work journal is really key. I have no way of ascending into the ranks of Danny and Matt unless I start exposing the thinking and doing that I do everyday anyway.

By forcing myself to think it out and write it down in this format, I actually improve the quality of my work, attract a little notoriety and following, add to the spiraling outward of content that I’m doing for the sake of HitTailing and getting the content-snowball rolling down the hill. With this sort of thought-work and a couple of talking out loud practice runs, I’m golden for tomorrow’s filming. Keep this kind of behavior up for a long enough time-period, and you won’t be trying hard to get the notoriety. People will just know that articles like this are coming from you all the time. I’m the real deal. I’m just sanitizing what I write to not give anything excessively proprietary out, which doesn’t justifiably fit into the category of thought-leadership.

More polished versions of my writing, and in fact videos, need to appear on the official sites of my employer. This is sort of raw process—a peek into the sausage factory, to use an overused metaphor of recent years. But I can’t let myself go on this tangent too much. I actually have to practice giving that Powerpoint talk. I also have to slam out a few 360iTiger ezscrapes for some Olympics monitoring this week. And I need to re-open the 360iTiger lines of communication. Maybe it’s time to start blogging on the company’s internal blog.

Oh, did I mention I have a 3-day trip to Colorado coming up to visit my very sick mother? This work journal is about to be become a self-documentary of surviving the onslaught of multiple disruption-waves, and coming out okay. There are rough waters ahead for me. You might not be able to see it in my writing, but basically I’ve been through the wringer several times with my mother’s health issues, a hell-bent determination to not have the giant undo-button pressed once again on my life. I now have a wife, a kid, a mortgage, a career at what I’m starting to feel is one of the best companies in the world. I actually have the freedom to steer my life for maybe the first time… ever? I’ll do what I have to in order to minimize regrets, but I have my priorities now. It will be good for my Mom to spend some time with Adi.

It’s the ideal time. Adi is cognizant enough to know she’s meeting some lady. She’s becoming quite vocal with one-syllable words… almost 100 of them now! And she’s embarking on 2-syllable words. It’s an utterly amazing process to watch play out. I’m having insights left-and-right on programming. I could not have taken interest in Paul Graham’s love of LISP at a better time, because surely the human brain works a little like one particular LISP programming style that he advocates: working up consecutively layers that are each slightly more abstract than the one before it, until at last it reaches something ready for end user interaction. The human brain seems to be much like that in reverse, working up its own consecutive slightly more abstract layers of symbolic thought and such, until it can make sense of things… and be a human ready for interaction. Adi is JUST NOW going through some high order abstraction enough to make her thoughts known and negotiate real-life “deals”.

Hopefully, this experience will also make me a better SEO in the way things are changing. In the end, all we have are our stories. My stories are predominantly untold, because they are too personal, and until recently, what I believed to be a source of embarrassment. My perceptions are changing. The stories are forthcoming.

But for now, I need to exercise myself fully as a screen-scraper and API tire-kicker using 360iTiger. I’ve got a request to crank out today for monitoring Flickr numbers. Okay, I said the Flickr thing was going to be my top priority today, and it’s already 2:30. I have to keep good to my word. And get your act together just in general regarding requests and updates. Oops, it’s 5:00 now. Ugh, distractions!

Okay, now I see why I was keeping my journal right in the Tiger code. There’s something about firing up vim, and actually starting to type in there that makes the place for code your base of operations throughout the day. By doing it in Google Docs, sure typing becomes a bit easier in a WYSIWYG environment, but you’re now in a web browser with your bookmarks taunting you, and all your insidious little notifications and web-based habits. I’m going to do a journal cut right here and move it on over inside of vim to slam out these ezscrape patterns for Flickr. In my defense, I did do some ezscrape work with SEO co-workers both yesterday and today to solve immediate problems. ezscrape is working out as planned. Now just keep tension in the machine!