Why I’m Sucking Up to the Search Engines

Is it too late for a New Year’s resolution? The thing is, I’ve never really made them in the past (the thinking being that I’ll get distracted by the first shiny object to come along and forget my original…wait, what was I saying?), but it just might be time to give one a go. After pulling in eleven views on my last post, I’m resolving to get better at this interwebs thing.

Up until now I’ve pretty much been “off the grid” when it came to an online presence. I used to think that was a good thing – you know, the less personal information that’s out there, the better. But as I try to get more serious about a writing career (it’s either that or spend my golden years stocking the feminine hygiene aisle at the Safeway store in Alliance, Nebraska), it’s becoming evident that I need to raise my digital profile a little. After all, if you post a story on the web and no one reads it, does it make a sound?

Even my blog here on WordPress taunts me every time I log in with that stats graph that shows the number of views my site has garnered in the last 48 hours, its flatline a pathetic reminder of my virtual anonymity. Meanwhile, another blogger I frequent recently bragged that she now has 10,000 followers. Wha…? I’ve been at this for about two years now and at last count had 43 people following me…I’m no math whiz but off the top of my head I’d say, out of 7 billion possibilities, that’s not the best batting average. Look, I’m no different than anyone else – I’m just searching for some validation. I need to know, as Sally Field put it, that you like me, really like me.

Of course it’s vain, especially when you consider how many other truly worrisome things are taking place in the world at the moment. Yet we’d all probably like a little more recognition – the question is, how far are we willing to stoop in order to get it?

For instance: Nicolas Cage, perhaps the greatest actor of our time, recently wore – among other things – a teeshirt emblazoned with a picture of himself to a Guns ‘n Roses concert. And while the argument can be made that any reincarnation of the band isn’t truly legit without Slash in the fold, or that some grown men shouldn’t be allowed to dress themselves no matter how much money they have (I’m looking at you, too, “Dice”), I’m actually here to beat the drum for unabashed self-promotion.
nic cage
Admittedly, I’m a bit of a newb when it comes to attracting attention in the digital world. My only “formal” training came a few years ago when the web guy from corporate dropped by at my last real gig. Actually, he was the Search Engine Optimization Manager, so apparently it was a big enough deal that they made it someone’s only job.

What I learned from this twenty-something techno-nerd is that getting people to visit your website is more important than anything – sex, money, family, good music, bacon double cheeseburgers, anything. It was obviously what he lived for, and he was simply sharing the Kool-aid with the rest of us. And since he has no doubt already sold his first internet company for $830 million and I’m currently unemployed, well, I guess it’s time to get in the game.

The other thing I learned is that I’m not very good at appeasing the almighty Google. A more savvy person would pay closer attention to the keywords and links and meta tags that allow the Great and Powerful Eye to locate a site across the vastness of the world wide web and decide its worthiness, based on how it relates to whatever random thoughts an insomniac in Boise might type into a search box at 3 in the morning. But if you ask me, optimizing your content for the search engines feels a bit like playing a word association game with a 12-year old on a sugar buzz. Besides, the one thing guaranteed to get you views is T & A, as Kimmie K and her ilk have repeatedly shown. So for all that talk of crawlers and breadcrumbs and secret algorithms, it looks like those search engines are just as interested in porn as the rest of us.

Yet, when it comes right down to it, I’m simply not ready to post pictures of my weirdly glistening ass on the internet. There’s just something about the term “soulless attention-whore” that doesn’t really translate well on a resume.

And truth be told, I’d much rather have a bacon double cheeseburger anyway.

Artwork compliments of Dave Walker
Photo compliments of huffingtonpost.com


4 thoughts on “Why I’m Sucking Up to the Search Engines

  1. I wrote a post a while back titled “Please Do Not Power Off or Unplug Your Machine” about the rudeness of Microsoft updates. I still get hits on it.

    IMHO, attracting the attention of the servers at Google is like a church advertsing free Kool-Aid Vodka shooters. It brings in the mob but no one sticks around for the sermon.

    You are a great writer, Curt, give it time but realize that great writing rarely gets you noticed on WordPress. There are a lot of great writers here. Make friends with them. That’s what I try to do. At least then you will be read by the best.

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