Friday, May 26, 2006

The voyage

I have been quiet on the blog front for quite a while. I have been very busy. Business has exploded, growth is a strong upward curve and we are moving to more central, larger offices to facilitate further expansion.

I am taking a quick break in Miami and am glad to get away. I find that I have my thinking head on - when it should be my drinking head! I definately will be by the pool taking it easy in the sun shortly. It is the Memorial Weekend for US verterans and there is a hip hop festival with 350,000 people right outside the front door of my hotel! Help I am stuck. I have been warned to stay away from the hookers - they don't want my money, they make more by stealing my identity nowadays...

Just before Christmas 2005. I started a process of examinging what we do at Weboptimiser, with a mission to automate and systemise, so that we can outsource, increase volume and ensure stable quality.

For some this means that we rely less on our engineers and are considering the unholy automation of SEO. I think that this is an inevitable process of life. I.e. when we do something good, we want to do it better. We eventually get the time to analyse what we do and like Henry Ford, break things down into 'manufactoring' chunks. Some of what an SEO and PPC does are easily systematised.

I have discovered several things.
It was the right thing to do.
It has improved quality.
It now means we can do more
It has overal benefits to everyone - staff, sales and clients

We are building in extra intelligence into the process, in order to differentiate what we do and to make our work better and more meaningful. Our engineers are spending more time doing more interesting work, the more repetitive but essential stuff is now done for them, so I think that their overal lives are better, as well as the client output.

I have shared data files of our discoveries with the team, so they can see that we really do have the ability that I talk about. So if they need to discuss in a client situation they know what is possible and they have a very real idea about what we can do for sure. Again this should make thier lives more comfortable and help us set expectation levels accordingly.

It is not until you travel down a road that you can see the choices ahead. In other words, I am doing what I am doing for my own reasons, rightly or wrongly, others may look at it and realise from the information that I share that they could do something else (an epiphany!) to benefit the client - seo and ppc.

I am not for one moment pretending that I am the only one doing this. My message is join in, we are still at the beginning of a digital world that still needs to be explored. And so we are exploring and plan to continue, some of our exploration will lead to dead ends, others to rich new seams. I do so because we have found out so much already -as outlined in our white papers and case studies.

We have found out how users behave online, we have seen how certain trades behave online - we have identified the pain of being online too. We continue to discover. By forcing the march of discovery we continue to pioneer. We know what puts people to the top of search and conversely what ruins thier chances.

Although the road I am taking is clear to me. 3G SEM or sem taking into account competitive analysis - is something we have regularly undertaken, but not necessarily systematically and not necessarily knowingly or automatically. By making competitive analysis systematical and automatic, then our advice to clients becomes consistenly better - ensuring ongoing satisfaction and helping our recommendations to be more forcibly enforced - or undertaken by clients, strengthened by uniform competitive information.

There is a lot of validation out there to support competitive analysis, another realisation that I have had. I.e. Certain sites are more influential than others. For instance I cannot only get a PR for a site, I can also get an Alexa ranking and whilst these are not gospel as they are proprietory to Amazon and Google, they do form the basis of some quality measurement. We can see how many pages and backlinks are listed in Google, Yahoo, MSN and many other search engines these all provide numerical, statistical information that is there to see, for free.

Like SEO we have on site and off site factors - and this makes for a lot of data. So I conclude that competitive interpretation is going to be a factor of statistical analysis - a computation. In fact as I have discovered, a series of computations involving thousands of variables as complex as any algorythm and indeed an algorythm in itself.

Fortunately my real world sales and marketing knowledge coupled with my real world knowledge of search and web sites puts me in an excellent position to be make sense of it all - and only time will tell, although in my own humble opinion, I think I have done reasonably well to date.

The journey is there to be travelled. I am a traveller and lookign forward to the next set of choices, the next junction at the end of this particular road.

Watch this space as I plan to announce a deliverable that everyone can have shortly, for free.

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