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Hummingbird

Hummingbird (Photo credit: AnnCam)

Why is Google being such a dick? Why are they cinching the noose so tightly that they’re killing droves of innocents, possibly including you? Because there’s not only billions of dollars being spent of getting to the top of Google, but everything to lose — losing just one spot, going from 2nd to 3rd, to say nothing about going from a top-three organic result on Google to the fifth spot. Heaven forbid, the second page. The third! And, because there’s so much money and because getting to the top of Google is a puzzle that the world’s top minds are working on, as soon as Google rolls out a new algorithm to plug exploits and vulnerabilities that the search industry is happily, merrily, successfully, and profitably exploiting, the most beautiful — and global — minds are working on finding new glitches, blind spots, and vulnerabilities for some serious exploitation.

It’s like tax law: the teams of lawyers retained by big business are always better than the teams of lawyers employed by the IRS.

In Panda then Penguin and now Hummingbird, Google has finally decided to put road-blocks and checkpoints on the Information Superhighway (or, at least the toll road known as Google).

Show me your papers (Papiere, bitte)

In order to foil misbehavior and to tamp down as much of the wonton manipulation of search, Google has implemented authorship associated with real names, real identities, reputation, track record, share-worthiness, popularity, true organic behavior patters, and patterns of impact and penetration.

In doing so, Google is not preventing anonymous content from existing online, it’s giving preference to verified, identified, and vouched-for content. It’s a tacit tiering of the internet: real-name-verified authored content and everything else.

The image in my mind is the Registered Traveler at the airport: there’s the CLEAR lane and then there’s everone else. Personally, I am in the clear. It’s blue skies for me because I am an open book. I am verified and cross-checked and author-ized and associated with well-reputed and serious publications. I also rock a 78 Klout score (maybe that matters to Google? Maybe they’re maintaining a “Glout” score on me, Chris Abraham, even if they’re not tapping a reputation service) and am active on a majority of the social media and networking platforms including Twitter, Facebook, reddit, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, and even Google+ (yes, Google Plus!).

Of course, there’s always been First Class, frequent-flyer programs, and the like; Clear me, Google, Clear me! Now, all you have to do is jump through all the hoops that Google has put before you well in advance and you’ll be good to go (and don’t forget to share as much about you as you can — and even more than you think and are comfortable with)

How to register your authorship

What do you need to do to get started? Well, join AdWords, even if you don’t plan to advertise. Then, join AdSense, even if you don’t plan to host ads on your website. Next, join Google Webmaster tools and add and verify all of your sites. Join Google Analytics and fully implement tracking software on all the sites you have access to. Be sure to not only register for Google+ but also fill out everything about yourself, especially everything Google asks your Google Account page  — everything, don’t be shy or try to rush through it. Especially important is making sure you connect all of your blogs, published, and social accounts at Google Connected Accounts. Finally, make sure you’re not missing anything and head over to Google Authorship to make sure you’re on your way to becoming completely G-Verified.

And, if you’re especially canny you can take the bold step of submitting your blogs to Google to be considered as a news source for Google News.

You want to make sure that when — not if — your site is pulled over and Google asks for your papers, you have current, stamped, and legal papers on your person to profer. In the new Verified world of Google Hummingbird, you really want to make sure you stay on the right side of the wall.

Whether this verification is in any way associated with ad buys on AdWords is still to be seen, though why wouldn’t it? Porn sites have always verified age and real name through running a credit card, right? What better way to verify your right to exist than spending lots of money on Google ads? This is conjecture (this, and everything else I have ever written: conjecture and experience).

Pissed off about spending so much money on SEO

You’re just furious because you feel like you might as well have dumped that huge pile of money you spent on search into a blast furnace.

Think about it this way: you’ve had an excellent run. Nothing lasts forever. If you hadn’t found such success exploiting Google’s algorithm loopholes in the past then you wouldn’t feel so betrayed. I bet you’ve spent more money on Google AdWords contextual ads than you ever have on organic search; however, you never expected advertising to be persistent and rewarding long term: turn on advertising, you get visitors; turn it off, they go away. You’re OK with that impermanence when it comes to advertising but not organic. Interesting.

As an online reputation manager and organic SEO consultant, I never promise guaranteed results or outcomes. Navigating Google search is like exploring the North Pole: the ice is always shifting, cracking, breaking apart, crashing together. What is North, anyway? Is it a place or is it magnetic?

Once you start optimizing for search you can never stop

ORM and SEO demand constant expedition. Constant funding. The moment you stop spending on organic SEO is the moment you stop evolving your campaign, your search expedition, forward. Google is constantly tweaking the way it identifies, spiders, indexes, pre-caches, returns, and displays not only your content but everyone elses, too.

And, you very well may be as white hat as they come — just a small-but-successful little ecommerce site that sells Kydex holsters — but you may suffer as well. No matter how well you’re playing the game, no matter how observant you are of Google “traffic laws,” Google has had to keep ahead of global lawlessness, an entire billion-dollar industry of very smart SEO consultants who are pushing the state-of-the-art to new levels. There are content cabals leveraging global back-office relationships that participate in SEO horse-trading at a very high-level and across many companies that often seem, on their face, to be competitors, but are actually working together — hundreds and thousands of data-centers, content marketing sites, news platforms, blog networks, pay-per-post syndicates, newspapers, news aggregators, message boards, review sites — to create an entire “Shadow-Web” stitched together through automated system of trading and linking to emulate the perfect bottom-up, consumer-generated, organic, natural, and valuable resource possible. Sort of like manufacturing Google’s perfect woman! A girl that Google cannot resist, if you will. Real Science circa 2013.

Cat-nip so potent that not even Sergey Brin himself could resist — and until recently, he honestly couldn’t. The quality of content was just too good to ignore and the speed, professionalism, and relevance of the content that the Shadow Web offered was just too good.

Behold the Zombie, Robot-Army, Shadow Web!

And when I am talking about a shadow web, I don’t mean the place on Tor where Silk Road lived but a complete simulacrum pretending to be the hard work of millions of consumers, citizens, reviewers and online denizens; however, real humans are too unpredictable in the real world, in the wild, so at the end of the day, hundreds of coders, developers, publishers, advertisers, registrars, marketers, and data centers chose to create an entire infrastructure that could be conducted, controlled, and orchestrated without needing to depend on the kindness of strangers.

What is this thing? What is it called? Can I join? How do I become a member? I am sorry, I can’t help you (or I’d have to kill you) but suffice it to say, I like to refer to is as — and I am just trying these out:

  • Link Bourse
  • Search Bourse
  • SEO Bourse
  • Google Bourse

What do you think? Any of them (or am I trying too hard?)

Anyway, this tiering, verifying, and paper-checking strategy that Google is implementing is out of desperation. The SEO-Industrial complex is too well-funded, too global, has a lot to win, and nothing to lose. Either that or this is a very blunt-force scheme to get someone, anyone, to adopt their death-watch social network service, Google+ — but that’s crazy, there’s no such thing as conspiracy.

Here are some related articles for you to check out.

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Chris Abraham

About Chris Abraham

A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, web strategy consultant and advisor to the industries' leading firms. He specializes in Web 2.0 technologies, including content syndication; organize search engine optimization (SEO), online reputation management (ORM), content marketing, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media.

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