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The Long Tail for SEO / Enabling Confirmation Bias

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My latest contribution to State of Search is about the hot topic of the day: long tail keywords and SEO. Some high profile SEOs have gone on record saying that “long tail isn’t SEO”, which in my opinion is a total lie and dangerous misrepresentation of what long tail traffic is.

State of Search: Defining the Long Tail for SEO

There are large online corporations that exists solely to fulfil the need specified in the third characteristic (Demand Media for one), and some SEOs argue that what these companies do doesn’t amount to SEO. I would agree with that. Churning out massive amounts of content just to satisfy long tail queries is not what good SEO makes.

For the Belfast Telegraph I wrote a column about Google’s latest Chrome extension which allows users to block sites from Google’s search results. I believe this is a dangerous move that enables users’ own confirmation bias:

Belfast Telegraph: Why Google’s Latest Step In The Fight Against Spam Is Dangerous

One of the greatest assets the internet has brought us is this enormous wealth of information, this vast collection of different views and opinions however right or wrong they might be. The internet has enabled and enriched a global conversation, a continuous exchange of ideas that inevitably leads to a greater understanding of ourselves and our universe.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Michael Martinez March 4, 2011, 23:10

    Barry, what do you think of Google’s use of CrowdBlocking to validate the results of their Farmer Panda Update?

    (Sorry about the link…There’s a Giant Panda here forcing my hand.)

  • Barry Adams March 7, 2011, 8:47

    Hey Michael. I’m in two minds about it really. On the one side I can understand the potential power in user-validating your algorithmic decisions.

    But on the other hand we all know that groups of people can display amazing levels of ignorance and stupidity.

    This also ties in to the point I make in my column about enabling confirmation bias. If search engines start to listen too much to user input and not enough to algorithmic signals we might end up with pre-censored search results.

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