Mar 25, 2012

How Webcrawlers Make the Web Worse

Reading about how to improve small business search rankings reveals the way webcrawler design leads businesses to create so-called "content" that does everyone a disservice --- both their own customers as well as people actually looking for useful information.

I started reading about "search engine optimization", or SEO, partly at the behest of my dad who's trying to improve his sign shop's website, but also to help with promoting the stuff I do. Anyway, SEO tends to be a lot of fairly boring technical little stuff, mainly about all the relentless ways you can squeeze in "keywords" and "keyphrases" into every last pixel of your site, for the benefit of Google's (and others') webcrawlers and "robots". But then it got interesting (or perhaps it only seemed so by comparison) when my RepKoverTM bound guidebook (lays flat for easy reading) started advising me to simulate "content" to draw in the flies --- to get some Content Management Software (CMS) and perhaps hire a copywriter to fob off some faux-info on the hoi polloi (assonant aside: I dream of one day opening a competitor to Hobby Lobby, either catty-corner or across the street, to be called The Hobber Lobber. Additional aside, non-assonant: perhaps these very words are only a content simulacrum, cynically generated to ensnare you in some commercial agenda?)

Mar 4, 2012

Fancy Free (or Cheap Anyway) and Footloose

The world offers many paradoxes to the observant. I speak today of a certain foot-based conundrum that is once again upon me as spring and summer draw near. It first hit me last summer, and now I suppose it threatens to be an annual occurrence, barring a minor revolution in low-end footwear manufacturing practices.

Sandals, you see, apparently have to be "fancy" if they're also cheap. By "fancy", I mean they have to have elaborate leather (or leather-like?) strappage, with lots of buckles and doodads, and in general suggest that the wearer commands armies of Roman legionaires, or has servants who feed him grapes while he lies on one of his many divans. Then again, some of the designs cross that influence with a bit of standard 1990s "extreme" stylings, for the Roman emperor who also likes to drive 4-wheelers and stomp on small creatures from time to time.