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Tag Archives: SEO

No magic eraser on the Internet. UC Davis learns the hard way

There’s a corollary to that old saw, “On the Internet, information lives forever,” and it’s this: “There’s no such thing as a magic eraser.”

But that doesn’t stop people from trying. Like this case of University of California, Davis and the ‘image scrubbing’ scandal. There are still companies offering services to clean up bad information by some dubious SEO work. But most experts say this isn’t possible. Search engines crawl, index and place information in so many places it’s not possible to delete a bad story once it gets out. Especially something has covered by the media, shared, and posted to several media channels. UC Davis reportedly paid two PR firms $175,000 for this magic eraser.

Is this a good thing that we cannot turn back the clock? It has given rise to a privacy right case known as the ‘Right To Be Forgotten’ right that the European Union fled against Google in 2012. It states that : “Individuals have the right – under certain conditions – to ask search engines to remove links with personal information about them.” A good Fact Sheet is available here. There’s a longer discussion in Stanford Law Review, here.

I feel sorry for US Davis, because the story they tried to bury has given rise to hundreds more – giving the original piece that much more links. SEO companies often advice as much: Instead of trying to delete a story try to generate enough good information that will push down (not take down) the bad.

Oddly enough, while Google has complied, it accidentally revealed data about these requests.

Which brings me to social media literacy and privacy. We ought to be telling young people the ramifications of over sharing, being in pictures –group shots or selfies –that they might regret later.

 
 

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Oil, tweets, and the gushing blogosphere will drown BP

There is no such thing as a ‘top kill’ procedure (the attempt BP made to put a huge concrete dome on the leak in the Gulf of Mexico) to cap off the gushing anger at BP  in the blogosphere.

Each day brings a new wave of voices –comments, creativity, social media channels –to shame the company that has caused the worst environmental disaster here in the US. Like this logo attack.

This one, a blog called Apologize To BP taps into the collective wisdom of anyone who has a twitter account, or some time to add some content to the site.

A post contributed by one David Diehl, alongside this picture, is titled ‘Sea Of Contrition.’ He apologizes to the captain of BP this way:

“Thanks again for inviting me to the yachting excursion this last weekend. I’m so very sorry I ate up all of your delicious shrimp during the preliminary revelry on Friday. The staff did indicate it was the last of the Gulf shrimp…”

Apologize, is acerbic and funny, obviously, but content like this (and there are hundreds of tweets being fed into the web site every minute) create a virtual gusher that intentionally or not contaminates anything that BP tries to do by way of PR.

I know, most PR people tend to say that it’s inappropriate to even use ‘ BP’ and ‘PR’  in the same sentence; the company has made so many PR blunders it’s not even funny.

The site urges readers to submit  “videos, photos, quotes, whatever you want, as long as you apologize…”

The feed of tweets into the site is a smart way to keep content flowing through the pages, even while it feeds the tweet-hungry searchers who only see it on the micro-blogging platform. The hashtag #ImSorryBP

At the time of writing, this Twitter account has had just 213 followers. I’s one more way that people will channel their frustration.

There are more. Check these hash tags that are being used to aggregate the comments and conversations:

#BP (of course, usurping the brand initials)

#oilspill

#gulfoilspill

So, despite the news that BP is trying to clean up its online rankings using SEO tactics such as buying keywords, it’s quite apparent that the groundswell is not going to be more powerful.

 

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The lengths people go for Google juice

The dangerous line between SEO and tricking the algorithm to deliver more Google juice has been crossed before. People have warned about such dangerous practices.

But this one, revealed by Todd Defren stumbling onto a combination of social media and SEO practice is disheartening. Sickening, in fact. Basically it was an act of blog spam plus fake posts.

I don’t know if he is doing everyone a disservice by not revealing who the company was that resorted to this kind of fakery. Maybe Defren is bound by business constraints to not do so. I challenge someone to do some sleuth work and reveal the name of the company, if only to protect some other client from falling prey.

The innovation and value that social media and search engine optimization brings to everyone is far too important to let this one slide.

 
 

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