In case you haven’t heard yet, Dick Costolo is out as CEO at Twitter. I’m an outsider, so I have no idea whether this is deserved or not, but when analysts question a CEO’s tenure publicly, it can easily undermine their stature to the point where it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this case, it wasn’t unexpected.
Twitter isn’t profitable, and has lately shown signs of stalling growth. Whoever takes over the reins there (Jack Dorsey is stepping in as interim CEO) is going to be under pressure to “fix” whatever is ailing the company, and fast.
The problems may only have manifested since the IPO, but they aren’t really new though. Here’s something I wrote (I was talking about a spate of Twitter-imitators at the time) four years ago:
I always wonder about sites that are focused on Twitter-like feeds though. To my mind, that functionality basically forms the same purpose as RSS feeds. Its just crying out to be aggregated, and then where does that leave the feed sites, or the individual content creators?
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Nathan forwarded me this link from Mashable, with the subject line prefaced with the word “HUGE”.
From what I can tell, it looks like Microsoft is finally starting to put together the pieces of an overall web strategy: determine what Google would like to do and put roadblocks in their way. Hence the previous Yahoo deal.
Its obvious far to early to see if this helps them out. I’m fairly sure though that it means search engines will be displaying a lot more “current” or trending data pulled from profiles and micro-blogging posts.
#Google: This is amusing and probably unlikely to last. I’ve found that every time I mention Google on Twitter, it gets picked up and retweeted by some automated services, which in turn results in a few more followers. Like I said this probably doesn’t scale and if everybody starts doing it then it will quickly become useless. I just thought it was interesting.
We’ve been noticing a few odd things lately with Google:
- New sites aren’t getting spidered – or not as quickly as earlier this year. Webmaster tools gives a generic message about the website not being listed in Google’s index, along with a link to a video that seems to mostly be about websites that get themselves banned for violating Google’s terms of service. Also existing websites that are growing aren’t always having the new content added as quickly as before – or rather it happens inconsistantly lately.
- Google PageRank tools don’t seem to be working any more. I’ve tried a number of them lately.
- While we’re on the topic of PageRank, it seems to be even less relevant than before. In one controlled scenario where we have many listings showing for a specific search term, a PR5 page is showing on the third page, while much lower PR websites are showing on the first page. Sorry, I can’t be more specific, but it is a fairly controlled scenario. All of the pages involved are similar in size with similar numbers of occurrences of this keyword.
- Searches are often slow. As far as I can tell, this isn’t just my internet connection. Its been years since I’ve had the Google homepage time out on me.
- Search listings sometimes change dramatically in short time periods.
All of the above seems to indicate that Google is gearing their entire system up for something big. Speculation among my staff says they’re going to try to make everything realtime (or close to it) in order to compete with Twitter. That means that they’re going to try and reorder all of their indexes very quickly (rather than weekly or possibly daily) in order to try and provide something closer to the immediate zeitgeist that one can obtain through Twitter.
Having some idea of the size of Google’s indices, and a vague notion that the number of servers in their demesne is in the low millions, the scale of this boggles my mind.
A better subtitle for this blog could be: “Throw a bunch of spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks”
I keep an eye on the Google Analytics reports for this site. The past couple of months, there were an unusually large number of hits from people searching for info on Twitter. I just tried a couple of searches on Google.com and Google.ca this morning, and for “twitter purpose” (and a variety of other combinations), we’re showing up near the top of the first page. In the past, we’ve also had searches for people looking for info on Askme.com, DandyId and other specific topics that I’ve written about here.
I think the general principal, one that has relevance for SEO (search engine optimization), is that it’s just about impossible to determine in advance what the zeitgeist of the moment is going to be. As a result, place content on your site that covers a wide range of related topics, and there’s a good chance that something that you write will be relevant to somebody, somewhere, at some point in time.
This is otherwise known as the spaghetti principal – when you don’t know what precisely will work, try a bunch of different things, and record your results. This isn’t a new idea by any means. Bloggers, internet marketers and SEOs use this tactic all the time, in a variety of different ways.
In my experience, build traffic to a site is easy – it just takes work. The same goes for building a following on social media sites like Twitter or Facebook. If you’re willing to dedicate the time to posting regularly, promoting diligently, and continually learning new tricks, eventually everything will come together.
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