For a long time I was oblivious to the way search engines worked. I mean besides the fact that all I had to do was Google a word, or ask Jeeves (Does anyone even ask Jeeves anything anymore?) a question and millions of websites would pop out, I did not know there was logic or better yet, a system behind it.
Do you ever wonder why certain websites pop up at the beginning of a search and some show up on page 5 or 6? Well if you’re anything like me, you probably thought it displays the most recent sites first… wrong. Or maybe you thought the sites with the most hits came up earlier in the list.. well this is might be true. The point is, there is a way to manipulate the system: it’s called SEO, search engine optimization. And I’m not sure how I feel about it.
Search engine optimization refers to the process of improving the visibility of a website in search engines and there are services that do just that.. for a price of course. I will admit that it is probably worth the price considering most people look at the first few sites and rarely ever get past page 3, but for some reason I feel betrayed.
I’d like to think that the first few sites that pop up represent the most popular and thus I will click on those. And it is this concept that makes me skeptical about Social Media or online world in general. Consumers are already weary when it comes to making purchasing decisions so to add extra reasons to make us feel uneasy is not a good thing. This is clearly one of my “ranting” blogs and I apologize, but when I think of influencing customer behavior, social influencers or even online branding services (like Facebook or Twitter) I think of the skepticism associated with the internet. I mean at this point companies can “manipulate” or pretty much buy something to try and influence consumers. Either businesses are becoming dangerously beyond clever or consumers are being more overly cautious, either way there lies a vulnerability in online users which should be a considering factor when attempting to socially influence a certain market.