Self and Search

A few years ago someone who I respect very much suggested that only the egotistical would consider putting yet another page online about something that someone had already done well. I argued that there is a lot of room in the world for more of anything good. Otherwise, the last gothic romance would have been Wuthering Heights and any art after Guernica would be expensive wallpaper. Excellence would not be much of a goal – one good achievement and it’s all over for anyone who ever wanted to do something like it.

Nothing I said could sway him, and we proceeded to argue.

I was ready for a debate. I had a list of search results that I thought would be easy picking. Those were the just-pre glory days of SEO and frames were all over the place. Many, many sites often weren’t even using metas or Hx tags. I felt strongly that we could establish my friend as a leader in his niche, if we built quality content targeted towards the top three slots in about ten searches.

My friend was new to the web, but knew the organizations behind the authority sites. He felt that those organizations should be the ones to develop the content I’d suggested, full stop. He couldn’t wrap his mind around the idea that the authority sites I wanted to compete with could and should be competed with.

Lately I’ve been wondering if he was more right than I knew at the time. Part of his objection, back in the day, was that tooting his own horn in an effort to out-SEO established national leaders would be laughably self-involved. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of sites that exist primarily for horn-tooting, zillions of abandoned look-at-me blogs, and transitive shells generated to contain scraped feeds encrusted with adsense. Insanity.

Insanity and, in the good ones, self-expression.

Add glorious, self-published chaos, toss a stone into many search results, and you’ll hit someone with an ebook. Next year I may be one of them. The world is changing and I’m looking forward to blogging about it from my ringside seat. The inmates are running the asylum, and we’re not going to stop writing anytime soon.

And my friend? Ironically he, too, has a blog. :)