My Reflection on Web Search and Content Class

Using Web Search and Content for My Career

Recently I have come to a decision in my life that I don’t want a career in my major, mostly being web design. I would still like one in interactive media, be it audio or video editing and special effects, but I can definitely say that what I’ve learned in this class could still be used in my career. If I freelance once I graduate as a video editor or motion graphic designer, then knowing how to get my name and brand out there with my website will definitely put me at an advantage. Taking from TJ’s presentation and realizing what inbound marketing is, I could make a landing page to gain leads, showing my skills from my portfolio and having a contact form to allow people to contact me, all from that one page. Also, I previously thought all of SEO was keyword stuffing, using the keywords on the website as much as possible, in the content, in the metatags in the head tag, everywhere. I wouldn’t have thought that having a Google+ would be as helpful as having a Facebook to placing myself higher on page rank. Also, I realize I need to start making content already so I can have enough to post regularly and share it everywhere I can.

Gears of SEO War

Gears of SEO War

More Media Literate

One thing this class has really taught me above everything else is becoming extremely self-aware of the technology and media around me. As I went home for Thanksgiving break, my 12 year old niece wanted to see my phone as I was watching TV so she could play Subway Surfers and I said sure. When I got it back, she had downloaded Instagram on it and was taking pictures of herself and putting them up for her friends to see. I told her that people could tell where she takes pictures at when you put them online, but thought I was being silly. It’s surprising that as many people in this day and age don’t realize things like their digital footprint and how tracked we are by not just the government, but so many other companies and organizations for either big data or individual information, and I’m not just talking about kids, but people my age and older as well. Also I tend to notice more things that other people wouldn’t second glance at, such as native advertising along websites I visit or how signing up with Facebook for every website on the internet can become a big problem for security. But on the plus side, I was reminded of how quick our technology advances, compared to any other generation, in Alegria’s presentation about the “Quantified Self” and all of the apps to help us record data about ourselves, and Kaitlyn’s presentation about the “Internet of Things“, showing how much control we have over real-world things with bits of code in a smartphone, along with a couple of my favorite articles like the driverless cars or urine-powered robot. While I’m sure I don’t see myself as an SEO expert or data analyst by any means whatsoever, I will leave this class having a definite advantage over competition who may not know how Google works or keeping up with technology that changes the world around them.

The Orange-Eyed Alien: Brand/Content Analysis of Reddit

2592234300_85ae78cc8e_bA difficult blog to write alongside my required “research” with Reddit.

A great part of the internet has come to know the alien with orange eyes as the mascot for Reddit. For people who do not know what Reddit is, it is a social news website where users can post just about any and all content with each other and posts are then content is ranked like a search engine, based on a vote system to arrange the most liked comments or posts at the top. Also, content is organized into different sorted communities, called subreddits, which users can subscribe to and get multiple subreddit posts, all on the front page of reddit. Reddit has become one of those social media sites where content (news, pictures, videos) tend to be posted first before all of the internet knows about it, and then it goes viral from all the sharing but most people wouldn’t know that it came from reddit.

Content

Reddit IS content. If content didn’t matter in SEO, Reddit would probably not be as popular . Reddit encourages users (or redditors) to share content to and from reddit, similar to Facebook likes and Google +1′s.  As for their own content, they do have their own blog, but I’ve never read it until now. Most of it is about their off-page SEO, events for redditors such as fundraisers, gift exchanges or meetups, and sometimes even employment opportunities. I don’t see much in the way of video content, but I don’t think reddit needs it as much as most companies since most of this can be read on reddit, but extra doesn’t hurt for their SEO.

Reddit Demographics

Photo from alexa.com

The one thing that has Reddit set out from the competition (Digg, 9gag, 4chan) the most is the AMA subreddit. AMA stands for Ask Me Anything. In promotion for movies and TV shows, many celebrities have held their own interviews on Reddit, taking any questions from redditors and answering them. The most popular AMA to have taken place was the Barack Obama AMA, with over 25,000 comments on his post. Companies are beginning to see Reddit as a credible outlet to reach internet users. Reddit have always put the needs of the users ahead of the company. I can assume this from their support of the Internet Freedom Act when SOPA and PIPA was a law almost signed in Congress and having all of their source code for reddit available on GitHub. Their connection with redditors seem to be a reinforced value of theirs with constantly adding their own content alongside the thousands of user-submitted content added each hour.

You know your website's going well when.... Rights Reserved to CBS

Rights Reserved to CBS

Social Media

After companies, businesses, and public figures learned of the potential that reddit has, they have began to take it a lot more seriouslyAlexa.com, the web analytic website has determined that the average user of Reddit is a male college student on reddit to kill time while on a school computer. I believe Reddit is doing a great job at sustaining this demographic. If you visit Reddit as a guest, then you get a default set of subreddits that tries to appeals to the average male college student killing time, such as /r/funny, /r/AdviceAnimals (mostly memes) and /r/gaming, yet still have learning with /r/worldnews, /r/science, and /r/ExplainLikeImFive (difficult ideas/concepts broken down like you’re a child).  I decided to compare Reddit’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and as expected, not many comments on Facebook from their posts, but I was confused as to why their official Twitter account have posted most of their tweets in spanish since June 26th. Reddit, like Twitter has had it’s faults with having a lot of user-submitted content, such as redditors mistakenly identifying the Boston bombing suspects. But there has been more good to come out of Reddit than bad with events with fundraising over $100k in donations to Haiti and two different groups of faith combining to raise $180k to the Doctors Without Borders organization.

SEO/Inbound Marketing Talk with TJ Kirgin of Anchor Communications

Photo from inboundSTL.com

Photo from inboundSTL.com

On October 3rd, our Web Search and Content class had a special guest come and talk to us about everything SEO and internet marketing. TJ Kirgin, the CEO and inbound marketing consultant at Anchor Communications spoke to us, leaving invaluable information about the thought process that he and his agency goes through to ensure their clients reach and ensure leads for their audience and potential customers.

Inbound and Outbound Marketing

I did not know of outbound and inbound marketing beforehand. Outbound marketing would be waiting for customers to find your business and growing interest at that time, such as TV commercials, flyers and billboards, mostly analog media advertising techniques.  Inbound marketing would be businesses and companies reaching out to strangers, people who may not be interested yet in your business and company, and gradually persuading them to become a customer with calls to action (leading pages), ebooks, sample trials, then meetings and consultations. Anchor Communications uses both inbound and outbound marketing to reach all demographic audiences. Although, it has been proven that inbound marketing has been more effective for our generation, outbound marketing should not be forgotten completely.

Updated SEO Techniques

Penguin and Panda Updates from Google

Making the list, checking it twice!

Kirgin talked about the previous SEO techniques used and the new techniques now after Google’s Penguin and Panda update to their algorithm. The old SEO used keyword meta tags, keyword stuffing, backlinks and copy & pasting. Websites still rely on keyword meta tags, placed in the <head> tag of website code for search engine bots to rank and index your site, but apparently meta keywords have become the least important to search engines and many websites have stopped using them. Keyword stuffing, the technique for using the same keyword as much as possible to give the illusion of a reputable site, has always been looked down upon by SEO experts, Google(bot), any search engine really, and the general public that uses the internet. Backlinks are when people make links on their site to yours, which helps your SEO more when their sites are reputable and high-ranking.  Copy & pasting entire articles from other websites onto your own tends to drop your rank in search results. Google’s panda update has primarily banned or drastically dropped the rank of websites with duplicated content and the penguin update found websites with overambitious backlinks (paid links or links coming from insignificant websites).  Penguin 2.0 rewarded sites with a boost in search rank for having high-quality content and a natural looking link structure with a good site design.

Bounce Rate

The Bounce Rate, according to Kirgin, is the most important thing when it comes to SEO. it is the percentage of web users that leave immediately upon visiting your site. The bounce rate for the average website is about 50%, but it has increased in the recent years up to 50-60%. To efficiently lower your bounce rate, restructuring your website for a easier, simpler user experience can help. Also, having a “sticky homepage”, simple yet modern, increases the chances of users staying on your page to see the “cool features” you have your page, such as parallax scrolling, unique content, and no autoplay videos or sound.

I definitely understood SEO and inbound marketing much more after Kirgin’s presentation. To learn more about Anchor Communications, visit Anchor STL.  Learn more about TJ Kirgin by connecting with him on LinkedIn, +1 on Google+, or following him on Twitter.

Blog #1 – Our Digital Footprint

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This term, “digital footprint“, I never heard of until I came to college. Digital footprints only recently came into the light with our advancement into technology, in order to make life simpler or safer for their users, such as metadata and face recognition. I know when I first made my Facebook, I felt like any information that I put on it as “private”, to where only I could see it, would actually be private, until one day as a freshman in high school. A friend of mine made a private blog post on Xanga.com where he had wrote he was going to commit suicide, the next day, he was escorted out of the classroom to the counselor’s office and later that night, ended up being institutionalized for 4 days and 5 nights. It was then when I realized that nothing is completely private.

I actually had to research what analytics were. I felt like I knew what they were but not really. It reminds me of Aristotle, the voter demographic data sellers to political campaigns. I never cared about analytics when it comes to online ads on the side or recommended videos on the right side of YouTube, I thought it to be kind of harmless advertising since it would be the only way any company could really target me. I realize that the URLs I click are already tracked and used to show me products and services that would interest me. It seems to be basic SEO in that anchor text determines how certain websites rank in google and that this is also a part of Google analytics. The article we read from The New York Times had given me a new perspective to it. I never thought about the chance of being denied life insurance based on some weird assumed information from a survey taken years upon years ago. It makes you wonder what else you do online that could affect other parts of your life in weird ways, like would my credit score go down for spending all my virtual cash in Facebook games as soon as I get it?

I feel like Americans are quite aware how much the government agencies and other organizations (businesses/companies) track and record their activity for many different reasons, but most of us, including myself, just accept the fact and get over it. Even though it’s a high chance that this was planted in the media to ease people about the NSA, I feel like the 50+ terror attacks prevented shows the good done in this, but I don’t like how these activities target only foreign people. It should be everyone or no one, but I suppose that’s another blog post.  Of course, knowing this, I don’t go around checking in everywhere on social media and I’m careful in what I search.

I’ve noticed that people that use analog media tend to be set aside as outcasts, being hipsters or that they have to get with the times. The only kind of analog media I use is the The Legacy newspaper here at LU, and even then that’s kind of rare of me to pick one up, I usually just hear about what other people read in it and then I would check it out for myself about a week later. As an Interactive Media and Web Design major, I think using digital media will pretty much always be a part of my life.

4-24-13: Demographic Targeting

I’ve been trying to remember the name of the website that we went to in class where it determined our outlook towards race, age, religion, skin tone  and other factors through the survey, so I could redo it right now as I type this blog. But I shall go off of memory and say that I didn’t think it was reliable at all to tell me how I feel about certain things. One example was that at the beginning of the survey/test, they asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, whether I was favorable towards younger people (10) or older people (1) and I chose 6, and at the end of the test, the score for me was that I was 40% less favorable towards older people. wonder how they got that?

I understand the scientific reasoning they have behind how you are favorable towards a certain factor over another. I only took the age test, but I assume if you did the weight test and you grew up in a very healthy home that looked down upon obesity in any sense, then you would probably test higher in correlating heavier set people to negative and fit people to positive and lower in vice versa.

I also understand how demographics can play a big part in elections. If they can predict how a person would vote, I can see why they would encourage that person to vote since most younger people do not vote with thinking that it’s only one vote out of millions.

Theories of Moral Development

There is one thing that I agree with for all of the stage theories: we do get wiser with age and experience. But that said, I think I mostly agree with Piaget’s version. I feel like Kohlberg only took the age aspect of Piaget’s theory, everything else was completely different. Piaget was talking about abstract thinking, and Kohlberg’s theory was about goals; thinking with a purpose.

I understand Gilligan’s approach to changing Kohlberg’s theory to better fit women, but I feel that it’s just an extension of Kohlberg’s conventional stage. I would think that the self-sacrifice and protecting others would be placed beside the duty and guilt section, but because of Kohlberg’s poorly-made decision to give such a strong bias to males in the tests, Gilligan felt like she had to create a completely separate moral theory from her teachers.

I do agree that men and women may make moral choices different from each other in the most basic of sense (biological/evolutionary reasons) but I feel like in modern times where women have much more opportunity than they did 20 years ago, or even 10 years ago, women use the justice-based theory as much as they would the delicate, care-based theory. Also, I don’t believe I see any decision I ever make in black and white, and  sometimes I rather go with my gut instinct rather than logics, so I would think not all men go with just firm and unwavering justice-based theory all the time.

Reality TV and its effect on television

I never really understood how reality TV is called “reality” TV. It seems to me the farthest from reality you could get, just before sci-fi tv shows.  I know that not all reality TV shows are completely pointless, but they are unfortunately tied in with the biggest reality TV shows, like The Kardashians or Jersey Shore. Reality TV has had a definite effect on people and television. I feel like it stretches people’s way of thinking and life through someone else’s reality. Shows like Survivor and Man vs. Wild may drive people to wonder about if they have the survival skills to live in an extreme environment and could have them consider their choices better when going on camping trips or whatnot. For a personal example, for the only reality TV show that I watch, Catfish, it really makes me cautious about who I talk to online and how much information to put out, in case someone uses my information.

I feel like I said this in a previous blog post, but I feel like most people watch reality tv shows because they wish that it was their reality, such as the party life of the Jersey Shore cast or the fabulous dining and events that the Real Housewives of wherever are apart of. It’s crazy that many people stopped their lives and watched the Kardashian wedding, over two people that they don’t know or wouldn’t come to their wedding. I really enjoyed the Kardashian divorce skit from SNL, making fun of the ridiculousness of the press that they get. Reality TV doesn’t have to have such a bad rep that it gets, as long as people are aware of the line between reality and television.