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Practice Safe Googling

November 23, 2011 1 comment

What is innovation? Is it defined as creating something awesome that doesn’t yet exist or finding a way to do something faster, better, cheaper? Can you find innovation? How are new ideas created? The ones that lead to new products or new ways to do things? If you’ve ever had a spark of genius or a flash of inspiration, chances are the first thing you did was run out and Google it to search for possible competitors and what the market potential might be.

If you have a blog and post regular content, you already know that Google indexes that content. You know that  SEO helps to rank your posts higher based on relevancy for certain search terms (long or short tail). You may even notice that some commonalities exist between your most popular posts and what keywords are driving repeating traffic to these posts. SEO Tip: if you contribute to your company’s blog (or have a personal blog), examine your most popular keyword terms and write subsequent posts around them. It will help to elevate your company’s search ranking based on the keywords that are already driving traffic to your site.

I’m intrigued by the keyword terms that drive traffic to my blog. I check them regularly. I check them to see how they’re trending and I regularly write posts around these keywords to see if doing this increases readership & attracts more traffic. It does. I’m most intrigued by WHAT people are searching for. I write about mobile, I write about advertising. I write about emerging technologies like Augmented Reality and Near-Field Communications (NFC) and how they could impact POS marketing, retail and commerce. Because of this, I notice a lot of long tail keywords driving traffic to my blog related to these topics. I often use these keywords as a source of inspiration. Because, if someone is searching for it; they may be looking to start a business, or substantiate an idea or concept – but the end goal is that they’re searching for information & are looking to learn.

I’m sure you’ll agree that Google is a much more than a massive search engine. They drive revenue through countless channels most famously, display advertising & pay-per-click advertising. The power of Google is housed in their millions of server farms and databases placed strategically across the world (locations mostly hidden from public knowledge). The real power of Google is in every bit of data they keep. I sometimes think that Google knows more about me that I do myself. It remembers. It anticipates. It suggests.

In much the same way that I use keyword terms on my blog to think about new ideas and write new content, Google does as well. Obviously on a much larger scale. Think about the keyword terms that you enter into Google’s search bar. Think about what you’ve entered. Google even goes as far as recommending long tail keywords and results as you enter these terms. This is based on an algorithm that is older than many college freshmen. So, Google is great at recommending search results and keywords but it also keeps a database of these keywords. It scans them regularly to improve search quality, ranking and provide you with better search results. It also logs these keywords in a massive keyword term database which it combs, searches for trends and – even goes as far as registering certain keyword terms and phrases as Intellectual Property*.
*see “Concerns with Google” on Wikipedia 

What does this mean for a startup or a small business? Well, a large part of your success is going to depend on how well you’ve researched the market. It’s going to depend on how well you’re positioned against competitive solutions. Your success also depends on timing. No doubt, the first thing you did to research your company or opportunity is turn to Google. You entered keywords which Google logged. You clicked on competing sites which Google also keeps a record of. Then, you returned and entered other terms that Google has also tracked. Not only have you introduced Google to a new idea or concept, you’ve also helped them to research competitors & the overall market!

It’s not impossible. Nor is it out of the realm of possibility. And I’m not suggesting that you NOT use Google to research your market, your business or your opportunity. It’s a critical market research component. It’s also fast, and you can gain volumes of data and information quickly. But in the days of predictive search results, patent infringement, IP lawsuits and stolen business ideas, be mindful of WHAT you search as Big Brother is always watching..and tracking.

Finally, I just finished watching a segment on Global National in regards to bad passwords. The segment discussed some of the most common passwords used today which can leave you vulnerable to hackers, identity theft and fraud. I’ve been somewhat guilty of this too over the years. I had used relatively weak passwords for quite sometime and only recently changed several of them to obscure assortments of lower case letters, numbers, upper case letters and special characters. They’re so completely random that I have trouble remembering them from time to time and often need to have them reset. What disturbed me by this segment was the concept of “Googling” your password to see if it shows up on a list of passwords or if it’s easily found in search results. Based on everything I’ve mentioned above regarding keyword term indexing – PLEASE, do not ever do this. This is a sure fire way to GET your password(s) indexed and added to a database that could increase the likelihood that your accounts or computer get hacked down the road.

Again, I’m not suggesting that you NOT use Google to research business ideas, market potential, new ideas or new concepts. You absolutely should. It’s an important source of information and presents a wealth of knowledge quickly and efficiently. Just…Please… Practice Safe Googling.

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