Is (0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0) no longer true?

I came across Brook Shaaf’s VEO Book Report post here at ReveNews which also had some interesting comments.

It just ignited a Chinese band of fire cracker thoughts that I felt obligated to write down no mater the fact how late it is and that I should rather get some sleep instead.

(Sorry Jim for the lag of Links and the length of the post, no time to dig up all the important posts and news stories that were published about the issues over the last 8-10 months and more.)

I am following what’s going on with Google for quite a bit now. I was also spending some time with other Webmasters and the Search Engines themselves less than 2 weeks ago at SES San Jose.

What VEO Book is selling now are Search Engines selling for years with the difference that the “value” of the item sold increased with the time, because it got closer to the realities of every day online business practice and decisions made for search marketing efforts.

Don’t get me wrong. It seems to be a good book from what I heard about it. I have not read it myself yet. I played with the idea, but I don’t believe that the book can justify the over $0.50 per page price tag for me. It probably does for others, but I spent more time on the subject than most others.

I am sure that it will become more and more true and relevant as time progresses, but it seems provide a message that is a bit too “peachy” for my taste.

I think everybody is on the same page when it comes to the question: who should I have in mind the most when I design a site, the potential User of your Site that you try to target or the Search Engine?

The answer most people probably give, makes common sense when it was given 10-15 years ago as it does today:

The User of course!

If there wouldn’t be a user, you would not build a site in the first place. Without sites and no user looking for sites, search engines would also loose their purpose and cease to exist, making the discussion point less to begin with.

Well, in reality did technical details of the site design and content which tended to be not as user friendly (to say the least), have considerable impact on your search engine ranking.

The more user unfriendly the site became, the lower it converted. A nasty side effect. Now smart guys did the math with their calculators and tried to find out what the best is for the overall bottom line and the rest followed the rule that a conversion of 0.x% of Y number of visitors from a Search Engine is still infinite times more than a 100% conversion of 0 Users from Search Engines.

Fortunately did the engine a fairly good job over the past years to make the results of the equation shift more and more in favor of the quality for the user, making spammy methods that are in conflict with user friendly design and content less effective and some even completely obsolete.

The (0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0) equation is still true, but it is getting harder to find ways to increase Y to a number that makes any attempt to sell something worthwhile your time invested. The things that work also tend to work shorter periods of time than they did in the past.

Search Engines will continue on the path they are on, because it makes sense as I already mentioned earlier in this post.

The only on-page factor I worry about today is the title tag, but it should be anyway, because it makes your site more user friendly is you give things a descriptive title that matches what people are looking for.

It became a fairly new issue in affiliate marketing which is currently looming far to less discussed above our heads. I predict that it will be much more blogged about it in Affiliate Marketing community in the coming months.

When it comes to Search Engines, am I more concerned about Google’s “linking” problems (or Google’s problem with Links to be more exact), than about on-page / on-site SEO factors.

Google’s holy and patented PageRank™ algorithm is in jeopardy and Google knows it.

Google’s attitude is drifting more and more away from the real world opinions about linking by the general web community in an attempt to save their precious algorithm that made Google. to what Google is today.

This increasing drift makes honest webmasters become more often than in the past a victim of the so much feared Google penalties and bans. Sometimes individual pages only, but sometimes even whole Websites. This is a big issue all by itself and I will not go into more detail of that in this post. Keywords: Buying Links, Selling Links, Reciprocal Link Exchanges, Inter-linking your own websites, Affiliate Sites and Affiliate Links, nofollow attribute etc..

In the past were spammers and black hat seo practitioners banned under the pleased eyes of the search engine users and web community.

Google’s “Florida” update in 2003 put tons of spam sites out of business virtually over night and everybody who did stuff on the internet “the right way” and with the user in mind was praising Google and was lulled into a sense of false security enhanced by the charming words of Google PR Team and their overly praised Webmaster Guidelines.

“BigDaddy”, the “hey it’s only an infrastructure update and not an algorithm change” rollout earlier this year was different. A lot of spam disappeared, true, but a lot of legit and valuable content disappeared right along with it.
If you listen to Google it sounds like everything is fixed and peachy again, but the reality proofs otherwise.

Okay “Jagger 1 … x” did their part too. during last years holiday season, but I think jagger did actually hit the spammers primarily.

You might wonder why the Google Sitemaps Tools, excuse me, Google Webmaster Central Portal, saw this tremendous expansion over the last months. A lot of the expansions deal with “spam” (or not spam) and penalized website Issues. In case you didn’t know yet, you have now the means available to contact Google officially about issues with your site.

During fall last year did you have to post in a Webmaster Forum that is being read by Google Employees about the issues with your site and pray that one of the Google employees might picks it up and check with their engineers because they did feel pity for you.

And now, a contact form? Huh? yeah right. I am not kidding you. Some Webmasters that know Google for years from personal experience with it shake their head in disbelieve. Times changed man. It will be all good now. Or doesn’t it?

Well, now they have one and it will be around for a while. It’s not anonymous though, you have to register your site at Google and prove that you are controlling the site (automated validation process). What is next? A toll free Google 800-Support line for Webmaster Issues? … “If you think that your site was penalized by Google, press 1”

After “BigDaddy” should duplicate content and canonical urls be of much bigger concern for you than in the past. “google it” and you will learn find tons of content about it. By the end of the day will even my mom know what the difference between a 301 redirect vs a 302 redirect is.

Duplicate content does not have to be bad for the user, in fact the dupes are often the result of designing for the user and not the search engine in mind, but that is an Evening filling topic all by itself.

It is not the time yet to design Websites only with the user in mind and not worry about the search engines, but it I can at least say, that you should design your site and content primarily for the user but keep a watching eye on what the search engines are doing to avoid doing something good for the users that make search engines turn the back on you.

Update 8/24/2006: Alright, I changed the equation in the Title and the post from “0.X%/Y > 100%/0” to “(0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0)”. Its the best way for everybody, because you nobody has to get his brain “fried” when higher mathematics would be applied to prove the original equation :).

About Carsten Cumbrowski

Internet Marketer, Entrepreneur and Blogger. To learn more about me and what I am doing, visit my website and check out the “about” section.

Twitter: ccumbrowski

8 Responses to Is (0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0) no longer true?

  1. Peter Koning says:

    That was never true and never will be.

    Heh last time I checked my old U.Waterloo math textbooks 0.X%/Y > 100%/0 was false for all x's where y > 0 🙂

    I think you mean 0.X%*Y > 100%*0 – or to explain in laymen's terms "a great converting site with no traffic is lame and will never be as good as a lame converting site with at least some traffic."

    But that just doesn't grab RN readers when you put it in a headline here … making conversions on your book report affiliate link lower 🙂

  2. Hi Peter,

    What I mean with 0.X%/Y > 100%/0 was explained in the post which makes it clear that the "/" is not meant as the mathematical symbol for divide which would make it an invalid formula, because divisions by 0 are mathematically not defined.

    This post is certainly not a "Book Report" and it is as far away from a "Sales Letter" as an "Invoice" to a "Love Letter".

    There is no affiliate Link in this post but I believe you refer to the Search Engine Marketing Books on my Resources site which are mostly affiliate links (if an affiliate program was available) and direct links if not. This is the case with all the resources and services I refer to by the way, because I am an affiliate marketer at the end of the day. You might noticed that most links are not affiliate links because there is no affiliate program. The fact that something is linked to with an affiliate link does not change the quality of a resource by the way. It also does not make the intend of Webmaster to sell somebody. It is a vote for noteworthyness as a non affiliate link is, something Google also has to learn too.

    Anyway, that is not what the post is about, but I wanted to clarify this in case somebody else is also just reading the head line and you comment and not the post itself.

  3. To prevent further mathematical discussion about 0.X%/Y > 100%/0 and the use of division by 0, which is depending on the type of math applied, "not defined" or "infinite" and not what I intended; did I decide to change the title and the content of the post I replaced the original equation with this one: (0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0) and hope that people can now without distraction read and understand the post. Thanks Thor W for the email.

  4. Scott Jangro says:

    did I decide to change the title and the content of the post I replaced the original equation with this one: (0.X% x Y) > (100% x 0) and hope that people can now without distraction read and understand the post.

    AAAHHHH, now I get it! 😉

    ok, I did get it before, but I will say that this engineer got horribly distracted by the division by zero.

    You raise great points Carsten. To me, the fact of the matter is that we have TWO types of users (at least). 1. the human beings who we are ultimately trying to reach with our message and 2. the computers that consume our websites for the purpose of displaying them in any which way they do (search engines, aggregators, directories, scraper sites, etc.)

    Completely ignoring one or the other can work, but it doesn't give you your best odds.

  5. hehe…. hey Scott. Okay okay.. I was tired but the thoughts in my head continued to pop up. I was thinking about a title for the post which is pretty hard. The Book Review from Brook was just the ignition and is not what the post is about.

    Its about webmasters and their goals, search engines and their goals, bs from webmasters, bs from search engines, deceptions and misconception, arguments, facts, fears, predictions, fortune telling, cluelessness and ignorance, profit hunger … and the user in the middle of it having no clue whats going on, because he is a number, a statistical "it" in the game only.

    It shows positive tendencies though and I my last sentence wraps the whole thing up nicely IMO. SES has a bad influence on me. I think too much about search engines at the moment.

    I had some emails back and forth with a writer which I hired to fix up and finalize most of my scraps.

    He doesn't know SEM, SEO and Internet Marketing and all that stuff that makes us sometimes loose sight of the actual purpose of all this.

    There are some nice emails which I either blog or put on my site. Probably blog.

    It was very refreshing to communicate with somebody who actually cares about the content only without thinking about SEO, SEM, Affiliate Marketing and all that stuff.

    It put a lot of things in the right perspective for me again. Everybody should do that from time to time. Well, you will find out 😉

  6. Peter Koning says:

    Thanks for fixing that equation Carsten – I couldn't sleep at night worrying about it 🙂

    Sorry if I hijacked the thread. Back to the good point you are making re designing your site for both users and SE's; I would broaden the user category to also include affiliates and any other third party who affects or is affected by your site's conversion. e.g. merchants need to consider more than just the customers and SE's – they have to be careful to design the site to be affiliate friendly.

  7. Peter,

    Well, I had to do that or publish the possible alternative explanations Thor Whalen provided to me. Thanks again Thor. I decided for the option that was the easiest to understand by everybody 🙂

    Actually I have to thank you, because your post that actually did hurt my feelings made me realize, that I should something in writing to the Editorial Notes at the 4 Main Intro Pages about the affiliate links, because there is nothing to hide.

    I look out for little links like "Affiliates" and sign up for it, if the resource offers one and flip the link, if I can deep link to the same page via affiliate link. You would miss out on possible opportunities, if you don't do that.

    I need to make it clear, the I first decide about the resource, then link to it and then replace it with an affiliate link, if I can. You will might noticed that I have an affiliate link to a site an din other cases a non affiliate link to the same site (deep link). I could link to the homepage, but I don't think its useful and nice to the visitor.

  8. Visitor Enhanced Optimization for Affiliates

    I am a little late to the party here, but I just got around to reading The VEO Report by Colin McDougall, and found it to be very useful.