Listened to a very interesting piece on Marketplace Friday describing a new term I had not yet heard of: Numerati. If you want to listen to it, find this specific piece here. I'll try to summarize. The commentator was talking about his struggle to promote his blog. Specifically, he was outlining the difficulty of moving his blog up to the top position on Google. Of course, in our industry, we know that to do this without the help of targeted search engine marketing services from a professional firm is difficult. However, listening to this helped me remember just how new this SEO services business is. The commentator was obviously bright and had done his research. So he knew the basics of what he needed to do to get better search engine results. Title tags, keyword research, inbound links, etc (full discussion of SEO tatics). But then his tone took a more cynical slant.
He described what he is calling the numerati. To summarize in my own words, the numerati represent the movement currently underfoot to represent everything in life and commerce in database terms so they can be easily categorized and searched. For sure, this is not a new movement. But with the availability and low cost of technology we are seeing it a much broader scale then ever before. There are great parallels to the current numerati movement and previous trends that helped individuals get ahead by understanding the process by which people are located. He gave a few examples, such as resume building. If you think about it, a resume is a small paper-database of your experiences. Since the hiring manager can't really know your full history, they have to rely on this watered down version for decision making. Thus, organizing your resume and using the right lingo is critical. The commentator on Marketplace was making an analogy between resumes and Google's search engine. He had several other examples. As someone who lives and breaths in the search engine marketing services space, I understood them immediately. He is right.
What was so interesting to me was that at the end of the piece, the commentator pointed out that there would likely be an army of numerati consultants ready to help advise you on how to best position your web site for search engine consumption. "Would likely be?" Again, a reminder to me that the search engine marketing services industry is so brand new that many people don't know it already exists. I was reminded of my conversation with Chad a few weeks ago where we were trying to think of which major consulting firms had the best SEO services practice group. We couldn't really.
The term numerati has negative connotations that I don't agree with. But I understand the overall point. The modern world offers so many choices, that having databases is a must. When buying a house, you search the multiple listing service. When shopping for a flight, you search databases that cross airlines. And when you are looking for information, you search Google. This is the reality of modern life. Call it numerati, or call it convenience, to gain access to such volumes of information, databases are required. To search gracefully, characteristics, variables and factors have to be developed that allow distinct entities to be compared on relatively common scales. Yes, you ultimately lose real uniqueness as you make this transformation. That's the bad news. But on the good side, there already is an entire search engine marketing services industry, complete with cutting edge SEO technology, that can help you shape how your web site or business is represented in those databases.
I guess in the end, I understand the commentator's cynicism. It's fun to beat up on Google and all that it represents. But I bet even that commentator would have a hard time going a day without running a single search. So I reach a very different conclusion from this entire numerati discussion. If you see this trend is the new reality you can either A) Bemoan it, complain and wish for the old days, or B) Use it to the advantage of your business and make sure you are well positioned in the databases of the future (the search engines). If you don't know how to do this yourself, seek search engine marketing services from professional firms. Your decision.