Digital Minefield

Why The Machines Are Winning

Speed Is An Illusion

The Internet connects everyone and everything, but getting to the thing (or one) you want is sometimes more frustrating than having no access at all. The big roadblock on the Information Superhighway is the failure of search engines to retrieve efficiently.

They may look powerful, returning tens of thousands (or millions) of hits in fractions of a second. So what? That’s not how search speed should be measured. The clock shouldn’t stop until you’ve retrieved your information.

What counts is not how fast you get off the line (0-60), but how long it takes to get to your destination. Search engines give you a gargantuan haystack, but it’s up to you to dig in to find your particular needle. Showing you all these hits very, very quickly is barely the first step of a long journey.

To get where you want to go, you actually have to look at these hits. Often, you sit and wait and wait until a page loads. Search engine speed means nothing when it takes tons of your time to examine just a few pages. And you lose more time on pages that make you wonder what they have to do with your search.

The answer is in three letters: SEO. No matter what you’re searching for or which search engine you use, what you get are never really the best matches. Many hits are there simply because their position was manipulated by Search Engine Optimization.

SEO companies constantly pedal this service. Even Internet Service Providers push SEO. The goose keeps laying golden eggs because every search engine has different criteria and they keep changing them. If you merely want to maintain your place in the hit list, you must keep paying for new optimizations.

It’s legitimate for sellers of product X to want to show up higher in a search for that product. But optimization is being abused by companies selling Y and Z, not to mention a variety of Snake Oils! These irrelevancies only waste your time. They’re detours and potholes on your way to find product X. Encounter enough and you’ll never get there.


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