Thursday, February 11, 2010

Star Trek-Themed Search Engine Optimization

For Star Trek enthusiasts desperately seeking on-line exposure and access to interesting Star Trek themed sites, are Star Trek themed search engine optimization techniques the answer?

By: Ringo Bones

Believe it or not, it is still not easy in the digital age for a skilled budding science fiction writer – even those specializing in Star Trek-themed stories – to get the on-line exposure and connections they desperately need in order to gain some form of financial success. Not to mention those who want to set-up a Star Trek-themed on-line memorabilia trading website. But can a Star Trek-themed search engine optimization scheme serve as a solution?

To the uninitiated, search engine optimization - or SEO – is the process of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of traffic to a particular website from search engine search results via natural or unpaid – also known as organic or algorithmic – search results. It is often mistaken for search engine marketing – or SEM – which is a scheme that deals with website inclusions that are often paid by their owner or operator. In actual practice, the earlier or the higher the search rank of a particular website in the search engine result listings, the higher the probability that it will have more visitors it will receive if that particular search engine is used. Search engine optimization may target different kinds of search strategies and methods, including image search (Bing), local search, video search (You Tube) and industry-specific vertical search engines to give a particular website “web-presence”.

The term “search engine friendly” is commonly used to describe website designs, menus, content, management systems, images, videos, shopping carts, and other elements that had been optimized for the purpose of increased probability of search engine exposure. Black hat SEO or spamdexing is a class of SEO techniques that often use methods of questionable legality, such as link farms, keyword stuffing and article spinning. Often found in Friedrich Nietzsche search results when using leading search engines, these SEO “tricks” more often than not tend to degrade both the relevance of the search result and user’s experience (confidence?) of that particular search engine.

Ideally, search engines should be inherently “net-neutral” whenever it is assigned to search a particular subject – i.e. in neither favors or disfavors a particular website and should rank the results according to true algorithmic or organic search ranking criterion. But in the real world, search engines owned by certain search engine providers only practice net neutrality only up to a point. More often than not, search engine providers prioritize search results to websites that have a beneficially lucrative corporate relationship with them. Proving the adage that neutrality – like altruism – is seldom free. And yet some search engine providers do manage to prop-up a semblance of net neutrality by sometimes favoring Bohemian-like specialty websites from time to time.

So what does this leave to your typical Star Trek themed websites that have something more special to say in comparison to the run-of-the-mill sort? Well, if you choose to go via the online world’s equivalent of a word-of-mouth website endorsement – i.e. by checking your online buddy’s roster of Star Trek themed blogs and websites that they are following – then there is little much else to chose from that’s free of charge. Looks like were stuck with the old way of doing things if we want to know which particular literary works by Doris Lessing or Philip K. Dick is ever adapted for a Star Trek episode, we’ll have to ask our not so friendly local eccentric and egocentric grand Trekkie / Trekker. Or even the bluebook pricing of mint-condition late 1960s era Star Trek memorabilia.