SEO or Search engine optimisation might be dying, but its still being practised and how people do it is interesting! It’s a highly creative field with many means to the end. Personally, I find the ethical road to the top of the search bar to be uninteresting in terms of creativity on the optimisers behalf. It requires sincerity and hard work.
The incorrect/unethical way which tends to lead to bad results is much more interesting, here is a few ways “black hat” SEO’s operate.
This is an extremely technical process where a site with high SE visibility/credibility is hijacked and a page is placed advertising X is placed on on the website. So when you search for product X it will be at the top of the results based off how the search algorithm prioritises results. The main target for these schemes are .edu pages. Here is an example of http://www.bakeraviation.edu, a completely legit aviation school in the US being hijacked by a Viagra ad. As you can see google is already onto this as they have below the search result for the school “this site may be hacked”.
You generate a lot of links to your page and spread them across the internet. This can be done through various means: Spam bots or people power for example. Now there are two applications of this technique which is what makes it a bit more interesting. The obvious one is you use it to boost your page to the top of a SE. The less obvious more devious method is where you purposefully do it to a competitor. Known as Google bowling, you use the a SE policy against Google bombing so that the competitor is seen to be using these tactics and is punished by Google by being pushed lower into search results.
This is where the page displayed on the SE will be unrelated to the page. This is done through IT wizardry and I, a simple man, was unable to figure out how exactly it’s done.
These are some of the interesting ways that people get creative with SE algorithms. Google is quiet large and works very hard to deliver quality content so the ability for people to do this gets more and more difficult, or you could say more and more technical.
Marketing has been about communication, two ways between consumer and business. Almost always this has been handled by humans, however with the advent of the internet of thing and big data this has changed. People are no longer necessary to foster this communication between consumer to business, software and machines are now able to gather consumers data without the consumer being aware of this. The fact that the consumer is unaware of this eliminates extraneous variables to do with traditional methods of market research. An example of this at play is the creation of the TV show House of Cards. Netflix utilised big data to generate certain design elements that would be successful in creating a great TV show.
The implications of this are immense for the marketing research field. Traditional forms of data collection are usually quite expensive and time consuming. Big data offers a cheaper, faster and possibly more true insight into wants and needs. Right now you might need people to analyse the data but it’s not much of a stretch to think that a program will be developed to make these insights user friendly to parties interested in the end product.
So what will happen to the jobs that are made redundant by this and on a greater scale is efficiency conducive to the idea that everyone has the right to work?
Big data has transformed or is transforming the way many things are practised. For example insurance companies now can use you posts you make on facebook to reject claims, banks now have algorithms that analyse who you’re friends with on facebookand then predicts how likely you are to repay loans based on who you associate with and Amazon can tailor the prices it offers you based on you customer data.
What the internet of things means for all of this is a much deeper analysis of individuals can be formed. What one does with this portrait is only limited by the imagination. Based off the amazon example of price discrimination would it be much of a stretch to say that with the portrait of an individual can prices be tailored to incentivise/disincentivse certain purchases based on data gathered on that persons. The ethics behind this are contentious, if left to the hands of an algorithm would it it positively influence a persons life?
Factors that would decide this would be the sophistication of the algorithm and the intent behind its creation. An algorithm designed to offer you cheap beers might be bad for obvious reasons but it has potential to be good in that it might be able to regulate consumption, or might be able to foster relationships (an algorithm that measure who else is looking for drinks and if you’re friends with them). An algorithm that incentivises healthy eating would be good for obvious reasons but if combined with other aspects such as health insurance, is there autonomy behind the decision or is it controlled by monetary factors?
It’s truly a brave new world we are entering into and deep examinations of the ethics and future implications of big data, wearable and the internet of things is extremely necessary.