Shell Games

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You may not be familiar with the ‘Shell’ game, but you are probably familiar with the concept. Basically, a shell game is three shells or three cups that you can put a pea or ball under, it can also be played just as well with three cards (two of one colour and one of another).

Generally it’s portrayed as a gambling game of chance. But in reality, particularly when a wager for money is at stake, it is almost always what’s called a short con. That is, a confidence trick that’s quick and easy to pull off.

It’s one of those simple games of chance that rely on misdirection and observation; most of us tend to think we are pretty observant of what’s going on around us but that is not always the case. Expand on the games principals and upscale them to national media or politics and you can find many examples of the same technique being used to keep your focus on one thing whilst something is happening elsewhere. It happens on the internet and in SEO as well! SEO is a continually evolving technology -the algorithms used to place websites, products and advertising are changing like the waves of the sea. Just as we might get used to setting up our pages and campaigns in one way to ensure us a good search ranking, the algorithms change. This is in some ways to keep ahead of malicious sites that are continually redeveloped to manipulate the results of the search engines automatic algorithms. They want to spam users with content that they are not interested in, rather than post valid content that is of interest. This is the game we (the legitimate online marketers) play with the spammers. We just need to learn to find the right shell, and it’s all about being observant and keeping abreast of what is going on in our situation.

This week, make sure that your content is worthy of that search engine placement from the view of the consumer, because cheating your way to the top is doable, buyable… and yet short-lived.