Thursday, April 01, 2010

Detailed Analysis of Why and How, You and I Are Making Money Online

The United States is just recovering from an economic slowdown. This March, over 23,000 Americans lost their jobs in the private sector. The gridlock in the United States financial system is just slowly easing out as the stimulus money put forward by Pres. Barack Obama's administration finds its way to businesses and borrowers.

With this information, one may ponder at the thought of why the Americans are increasingly outsourcing a lot of technology related jobs in the global marketplace.

In short, why do they want us (people in other countries) to make money online when their citizens could benefit from these jobs?

The answer may not be as simple.

It is tempting to point out that most of the jobs being outsourced are repetitive, back end, support jobs. However, it is also worth noting that an increasing number of outsourced jobs are also becoming technical in nature, like software and application development.

Could this mean that there is a lack of software developers in the United States? Far from it. Historically, innovation from technology companies have mostly originated in the United States. In fact most of the world's foremost tech companies are headquartered on American soil. These are Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Apple.

The United States was, and still is the leader when it comes to technological innovation.

They produce the technology, the rest of the world (you and me) advertise, sell and consume it.

It makes sense if you consider these observations:

  1. Manufacturing of technical hardware is done offshore in locations where there is cheap labor. A bulk of this is done in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and some of it in the Philippines.
  2. Business Process Outsourcing is primarily offshored in India and the Philippines. India for its technical expertise and the Philippines for its fluency in English.
We advertise their products, we sell them and we consume them.

Web development and design, is the commercial link between the processes of 1. research, development, manufacturing, and 2. advertising and sales. 

A hefty bulk of the jobs being outsourced are primarily focused on advertising and support. Let me explain further:

The majority of programming languages utilized and in demand as outsourced skills are primarily focused towards web development. Whether it's php, html, java, etc, these programming languages are used to make websites, to add value to websites or to add value to gadgets (such as iphone applications). 

Correct me if I am wrong, there are no local companies in my country (Philippines) which can produce on its own, an electronic gadget of any kind that can be marketed to the United States.

Technical skills in the form of SEO and article writing belong to the sub realm under advertising. However, some do practice it for non commercial purposes. 

It is in advertising where the freelance writer and the search engine optimization experts come in. Affiliate Marketing and article marketing are two distant cousins. In an increasingly sensitive search engine, previously held tactics in SEO such as link farming, link spamming, etc., are increasingly being edged out.

"Content is King" 

It's a mantra that Google wants everybody to espouse. In an era where what the search engine says goes, advertisers and marketers have no choice but to obey. Hence, they've had to come up with innovations that would skirt the guidelines that Google set forth. 

For a website to attain a high search ranking, it must be relevant. If it is relevant, traffic will come in. If there is traffic, that traffic can be monetized. If that traffic can be monetized, there is an opportunity to gain from it. 

To achieve relevance, a website must have content that is relevant. Influential websites must link to that website as the 'source' of the 'thing'. The articles (the content) on the website must be specifically about the 'thing'. And the information in the content on the website must add value to the 'thing'. 

There are websites about certain products or 'things' that are irrelevant to what we are searching for on Google. 

A good example is, when you search for a certain term about a 'thing' in Google and you are brought to a website with practically no information related to the 'thing'. You may be frustrated to find that the website only contains the words that you typed in Google and not any information, product or value about the 'thing'. 

This is the scenario that Google is trying to circumvent. It is trying to structure the search engine's algorithms to match those of human thought as expressed through semantics and language.

Thus, a person who is searching for 'chocolate' on Google, should be presented with a choice of websites or images that a person who is searching for 'chocolate'  may want. It may be a website about the origins of chocolate, it may be a website that sells chocolate, it may be a website with pictures of chocolate, it may be a website about the song entitled chocolate, etc. 

The search engine then tries to redact this and make a decision on which website is relevant to the other, and then present the information in a structured manner. For now, the ranking is sufficient for most people's needs. 

Addressing these needs involves a balance between how Google 'decides' on what is relevant and how people 'decide' on what is relevant. 

SEO tries to force the issue by beating  the system through the reverse engineering of the process of search.

Once it has been discovered that Google places significance on the number of links that go to a particular website, SEO then tries to create many links to go to the targeted website. 

Once it has been discovered that Google places significance on the name behind the website, SEO then tries to create a relevant name for a website. 

Most of the time, people search for information regarding a 'thing'. Here is where SEO and Article Marketing tries to force its way ahead of the crowd. 

By making the 'thing' the object of the inquiry, efforts would then be undertaken to make the 'thing' more relevant in the eyes of Google even though it's possible that the relevance of the thing is superficial and manufactured in nature. 

Rehashed information in the form of web articles spun a hundred times is then spread through a distribution network with the intention of making the 'thing's' website relevant to the inquiry. It's the same article, summarized and articulated in a hundred different ways in a hundred different websites all of which point to the 'source' and most often than not, a commercial website. 

Right now, the only method for distributing a massive amount of content about the 'same' thing is through hiring writers. That is where we come in. 

Freelance writers and SEO experts make money online by creating relevance in the eye of both the user and the search engine. 

Simplified, the process involves social engineering mixed with a little reverse engineering of the search algorithm.

To some it has become a contest to make some 'thing' more relevant than the other 'things'. To others, the process has become a way to make money online. 

Admittedly, I belong to the latter segment of the process. But service rendered is service paid. I conduct my writing with the purpose and intention of 1. making money online and 2. rendering service in the form of writing relevant content (which isn't so bad after all). 

As I gain experience in learning how to make money online. I am presented with the notion that this is temporary. Almost all business transactions are temporary in nature. Sooner or later, Google will come up with a better search algorithm and no amount of writing will divert a person from finding that 'thing' he is searching for. Hopefully by that time, I would have found other ways to make money online.

The radio staggers against the backspace!