Online marketing information can change quickly This article is 10 years and 315 days old, and the facts and opinions contained in it may be out of date.
The web is the great information equalizer
How to become smarter by learning to use the web effectively:
- learn how to search better
- learn how to be an open minded skeptic
- learn how to skim
- learn how to find and validate information
- learn how to categorize and organize information for easier retrieval (tips coming in part III)
I may not really be incredibly intelligent. I think the ability to seek out good information, and use it to my advantage in other areas of life has certainly helped to make me a smarter person in other areas besides just SEO though. It has benefitted me by giving me the ability to find valid information quickly and learn a new skill with a much lower learning curve. Kind of like Trinity learning to fly a helicopter in 20 seconds on the Matrix (except much less cool and extreme of course). If I REALLY wanted to do my own plumbing or cook a souffle (or even spell souffle), I would know very quickly and easily how to find good information on the subject. If I were shopping for a new car, I would know which things to look out for, and be able to find techniques for negotiating with the salesperson. I think the ability to do good research on the web has given us a distinct advantage. Research has always been important, but with the quick, easy access, it is now essential.
So my questions become…would you sacrifice a bit of intelligence if you could improve your ability to harvest and regurgitate information much more efficiently? Does being able to search effectively give us a distinct informational advantage over others? Isn’t an informational advantage about the best kind you can have in any situation besides Ultimate fighting?
There are definitely arguments made all the time that technology makes us dumber. I would imagine this is true in instances. I would without a doubt give up some spelling ability for being able to ease the learning curve of an entirely new trade or skilled craft substantially. It’s true I won’t know rocket science in the near future, but if I REALLY wanted to learn about it as a hobbyist, the entry level information is much more accessible than it used to be. My initial learning curve would be substantially less than it would have been 10 years ago, and most likely also less due to my learned ability to search more effectively for information and validate what is most likely quality information on new topics. Yes, I may be a bit dumber in areas. I know that I don’t have to remember pi to 73 places now because the information is at my disposal of my fingertips at near a moments notice.
I wonder if “better searching” will be taught in school anytime soon. I really think there could be some very good value in this. Not only in searching, but in learning to validate information and try to suss out potential bias in it. We don’t realize how good we have it as SEO’s by understanding what WHOIS and the Wayback Machine are.
Learning the telltale signs of bias and questionable information are increasingly important skills in the age of information overload I think. I find many times that I wish I could explain to a friend or relative (and often do explain) how to search more effectively for something that will be quite valuable for them to find. Perhaps when SEO dies in a year or two (like it is always predicted), we can all become “information tour guides”.
Resources for to give to your non-SEO friends for searching smarter
- Googleguide tutorials
- 13 tips for better searching
- Site search explanation
- Internet research with Google advanced search
- Tutorial movie about advanced search on Google
- Web Searching Tips from SEW
- Google search tips 2005
- Search tips and techniques forums at SEW
- AlexT’s girlfriend’s guide to searching better on Google
- Explain and demonstrate just how creative some folks can be when searching for highly specific information
- Explain control+F
- Encourage them to do additional queries as they learn more about a subject, and want to find highly specific information
- Tips and tricks for searching Google from Graywolf
Intresting related read for anyone who has ever THOUGHT “LOL” when not online: I speak search by Gord Hotchkiss.
If you have favorite search tutorials that you give to friends and family, be sure to let me know so I can add them to the list.
Coming soon –
Part III: Search Information Storage and Retrieval