When you think about it, Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other web crawlers, are the dei ex machinae, or, in the more familiar singular, deus ex machina of the computer age. If you didn’t take Latin, or, like the Romans, it almost killed you, the term means “god from the machine.”
The term is from an old plot device in Greek drama in which the characters are faced with some seemingly impossible situation — on the verge of being eaten by a one-eyed, snake-haired creature, for example — and a god comes to the rescue. The “machina” part was the method used to lower or raise the god to the stage with the aid of machinery — a hoist, crane or rising trap door, for example.
So making the jump from Sophocles to blogging for the spidery Web crawler might seem like the old gag wherein a mathematician inserts the formula “and a miracle occurs” between the problem and its solution. And what’s that about the “spidery web crawler”?
Stay with us here. You’ve already mastered the Latin part, so you can do it. You already know what blogging is, and you probably know what web crawlers do. They are search engines, also known as “spiders,” and they crawl around the web looking for content.
OK, it may sound creepy along the lines of those Matrix movies, but someone has actually figured out how to write computer code that coalesces into a giant program seeking information on the gazillions of web pages.
So here’s the problem: you’re blogging for bucks or a denizen of those gazillions of web pages, who want to attract that crawling behemoth of a search engine. You write an interesting and informative blog and you want the crawler to find it and match it up with an interested reader, buyer, browser or linker.
And here’s the solution: You write for that spidery web crawler, but you write as if that creepy entity does not exist. That’s right, because if you think the search engine is mindless and only pays attention to the thin gruel of keyword stuffing, you’re listening to the false sirens and heading for the rocks of rejection.
That’s because search engines don’t work that way anymore. They actually reward good quality content that focuses on the task at hand — promoting a business product or presenting some valuable and relevant tidbit of information. Of course, the content has to have the words that closely match what the human searcher is looking for.
Do that when you blog, and the web crawler god will rescue your blogging from the white noise of anonymity to success that only the age of information — the machina– can support.