In case there wasn’t enough competition for search on the internet, just weeks after Microsoft launched Bing, StumbleUpon launched their own search engine. For those of you that don’t know, StumbleUpon was originally, in the words of StumbleUpon CEO Garrett Camp “a site where you could click a button and discover interesting, personalized and highly relevant websites.” Web surfers would be able to teach the system what they liked by giving a thumbs up or down to all the content that they stumbled upon. After becoming extremely popular, StumbleUpon added an advertising feature where content creators could pay for their content to be included in people’s stumbles. Finally, they have built up enough of a database that they feel they can compete in the search field.
In actuality, they are not competing directly with Bing and Google, rather they claim that they are a cross between Google and Twitter. A place where you can search for relevant real time information and discussions. This is great for the users and anyone who wants to search for popular topics in any category but may not be as great for the content creators. If you have a highly trafficked block with tons of fans you may be ok or even well off but if you have been relying on SEO (search engine optimization) you may have a rude awakening. If nobody is talking about you or your content, you will be nowhere to be found.
I don’t know if this is how the search will continue to work but it does give us a little glimpse into the future. Cheap optimization tricks will not work for long and the only real way to get ahead is to be authentic, interesting and add value. The more value that you provide, the better.
In general, search engines are getting smarter and catching onto the cheap tricks people use to try and get better ranking. Just a few years ago, the most popular trick was to use white writing on a white background with hundreds of unrelated popular keywords to fool the search engine to thinking that your site had something to do with those words. Search engine have come very far since then and they will not stop improving their search algorithms even when they are practically human.
Cheap tricks may get you so far but will never last. True authenticity and great content will.