Why Search is Not Smart

Let's start with a cliché, an update on a supposedly old chinese proverb (1): What You Value Shows.

If you're in finance, then co-opting the faddish alure of algorithms (2) or preying on people's fear of retiring (3) can be a successful marketing strategies. in both these instances clearly the companies value sales, not helping individual people achieve their investment goals.

In the Sunday, April 19 version of the New York Times, Margaret Sullivan, the Public Editor, discusses how they are transitioning to using keywords in headlines because their current "lyrical — or even just elegantly spare"(4) qualities are not ranking high enough in search results. She also presents a series of platform-specific headlines for the same article.

While Ms. Sullivan, and by extension the New York Times, values information and inspiring thought, search values selling — especially collecting data about you to sell. That's why search does not have to learn how to decipher a linguistically beautiful headline, because it doesn't value your question, it's purpose is to inspire you to purchase things or search for things so it can track you and trace your desires. 

This is an illustration that how you present your company, from your strategy to your marketing materials to the language you choose, reveals what it's like to do business with you & what you value.

Maybe it's time to take stock and see if your business design is aligned with who you are now and where you want to go?


1) The proverb is "The soul has no secrets that conduct does not reveal"

2) Charles Schwab is (our second cliche) 'Changing Investing Forever.' The Fort Conkrite tunnel in murky blue hues means that 50s sci-fi remains the visual trope of forever-type changes

3) Fisher Investments scare tactics to alert you to the dangers of annuities

4) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/19/public-editor/hey-google-check-out-this-column-on-headlines.html