#11 Cooked Turkey and Its Lovely Jpeg

I’m counting down to Thanksgiving with a series of posts recounting things I am thankful for having received or experienced or participated in.

Cooked turkey-jpg. I have thought about it probably a 100 times, which is 99 more than I had initially planned. It was going to be a throwaway photo* for a piece on the TSA’s search policy change that occurred just before Thanksgiving 2010. Little did I know cooked turkey-jpg was destined for more.

Before the piece had been published a few days, it shot up to number one in the Google rankings for images with the search string ‘cooked turkey.’ When this happened, my initial response was to howl with laughter at the possible message to my anonymous blogging and wait for the one-day wonder to pass. I figured it had a lot to do with the popularity of the TSA discussion and my publishing on Thanksgiving, but surely the image would not remain so high over time.

Fast forward a year, and the capitalism piece surged again, and cooked turkey-jpg led the way, and when I looked on Google, it was still ranked number one. Once again I found myself laughing about the absurdity of this particular site having a page ranked so high due to ‘cooked turkey,’ and I had to write about the phenomenon. As I wrote, ever in my mind was the knowledge I had lifted the prohibition on the search engines indexing the site not long before the piece had been published, but then put it back in place not long after. It had me wondering if all I had heard about WordPress being an SEO (search engine optimization) monster was true as it’s no mean feat to have a page with a number one ranking on common search terms. Somehow I had achieved that holy grail but still wasn’t sure how. I did wonder if Google thought I was a food site. And I wrote about that as well.

By the beginning of 2012, I really was curious as to the intricacies of SEO. Oh, some of it I knew. I read a lot of technical publications and sites and have for years. It’s hard not to pick up some of that knowledge, but I really wanted to know the fine points, so I started doing my homework and also playing around under the covers on a self-hosted site as well some other WordPress.com sites. Unreal! Seriously, WordPress is fantastic for its SEO abilities, and yes, that’s including the major changes which Google made in 2012. No, I’m not getting into all of that. Suffice to say that I have come to the conclusion that WordPress is indeed powerful with respect to SEO if it’s leveraged correctly.

Now for the part that makes me so very thankful. With the knowledge I’ve gained, I have been able to use it to consult with businesses. I provide other services as well, but it’s wonderful to be able to speak to SEO in a knowledgeable fashion. I’m not sure I would have done as much research if not for cooked turkey-jpg. And I am not saying I’m the most knowledgeable about this subject. Ohmygosh, no way would I say that, but I have learned enough to help some businesses and to know there is a lot of bogus information out on the web and some charlatans as well. Some of them look legitimate. I hate that. I really do. It’s painful to run across someone in business who has been gulled by that, and especially when they’re paying for something that not only doesn’t work to improve SEO but can hurt it.

The other thing I’m so immensely thankful for is having a business that helps others succeed. I really do enjoy that. Maybe it’s the frustrated teacher in me, but I have enjoyed doing that since I started in tech over 30 years ago. I also love puzzles, and now I get to do both all the time and a lot of times while I’m in my pajamas.

note: I’m putting the Richard Armitage tag on this because he’s in part responsible, and if cooked turkey-jpg hits bottom on rank after this, I don’t care. It’s served its purpose.

*the cooked turkey photo is a public domain photo and not even a good one; yeah, it’s lousy. :D

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