Four Key Prism SEO and Content Strategies

STORY BY David Vyorst

Published: July 2, 2013

Author's note: This is not completely true.


Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has come a long way in the last 15 years, but all of our assumptions about how the Internet is indexed for search were turned on their heads by recent revelations. Here are some strategies to help you stay on top of this brave new world.

In the old days there were about 8 major search engines, most people used Web Position Gold and optimized a site's coding for Alta Vista!  (does anyone remember Alta Vista?!) Eventually there was only one real search engine (sorry Microsoft).

As the One flexed its algorithmic muscles, everybody scrambled to keep up with their ranking changes which were leaked cyptically by the chief oracle, Matt Cutts. If you wanted to optimize your Google Ranking, get links, lots of links. Soon you had to 86 the meta keyword tags. After that robo-farmed links began drowning out the real stuff, so the task became getting real links, not spammy ones. Good, real ones like social media links. If links were too spammy they would be devoured by Panda and then Penguin attacks.  The basic gist was to keep creating useful interesting content with lots of strategic keywords. And for God sakes, keep it human!

That paradigm held until June 7th, when the online marketing world learned of another even bigger search engine that is indexing the entire Internet, including Google itself.


This is what prism SEO’s will have to consider now.

As the above schematics illustrate, these new complex query algorithms make figuring out Google’s Author Rank seem like reading billboards.  Online marketers need to seriously consider what these changes mean to their strategies.  So after extensive research, we've put together 4 strategies to help you navigate the fuzzy world of SEO and content optimization in light of Prism.

1)     Targeting – choose the right clients.

Targeting is always a challenge, just ask Keith Alexander. If you are a social media marketer, most of your clients will not be affected by Prism because it won’t really impact consumer or b2b brands. However brands in a few key areas will need to change their strategies in light of what we now know about how the web works.

If you work with data security or government contracting clients, they need to be rise up above the clutter. Getting noticed could mean getting or keeping lucrative contracts. Just ask Booz Allen Hamilton. With $5.7 billion in annual revenue on the line, you can bet they’ll be working on optimizing how their content ranks in Prism searches. Or if you are working with a progressive organization or even more so an online activist group, you need to gain that notoriety and exposure that only attention from big brother can give you. But how to break through from noise to become the signal?

2)     Metadata counts again.

The filter challenge is quite substantial. Keep in mind that the NSA can't even find Edward Snowden and didn't register the Boston Marathon bombers buying materials for homemade explosives. How do you expect your blog post about butterflies and social media to get noticed?

In 2009, Matt Cutts told us to forget about metatags. Hold that thought because this month Eric Snowden told us to keep an eye on our metadata. This has direct implications towards your Prism SEO strategy:

The processing centres apply a series of sophisticated computer programmes in order to filter the material through what is known as MVR – massive volume reduction. The first filter immediately rejects high-volume, low-value traffic, such as peer-to-peer downloads, which reduces the volume by about 30%. Others pull out packets of information relating to "selectors" – search terms including subjects, phone numbers and email addresses of interest. Some 40,000 of these were chosen by GCHQ and 31,000 by the NSA. Most of the information extracted is "content", such as recordings of phone calls or the substance of email messages. The rest is metadata.

3) Selectors and metadata, where the rubber hits the road.

Here are some metadata tactics suggested by both Wikileaks and the Al Jazeera social media team:

  • Make thousands of calls and send as many emails as you can to Yemen - remember, this is not Google, so robo-calls can only increase your ranking;
  • Like and comment on Wahabbi Facebook Pages;  
  • Do Google searches for fertilizer compounds;
  • Disseminate over mulitple channels - use Skype, SkyDrive and Google Docs often!
  • Don't waste your time on Twitter.
  • **Try these suggested Prism keywords. (See below)

4) Keep creating interesting and useful content.

As with any social media advice, the bottom line is to keep creating good content. Sharing personal information is still essential to humanize your brand – so tell your clients to get over the privacy concerns. However since most of the personal, human content shared by social gurus is milquetoast at best, (Google's advertisers may care that Chris Brogan doesn't think you should buy hotel water, but the NSA doesn't) you are going to really have to come up with interesting content.

Since Prism represents the largest indexing of Internet content to date, how should content marketers factor this in to their content strategies? You're not going to be able to keep writing the same blog post about writing good content over and over again. But you are going to be able to write about social media tactics for Wahhabi organizations until the drones come home. The trick is to use the same kinds of content that you use in your metadata strategy, but bring it alive and keep it fresh and current.

  • Blog about your robo-calls to Yemen;
  • Tweet  your searches for fertilizer compounds, you will connect with other good targets, and this will help your ranking;
  • Go to Yemen and post the images on Foursquare, Instagram, and Facebook;
  • Don’t just post Wahabbi content – engage Wahabbis consistently over time on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn;

Be thorough and disseminate over the right networks. Don’t worry if you don’t see pizza vans with satellite links right away – remember, social media is not a sprint, it’s a marathon.  And remember not to spend too much time on Twitter.


**Suggested Prism Keywords: Waihopai, INFOSEC, Information Security, Information Warfare, IW, IS, Priavacy, Information Terrorism, Terrorism Defensive Information, Defense Information Warfare, Offensive Information, Offensive Information Warfare, National Information Infrastructure, InfoSec, Reno, Compsec, Computer Terrorism, Firewalls, Secure Internet Connections, ISS, Passwords, DefCon V, Hackers, Encryption, Espionage, USDOJ, NSA, CIA, S/Key, SSL, FBI, Secert Service, USSS, Defcon, Military, White House, Undercover, NCCS, Mayfly, PGP, PEM, RSA, Perl-RSA, MSNBC, bet, AOL, AOL TOS, CIS, CBOT, AIMSX, STARLAN, 3B2, BITNET, COSMOS, DATTA, E911, FCIC, HTCIA, IACIS, UT/RUS, JANET, JICC, ReMOB, LEETAC, UTU, VNET, BRLO, BZ, CANSLO, CBNRC, CIDA, JAVA, Active X, Compsec 97, LLC, DERA, Mavricks, Meta-hackers, ?, Steve Case, Tools, Telex, Military Intelligence, Scully, Flame, Infowar, Bubba, Freeh, Archives, Sundevil, jack, Investigation, ISACA, NCSA, spook words, Verisign, Secure, ASIO, Lebed, ICE, NRO, Lexis-Nexis, NSCT, SCIF, FLiR, Lacrosse, Flashbangs, HRT, DIA, USCOI, CID, BOP, FINCEN, FLETC, NIJ, ACC, AFSPC, BMDO, NAVWAN, NRL, RL, NAVWCWPNS, NSWC, USAFA, AHPCRC, ARPA, LABLINK, USACIL, USCG, NRC, ~, CDC, DOE, FMS, HPCC, NTIS, SEL, USCODE, CISE, SIRC, CIM, ISN, DJC, SGC, UNCPCJ, CFC, DREO, CDA, DRA, SHAPE, SACLANT, BECCA, DCJFTF, HALO, HAHO, FKS, 868, GCHQ, DITSA, SORT, AMEMB, NSG, HIC, EDI, SAS, SBS, UDT, GOE, DOE, GEO, Masuda, Forte, AT, GIGN, Exon Shell, CQB, CONUS, CTU, RCMP, GRU, SASR, GSG-9, 22nd SAS, GEOS, EADA, BBE, STEP, Echelon, Dictionary, MD2, MD4, MDA, MYK, 747,777, 767, MI5, 737, MI6, 757, Kh-11, Shayet-13, SADMS, Spetznaz, Recce, 707, CIO, NOCS, Halcon, Duress, RAID, Psyops, grom, D-11, SERT, VIP, ARC, S.E.T. Team, MP5k, DREC, DEVGRP, DF, DSD, FDM, GRU, LRTS, SIGDEV, NACSI, PSAC, PTT, RFI, SIGDASYS, TDM. SUKLO, SUSLO, TELINT, TEXTA. ELF, LF, MF, VHF, UHF, SHF, SASP, WANK, Colonel, domestic disruption, smuggle, 15kg, nitrate, Pretoria, M-14, enigma, Bletchley Park, Clandestine, nkvd, argus, afsatcom, CQB, NVD, Counter Terrorism Security, Rapid Reaction, Corporate Security, Police, sniper, PPS, ASIS, ASLET, TSCM, Security Consulting, High Security, Security Evaluation, Electronic Surveillance, MI-17, Counterterrorism, spies, eavesdropping, debugging, interception, COCOT, rhost, rhosts, SETA, Amherst, Broadside, Capricorn, Gamma, Gorizont, Guppy, Ionosphere, Mole, Keyhole, Kilderkin, Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy, Egret, Iris, Hollyhock, Jasmine, Juile, Vinnell, B.D.M.,Sphinx, Stephanie, Reflection, Spoke, Talent, Trump, FX, FXR, IMF, POCSAG, Covert Video, Intiso, r00t, lock picking, Beyond Hope, csystems, passwd, 2600 Magazine, Competitor, EO, Chan, Alouette,executive, Event Security, Mace, Cap-Stun, stakeout, ninja, ASIS, ISA, EOD, Oscor, Merlin, NTT, SL-1, Rolm, TIE, Tie-fighter, PBX, SLI, NTT, MSCJ, MIT, 69, RIT, Time, MSEE, Cable & Wireless, CSE, Embassy, ETA, Porno, Fax, finks, Fax encryption, white noise, pink noise, CRA, M.P.R.I., top secret, Mossberg, 50BMG, Macintosh Security, Macintosh Internet Security, Macintosh Firewalls, Unix Security, VIP Protection, SIG, sweep, Medco, TRD, TDR, sweeping, TELINT, Audiotel, Harvard, 1080H, SWS, Asset, Satellite imagery, force, Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, TRW, remailers, replay, redheads, RX-7, explicit, FLAME, Pornstars, AVN, Playboy, Anonymous, Sex, chaining, codes, Nuclear, 20, subversives, SLIP, toad, fish, data havens, unix, c, a, b, d, the, Elvis, quiche, DES, 1*, NATIA, NATOA, sneakers, counterintelligence, industrial espionage, PI, TSCI, industrial intelligence, H.N.P., Juiliett Class Submarine, Locks, loch, Ingram Mac-10, sigvoice, ssa, E.O.D., SEMTEX, penrep, racal, OTP, OSS, Blowpipe, CCS, GSA, Kilo Class, squib, primacord, RSP, Becker, Nerd, fangs, Austin, Comirex, GPMG, Speakeasy, humint, GEODSS, SORO, M5, ANC, zone, SBI, DSS, S.A.I.C., Minox, Keyhole, SAR, Rand Corporation, Wackenhutt, EO, Wackendude, mol, Hillal, GGL, CTU, botux, Virii, CCC, Blacklisted 411, Internet Underground, XS4ALL, Retinal Fetish, Fetish, Yobie, CTP, CATO, Phon-e, Chicago Posse, l0ck, spook keywords, PLA, TDYC, W3, CUD, CdC, Weekly World News, Zen, World Domination, Dead, GRU, M72750, Salsa, 7, Blowfish, Gorelick, Glock, Ft. Meade, press-release, Indigo, wire transfer, e-cash, Bubba the Love Sponge, Digicash, zip, SWAT, Ortega, PPP, crypto-anarchy, AT&T, SGI, SUN, MCI, Blacknet, Middleman, KLM, Blackbird, plutonium, Texas, jihad, SDI, Uzi, Fort Meade, supercomputer, bullion, 3, Blackmednet, Propaganda, ABC, Satellite phones, Planet-1, cryptanalysis, nuclear, FBI, Panama, fissionable, Sears Tower, NORAD, Delta Force, SEAL, virtual, Dolch, secure shell, screws, Black-Ops, Area51, SABC, basement, data-haven, black-bag, TEMPSET, Goodwin, rebels, ID, MD5, IDEA, garbage, market, beef, Stego, unclassified, utopia, orthodox, Alica, SHA, Global, gorilla, Bob, Pseudonyms, MITM, Gray Data, VLSI, mega, Leitrim, Yakima, Sugar Grove, Cowboy, Gist, 8182, Gatt, Platform, 1911, Geraldton, UKUSA, veggie, 3848, Morwenstow, Consul, Oratory, Pine Gap, Menwith, Mantis, DSD, BVD, 1984, Flintlock, cybercash, government, hate, speedbump, illuminati, president, freedom, cocaine, $, Roswell, ESN, COS, E.T., credit card, b9, fraud, assasinate, virus, anarchy, rogue, mailbomb, 888, Chelsea, 1997, Whitewater, MOD, York, plutonium, William Gates, clone, BATF, SGDN, Nike, Atlas, Delta, TWA, Kiwi, PGP 2.6.2., PGP 5.0i, PGP 5.1, siliconpimp, Lynch, 414, Face, Pixar, IRIDF, eternity server, Skytel, Yukon, Templeton, LUK, Cohiba, Soros, Standford, niche, 51, H&K, USP, , sardine, bank, EUB, USP, PCS, NRO, Red Cell, Glock 26, snuffle, Patel, package, ISI, INR, INS, IRS, GRU, RUOP, GSS, NSP, SRI, Ronco, Armani, BOSS, Chobetsu, FBIS, BND, SISDE, FSB, BfV, IB, froglegs, JITEM, SADF, advise, TUSA, HoHoCon, SISMI, FIS, MSW, Spyderco, UOP, SSCI, NIMA, MOIS, SVR, SIN, advisors, SAP, OAU, PFS, Aladdin, chameleon man, Hutsul, CESID, Bess, rail gun, Peering, 17, 312, NB, CBM, CTP, Sardine, SBIRS, SGDN, ADIU, DEADBEEF, IDP, IDF, Halibut, SONANGOL, Flu, &, Loin, PGP 5.53, EG&G, AIEWS, AMW, WORM, MP5K-SD, 1071, WINGS, cdi, DynCorp, UXO, Ti, THAAD, package, chosen, PRIME, SURVIAC, Hello to all my friends and fans in domestic surveillance"

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