One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by creating splogs filled with spun content, wrapped shamelessly with AdSense until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty- seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.
There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch, surf the web and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life’s organic searches are made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.
While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second (and clicking thru her favorite ads), take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.
In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name “Mr. James Dillingham Young.”
The “Dillingham” had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week from the strength of his organic reach. Now, when 2010 updates have all been tallied and the income was shrunk to $20, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called “Jim” and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.
Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only earned $1.87 from her direct match domains with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result. Twenty dollars a week doesn’t go far. Google AdWords expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent letting Eric Schmidt tell her what is best in planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling (no doubt, from an affiliate link) –something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.
There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pier-glass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.
Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she opened up her spread sheet of most valuable keywords and let it fall to its full length.
Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim’s exact match domain that had been his father’s and his grandfather’s. The other was Della’s keyword list. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her keyword list be read aloud by local ruffians just to depreciate Her Majesty’s jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have mentioned his exact match domain and niche potential every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.
So now Della’s beautiful keyword list was printed, and stacked in front of her. It reached above her knees. And then she gathered them up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.
On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.
Where she stopped the sign read: “Mne. Sofronie. Keywords of All Kinds.” One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the “Sofronie.”
“Will you buy my keywords?” asked Della.
“I buy keywords,” said Madame. “Take yer spread sheets and let’s have a sight at the looks of ‘em.”
Down rippled the spread sheets’ bounty.
“Twenty dollars,” said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.
“Give it to me quick,” said Della.
Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim’s present.
She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a Content Management System (CMS) simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation–as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Exact Match. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim’s. It was like him. Quietness and value–the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that CMS on his domain Jim might be properly anxious about the opportunity in any niche. Grand as the exact match was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the FrontPage holding page that he used in place of a proper site.
When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her long tail keyphrases and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends–a mammoth task.
Within forty minutes her AdWords account was covered with tiny longtail keyphrases that made it look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy had thrown it together. She looked at her ad copy in the ad groups, carefully, and critically.
“If Jim doesn’t kill me,” she said to herself, “before he takes a second look at these long tail keyphrases, he’ll say I bid like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do–oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?”
At 7 o’clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops.
Jim was never late. Della opened up the user interface on her laptop and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: “Please God, make him think I am still shrewd enough to increase our potential earnings using inexpensive content development.”
The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two–and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.
Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della’s new longtail keyphrases, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.
Della wriggled off the table and went for him.
“Jim, darling,” she cried, “don’t look at me that way. I had my keyword list cannibalized and sold because I couldn’t have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. I’ll grow it out again–you won’t mind, will you? I just had to do it. My keyword research grows awfully fast. Say ‘Merry Christmas!’ Jim, and let’s be happy. You don’t know what a nice– what a beautiful, nice gift I’ve got for you.”
“You’ve purged your keyword lists?” asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.
“Cannibalized and sold them,” said Della. “Don’t you like me just as well, anyhow? I’m me without my keyword research, ain’t I?”
Jim looked about the room curiously.
“You say your keyword list is gone?” he said, with an air almost of idiocy.
“You needn’t look for it,” said Della. “It’s sold, I tell you–sold and gone, too. It’s Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the keywords proved profitable in my niche were numbered,” she went on with sudden serious sweetness, “but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?”
Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year–what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.
Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.
“Don’t make any mistake, Dell,” he said, “about me. I don’t think there’s anything in the way of a manual penalty or a stuffed alt attribute or a spammy title tag that could make me like my girl any less. But if you’ll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first.”
White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.
For there lay The Premium Content–the set of files, side and back, that Della had worshipped long on a Freelancer’s website. Beautiful content, pure link bait, with optimized meta data–just the way to benefit a researched list of keywords. They were expensive content pieces, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the keywords that should have benefitted from the coveted content were gone.
But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: “My keyword research grows so fast, Jim!”
And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, “Oh, oh!”
Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held out her laptop to him eagerly upon her open palm. The CMS’s functionality seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.
“Isn’t it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You’ll have to look at the niche potential a hundred times a day now. Give me your DNS for the exact match. I want to see how it looks on it.”
Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.
“Dell,” said he, “let’s put our Christmas presents away and keep ’em a while. They’re too nice to use just at present. I sold the exact match to get the money to buy your premium content. And now suppose you put the chops on.”
The magi, as you know, were Page and Brin–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving non-Evil Christmas presents. Being wise and willing to sort the cesspool, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their online portfolios. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive profitable SERP positions, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.