Search and SEO: What's Happening

Rob Veliz, Product Planner - Search

Is Your Content "O.K."?

Is Your Content "O.K."?

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By publishing your content to the internet, you are by default releasing your content to the world.  The fact that content on the Web can be read worldwide in a matter of nanoseconds is one of the most amazing phenomena to come out of our lifetimes (I think).  But the challenge well beyond your writer's block is that you are writing a letter that begins "Dear world..." and sending it to over 6 billion people

Okay, not all of those people are fortunate enough to go online--and maybe that's not such a bad thing (Note to self: find out where all my time went) but of those online readers, how many are you going to reach based on the context and quality of your content?  Perhaps there's some value in region-biased search engines (my Live.com search is set to French and thus, will prefer results in French if I choose to do so).  And your content may be best-suited for a specific region.  But with search engines offering more integration with machine translated pages, how does your content hold up on the other side of the world?  If you've got good content, chances are that not-so-little unknown audience is out there looking for your content--and if you haven't made your content "O.K." you could be losing out on a large piece of the pie...

So what is O.K.?  By making your content "O.K." I don't mean to speak to mediocrity.  The phrase "O.K." or "okay" is virtually universal.  It is commonly understood in most languages (sometimes with a slightly different pronunciation).  The idea is simple: Make your content universal without making it boring.  Fortunately, most "good content" is interesting enough based on the audience's perception of that topic.  If I'm looking for information about how fruit ferments and the article I found is clear and concise and addresses my initial inquiry, I will naturally consider that piece of content to be good content.  That same piece of content transcends this "good" state to become O.K. when it yields a universal contextual relation between each component of the sentence.  (That was a mouthful.)  Perhaps some printable Binaca will help explain...

Here is not so good:
The server is a jack of all trades, running multiple virtual processes, as follows:

Here is pretty good:
The server is a jack of all trades.  It can run multiple processes in the following virtual environments:

Here is good and O.K.:
The server's capabilities are robust.  It can run multiple processes in the virtual environments listed below:

What makes the content "good" in the second example is that the sentence structure clarifies the context of "running" better for machine translation by clarifying that "the server" should be associated with "running."  The first sentence fails to do this and a machine translation could potentially associate "jack" with "running" (which may or may not be followed by "to fetch a pail of water").  What makes the content good and O.K. in the third example is that the sentence further clarifies the meaning of "jack of all trades" for the reader.  The last example is universally contextually relevant and, despite the edits, makes me want to read further.

Try doing some spring cleaning on a few top level pages and monitor the search results in relation to your site traffic...especially international site traffic (if you can get that data).  I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. 

Comments
  • Great blog with lots of good advice. The world is pretty inter-connected these days, and there's no way to tell where your next reader will come from. More people who publish online should think about being good global citizens!

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