The dirty little open secret of the Internet is optimized content. Everyone has heard about it, a few people have paid for it, but no one really knows what it is. Even fewer people may have heard rumors of a Hummingbird or a Penguin having something to do with demanding a balance between the optimization and the readability of online content, and then some customer called in with a problem before anyone could ask why anthropomorphized animals apparently deserving of proper name status would play any role at all in online marketing.
The few who take their curiosity through to an understanding of how content online is filtered through the major search engines and distributed through social media open themselves up into a world of possibilities: lower ad costs, better customer engagement, and actually beginning to realize the Internet version of the American Dream that talks about some kind of globalization and freedom of commerce before demanding some more AdWords campaign money.
Yes, content on the Internet is now growing up, and commerce on the Internet is substantial and saturated enough that business owners who are looking for an advantage owe themselves a few Starbucks sit-downs with IT and marketing [read: have a latte with Fred] that are solely about optimizing content around a theme in a humanized fashion. Properly optimized, humanized content legitimately saves money and increases revenues; there is no more debate about its purpose, viability, or its impact.
How do you balance optimization and humanization?
Google and the other major search engines, namely Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex, together control around 90 percent of what people see on the Internet. Small businesses get found by new customers through search engines these days, not through business cards or direct contact. Because the search engines are so good at capturing the Internet’s content, it is not improper to say that all relevant online content is filtered through them. This means that Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Yandex set the terms as to what is proper and improper syntax, context, and meaning on the Internet. In short, the search engines determine what is optimized and what is humanized online.
With 80 percent of the search market, all roads really run through Google. Any technique that Google implements to filter the content that comes through it will eventually cause an impact on the other search engines. With this in mind, we are focusing our attention on their initiatives as relates to content, optimization, and humanization.
Those anthropomorphized animals with the proper name status mentioned above stand as the Google guardians against the proliferation of the low class nontent (you heard it here first) that drowned the Internet in spam until around 2010.
- The Penguin took a break from stalking Batman to serve Google as its main deterrent against improperly building links to a site, a practice that formerly allowed the linked site to rise in search engine rankings. Before Google Penguin, a webmaster could create a site called BusinessMeNow as well as 10,000 sites to link to it. BusinessMeNow would then float to the top of Google search rankings, and millions of kids would soon be asking their mothers for money to buy pink plastic hot dog looking things. No more – the Penguin now forces links to be attached to relevant, optimized anchor text within well-written content in order to make an impact.
- Before the Panda made his mark in Hollywood offending five animal kung fu practitioners the world over, he was busy kicking sites with a high advertising to content ratio off of top search rankings. Today, content reigns as the main reason a site gets seen on page one of Google results. The Panda’s insistence on relevant content greatly expanded the ghostwriter and SEO copywriter market, and now people actually visit sites because they are reading smart stuff instead of being directed there by misleading ad copy.
- The Hummingbird really had nothing else to do with his day, so he found a way to help Google learn the context of search queries. Before the Hummingbird, Google was able to coldly read lists of synonyms, but now, it actually takes context into account, giving online content the advantage of connotation as well as denotation. This technology helped Google to link in with Yelp, causing businesses with bad reviews to fall in search rankings. Not only can Google crawl content for webs of relevant words, but it can also find out how the writer feels as well and judge relevance through emotion.
Learning the Penguin, the Panda, and the Hummingbird will direct your efforts in optimizing your content for the gatekeeper search engines and maintaining a human feel for your actual visitors.
4 -Star Writer Chris D has ghostwritten over 100,000 blog posts, press releases and marketing pieces for companies as varied as NuShape, Wolf Real Estate Professionals, Digital Pop Marketing, Mobilozophy, and AuctionServices.com.