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Producing Relevant Content 21 April 2010

Posted by Scott Loughran in Design, Development, Trends.
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I’m not a SEO guy, a search guy, or a Google guy. When building a strategy for the content you are putting on the web, “relevancy” is a large part of the conversation that many say can’t be ignored. The mindset that relevancy drives your search engine page rankings may be true to a certain degree, but how you make it relevant is the larger challenge.

In Designing Interactions, Bill Moggridge interviews Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the original engineers and founders of Google. Discussing how the search platform has had to shift to users needs and wants, Sergey said this about relevancy and search:

“When we started the company, the top ten queries accounted for 3 percent of the searches, but now the top ten queries account for under half a percent of the searches. The diversity of people’s needs has gone up over the last few years and I think it will continue to do so as the Internet grows.”

The book was published in 2007. How much has the Internet grown in only 3 years? According to Internet World Stats, in March of 2007 a little over 1.1 billion people, or 17.2 percent of the world’s population was online. The last report states 1.8 billion people, or 26.6 percent of the planet had Internet access. That is over 700 million people in 3 years, or 233,333,333 people a year that gained access. Those types of numbers cause search to change.

Here is what I suggest – theoretically. The Internet, and how it has flipped content distribution on its’ head, has become the preferred mode of consumption for a lot of users/consumers because it has given them access to micro-niche content. More then cable TV or email newsletters, the searchable web has allowed people to talk about the nitty-gritty and boring details because ratings don’t decide if you continue – most of the time. Be relevant to your niche, to the community that cares about what you have to say. If I podcast about family-focused entertainment, I’m not going to find subscribers by loading my blog and podcast with references to “new 100 dollar bill,” “antilla,” “aoi sola,” “w32/wecorl.a,” of “dcom server process launcher terminated unexpected…” (this mornings Hot Searches from Google Trends).

Don’t create content to be relevant to what the Internet is making popular, manufacture something that your specific audience will make popular through the Internet. Don’t worry so much about trending search phrases and topics as your content will only get buried in this swamp of misinformed and short minded souls. The Internet, specifically search, has grown from a tiny pond that a few people were fishing in to a interconnect network of oceans. The trick isn’t to throw the biggest fish out there for your audience to find, it to know which shore your audience is fishing at, and placing your fish their for them so they can enjoy the sport of catching the perfect fish.


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