Metamorphoses in Search and Text

 

The search and text transformations

Shot from the movie HER tfortext

In 2013 SEO and web writing crossed fast the threshold of a new phase of their development, making sure they would keep in sight the-always-running-ahead Google, which somewhere far in the distance is chasing after the Star Treck dream device capable of answering the question, “How did Alfred Nobel make his money?”.

Web writing is not a service generating tons of key words. It is not the more humble and unassuming SEO brother either. And this can’t be the case since the search optimization itself is no longer just some technological means of success but a holistic approach to online presence.

If at present content development is redirected from key words to thematic optimization, a more daring step would be content development based and optimized in relation to concepts and ideas (David Amerland hints at something like that in his book Semantic Search, part 2, chapter 3, How SEO changes business practices. Here you can read the translation of this particular part.)

Corporate content today does not need simply a large amount of texts, but a consistently and systematically manifested meaning, a common denominator which unites strategies, conveys messages and is conceptually sound. Any attempt at adopting piecemeal approaches and mechanical experiencing of “good practices” leads to shambles and failure to engage in a conversation and maintaining relationships with customers. Because despite the great number of tools the optimizers possess, SEO would not be more than applying make-up and positioning in the forefront an inflated doll, when behind the business there is no long-term digital strategy with a clear message and content which daily offers meaning for a specific group of people.

Following the steps of the natural perfection of search engines, web content would take a slightly different direction from the existing one. The current search condition urges us towards comprehensiveness. Building upon key word search optimization and even upon thematic optimization, content could be created and maintained on concepts and entities (Bill Slawski has written an article on the topic: Concept-Based Web Search). Thus the range of messages the business sends will expand naturally. What we talk here is opening of content boundaries towards conveying meaning in an emotional and convincing voice that is capable of riveting and conversing with, winning the curious glances (or clicks) of those searching. But how could this be done?

Through invisible Call to Action

The call to action is the icing on the cake that sells. Still there is one invisible call to action that doesn’t sell directly but rather creates a reputation and establishes your authority. With time the invisible call to action builds in the texts through commitment, proper attitude and care. It is this tone in the corporate content which attracts the customers and consequently retains them. As Barry Feldman wisely put it in an article of his, the only way to sneak into a customer’s life is: to care.

Through diversity

True, content must be effective, it must sell. But it’s also true that it must be able to remain unobtrusive, to lean upon one unifying message, to make people like it and last but not least to entertain. Blending several fields (PR, SEO, web writing) is one of the productive ways of including the communication channels diversity with the help of different types of texts.

On the wings of message and transparent identity

Every part of the content should reflect the big picture, the main message which a given company wishes to communicate. Usually this message is part of the brand narrative. No matter what the story though, its hero is not the brand but the customer. Good content shift the focus in the opposite direction so that the brand’s identity is nothing more than a beautiful landscape in the background upon which the personal story will unroll (or to put it more crudely – the personal content) of the individual who has decided to trust it and identify with the message.

Simpler, lighter, more joyful

“Проще, легче, веселее” [Simpler, lighter, more joyful] is part of Stanislavski’s formula for good theater. Whether this is a coincidence or not, but his phrase has its double in advertising in the words of D. Ogilvy, “The text must be written in a human language and very simple, according to the market’s tastes.” Both quotations could prove priceless when writing content.

Valuable ideas don’t need pompous words and putting them in human language would mean they have reached more people. This is not a simplification, but it rather makes room for a natural content, content which is created on the basis of happening and communication and this is what business is about – in other words an exchange of services, goods and ideas.

And finally, writing should be neither cumbersome, nor lengthy. Simply because search is no longer just search, it means satiating curiosity, research, information gathering, entertainment, work, impulse (the turn in understanding search is quite intriguingly explained here: THE MEANING OF SEARCH: How It Shapes Our Lives and Builds Brands). Therefore, content is the answer to real, inner needs, an attempt to have a dynamic conversation with the customer’s curiosity, or in short – it is the mirror of the search and text transformations.

Addendum:  This image is created by a shot from the movie Her. Note the device in the main character’s pocket, as well as the safety pin, of course. I believe the story of the movie  is a powerful metaphor for the current and upcoming transformation that we are to face and embrace as parts of our lives. Oh, an thanks pixlr for making the creation of great images so easy! 

by: Teodora Petkova

My post originally appeared in Bulgarian on the pages of SEOM