Google's Jon Orwant reveals his company's approach to parsing content by corpora. Learn how you can take advantage for a stronger content strategy and better search results
I attended a talk recently by Jon Orwant. Jon works for Google and is in charge of Google Books. He made a comment that caught my attention and might help you with your content strategy and Google search results.
Jon said Google separates all content into 'corpora': video, books, blogs, etc. When it receives a search query it first tries to figure-out which corpora is most relevant and then pulls results mainly from that corpora.
He gave the example of someone searching for "Michael Jackson Thriller". He said the books corpora would not raise its hand very high whereas the video (youtube) one would raise its hand really high. Google would then search through the video content and weight the results from that corpora.
Sounds simple enough, right? But, this has significant ramifications for businesses using content marketing strategies. If you have a content strategy that is focused on getting a high page rank on Google’s search results, you need to consider Google’s corpora approach. Are you publishing your content in the best formats?
Marketers typically ask if they’re publishing the right content. Is this white paper relevant? Is this blog post useful? (I say typically, but amazingly, a lot of marketers don’t even ask these questions!) But, marketers rarely ask if the content is in the right format.
Should your case study be published as a video rather than a pdf? What about your white paper? Would that be better off as a podcast or as an eBook? Or should you release it in multiple formats?
Just publishing in a number of different formats is not enough. You can have tons of videos out there, but if the content does not make sense for video, then Google is not going to serve it up as a relevant search result. And that means no one is going to watch it.
Questions to ask:
1. Is my content relevant?
2. Do I have enough content formats?
3. What formats make the most sense for my content?
A smart content strategy will focus on the needs of the target market and will take into consideration the ways search engines parse and serve results. Google’s corpora approach is simple and is consistent with a smart content strategy: offer useful content in formats that make sense for both the content and the target.