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.
Business people who have figured out Twitter’s power know that it’s an amazing tool for intelligence gathering, trend spotting, networking and business development. Its usefulness is easily under-realized and if you think Twitter is mainly for chatting, think again.
Let’s say you need to find an expert on solar energy for an article you’re working on. You can search people’s bios on Twitter using Google. You would construct a search string to look for bios that contain solar energy. Within a few seconds you’d have a list of people from all over the world that have something to do with solar energy. Then, it’s just a matter of following the ones that look promising and reaching out to them via Twitter. Within an hour you could be on the phone with an expert getting the info you need.
In addition, by searching for solar energy trends on Twitter you will find all kinds of discussions, news stories, articles and published research, which would be valuable to your article. You could use Google and search for relevant web sites, but Twitter provides you with real-time conversations—not just indexed content. That’s powerful.
Twitter & Journalism
This kind of power and time relevancy makes Twitter a must-use tool for journalists and publications. It’s like having your very own police scanner except you can tune-in to any topic you’re interested in.
Remember when a reporter had to move heaven and earth to ‘get the scoop’ on a story? Or how hard they had to work to find and cultivate sources? All these things can be done so easily using Twitter that it’s a no-brainer. Savvy journalists use it to follow important people, trendsetters and insiders, find experts, watch trending topics and get the jump on their competition.
I was poking around over the weekend to find local journalists using Twitter because I wanted to start cultivating relationships with the local press, something every small business owner needs to do. What I found amazed me.
I started at the RBJ. There’s nothing on their web site about Twitter. I had to really dig around the net to find their main account which is a feed of stories. Okay, but I want to connect with reporters, not receive a feed of headlines.
I searched Twitter to find ‘rochester business journal’ or ‘rbj’ in users’ bios and found one relevant hit: editor and vice president Paul Ericson. Wow! A guy at the top, this is a good sign, I thought. When I clicked through to his Twitter page I found that he had only one tweet and it was from January of this year. He had two followers and followed two users, one being his employer. That’s it. One staffer with a four-month old tweet. Not savvy.
The Democrat & Chronicle has fully embraced Twitter. They’ve even got a page on their web site that lists everyone on their staff with a Twitter account. It’s quite impressive. After following some of their reporters and staff, it’s clear that they use it actively. I’m amazed at how well they engage the community. That has to pay dividends for a business that makes its living reporting local news.
I’m no print media expert. But, I’ve been involved in business development, networking and research for decades. It seems obvious that if your job involves connecting with people, finding information and developing content, like a newspaper must do every day, you need to be using tools like Twitter. If you’re not you can expect to be left behind. It’s that simple.
This morning I discovered, to my utter joy, that my company is listed number one in a Google Search result. That's right, kids. We've obtained the Holy Grail of search engine optimization, online marketing and social marketing. We're number one, baby!
So, now, whenever anyone searches for a certain string of words, the Bob Wright Creative blog will come up number one out of 265,000 search results! Think about that. Out of a possible quarter of a million options, our company will be number one. Can you imagine all the revenues that will pour in from that free advertising? People all over the world will find Bob Wright Creative and will want to do business with us!
Maybe it's time to start hiring more staff.
What's the search string, you ask? Well ... okay, I'll tell you. A while back I posted this. It seems that due to this post and my clever use of SEO, tags, key words, punchy writing and crafty (the haters say unethical) use of someone else's content, we now own the following terms:
"Helvetica on dollar"
Read it and weep, competitors! Bob Wright Creative now dominates the helvetica on dollar market. So, if you have a client that needs "helvetica on dollar" you can forget it, because everybody in the world now knows that our company is the worldwide expert. You might as well pack up shop and find a new profession.
Competitors, we'll be accepting the terms of your surrender on Monday.