Had a discussion with some smart people the other day. Turns out that when your favorite supermarket places food on the shelf marked “organic," they may actually be stretching the truth. Many pesticides and a few steroids and related toxins may still be used in some of this organic food.
I have no way to tell, of course, but it was deflating and reminded me of another type of misleading effort involving organic materials in the digital world: organic content.
Simply stated, organic content is the copy/data placed on web pages to connect visitors searching for those same keywords on Google, Yahoo, BING or the search engine of their choice. Sounds great in theory. The problem is that, in an effort to boost ranking, many sites continue to bait their content with keywords/data that has very little to do with the actual purpose or relevant content on the site itself. While Google, et al, currently “punishes” offenders of this practice, programmers are smart. They seed, bury or disguise their content in a way that might justify its existence on their site or application. In an effort to stay ahead of this practice, Google (which currently makes all the SEO rules), uses latent semantic indexing (LSI) – a complex algorithm that simply means search engines give content generators credit for using similar words and phrases. For instance, the words “corporate” and “business” have similar meanings, and so, both are generally recognized by Google as being the same and add to your search ranking. That’s great news for us copy/content writers who no longer have to write stilted copy to appease the search engine gods. And it’s also very helpful for visitor queries plugged into search engines, because now relevant content rules and websites are truly being rewarded for being user-friendly.
So, I guess my beef is with all the programmers and web-pros who continue to try and find ways to fool the rest of us, inviting us to visit places that waste our time. I realize you’re smart and will keep trying to fool search engines – and us - but at least I’m now aware of this practice and will be more careful when buying into organic content. Now if only I knew where to find the best organic fruit. I guess I’ll Google it…