Semantic X-Ray

Q. What's a semantic x-ray?

A. Learning to see your content like Googlebot.

In this day and age, you may think that editing your on-site content for search engines is bad form. It may strike you that such practises have gone the way of keyword stuffing and buying backlinks. That's okay. We forgive you.

Don't get me wrong, the latter two practises will get you penalised, and rightly so. Pandas, Penguins and Manual Actions by Google's Webspam team will see you disappear from search before you're even indexed.

But pandering to what Googlebot craves in the cutting room? Nah. Crafting your content so that it helps search indexers understand your topic and message is not advisable - it's imperative!

Isn't Google Artificially Intelligent, now?

There'll be a good few people berate this content. Their loss. Google is without doubt getting smarter at extracting information from content.

But to truly understand every word on every webpage without parameters? Do you know how many web pages there are, written by authors with differing levels of acumen and niche expertise? It's asking too much. Yes, even of the undisputed champions of search.

Many people, especially on Google+, have referenced Schema.org's hierarchy of entities in their quest for structured data. With the recent disappearance of video snippets in search, you'd perhaps question that wisdom. You only have to look to Algohunter's article on RDFa and video snippets to see where and why the G+ boys were off the mark. At least in the grand scheme o' things. ;)

That RDFa lite has been recognised as an official mark-up language by Google strays perhaps too far into the technical for the purpose of this blog. But we have to at least reference it. RDF is, after all, the railway line upon which the Semantic Express is coasting into town. Ignore those bells at the level crossing at your peril.

On the write track

Content has been King, was dethroned and now reigns again. It never did abdicate, IMHO. The King's court of loyal subjects just lost sight/site (delete as appropriate), as did Saul on the road to Damascus in Biblical times.

Panic over. Wordsmiths find good grace in the uncharted path to digital discovery once again. Thanks, in the main, to the webmasters who've re-converted and put their faith in the (written) word.

The problem with faith, of course, is that it's blind. And that's the problem that the Semantic X-Ray is gonna help you solve.

Yes, we can all see what content looks like on a webpage. Some Smart Alec who's nifty with CSS and HTML makes sure readers/visitors/customers have an unimpaired view of the words the author's sweat blood over. But that's not the only trick.

What does Googlebot see? That's what you should ask yourself when submitting content for (self-)approval.

Reader:

"Yeah, like that's gonna happen. Who knows what Google will do next?"

Here's a presentation I put together for a customer. In the embedded presentation, I use their copywriter's original stab at a bespoke article as a starting point. You'll see all the old 'exact match' keyword mistakes in all their glory, there.

You'll also see where disambiguation, unnecessary content and weak copywriting distorts the article's concepts. In other words, what Googlebot thinks the article is about.

From there, I researched supporting keywords. Hot topics and money spinners, locale and ideas. I get rid of the passive voice, superfluous language and any mention of 'things' that could be contrived, as were in the original copy. The result is, well, see what you think:


Wrap-up

Expecting Google to rank your content doesn't only involve helping it recognise entities, which Schema sort of did. Today, it's what you, the author, are saying about 'things' that also matter. And then helping Google understand your viewpoint.

Moreover, what else have you written about that topic before? How well was your stance received by peers and people alike? This is where Semantics really comes into play.

On that note, I leave you with topics I think I know pretty well, should you want such a presentation putting together:

Digital:

  • Copywriting;
  • Digital Marketing;
  • Social Strategies;
  • Search;

Brick 'n' Mortar

  • freelance/contracting:
    • Tax Planning;
    • Mortgages;
    • Pensions and Investments
    • Insurance and Cover
  • Personal Injury;
  • Weightloss:
    • Abs Workout Solutions
    • Weight Control (natural diet)
    • Resistance Training;
    • Health and Nutrition;
  • Golf

If you're interested in me writing for you on a freelance basis, you can:

  1. Hire me privately and pay via credit card; first:
  2. Or go through a third party freelance agency:

In both instances, payment is up front. If you go through PeoplePerHour, your funds will be held in escrow until the job is complete. This is a fixed price job (dependent upon volume of words), using advanced data extraction, keyword research and NLP.

If you go the direct route, please submit your enquiry via the form in the first instance. I'll then send you an official estimate (based on using the same techniques as above, if it's article content) and you can order and pay by credit card. Work will begin once the funds hit my account in around 7 days time.

No work will be undertaken without payment in full up front. If you have an ongoing requirement, we can discuss that upon completion of the first task to the satisfaction of both parties.

Thanks for your time. I've been Jason Darrell; I hope very much to still be he tomorrow. Be significant!