Information & Intent: Optimizing Content and the User Search Experience

Everyone has a limited amount of attention to devote to searching for and consuming information. Each day a staggering amount of new information is added to the web and indexed by the search engines. How can your content get the attention of users? I spoke about this yesterday at the 49th Annual Conference of the National Federation of Abstracting and Information Services

What is happening is that the democratic nature of the web that Google uses for PageRank has a symbiotic relationship with Social Media. This is truly revolutionizing the distribution and consumption of content. It is no longer just about the content. It’s about the technology that can fuel this synergy.

For many this a bitter pill to swallow. Many of the NFAIS members would not have this. They are old-line publishing and content types that argue about the value of their content, the resume of their editors and their authority as a point of reference.

As Rupert Murdoch who knows a thing or two about these issues stated recently:

“Readers don’t want to rely on a God-like figure from above to tell them what is important, and certainly do not want news presented as gospel. The media world can no longer lecture; it must become a place for conversation.”

Yes, the conversation. So let’s brings attention and the conversation together because they play off each other as mentioned above. How does this look?

1) You need to get attention. This can be SEO. SMO, PPC, whatever. Then only if the user feels you are relevant to their goals and objectives (intent) they will select you to start a conversation.

2) Depending on how relevant your side of the conversation is (and many times who else is contributing to it) the user will choose whether or not you can continue that conversation. This is where optimization is critical or as I referred to it in my presentation “content merchandising.”

3) At some point after one or more helpful conversations you become a trusted advisor and begin to get more attention allocated to you. Now you are creating real value by building an audience.

These are tectonic shifts that are affecting advertisers and publishers. The traditional way of thinking about content is already antiquated. Thousands of authors are collaborating on a business book via a wiki. Teachers are creating their own custom textbooks with XML. Mindblowing stuff…and we have only just begun to crawl.



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