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Relevance and SEO


MJ, our SEO specialist, says “relevant” in a lot of meetings; referring to both our sites and our SEO clients.? I’ve asked her about it, and it’s “well, you know, the data on the client’s site has to be “relevant”.? OK, so I ask, relevant to what?? And she says, “Relevant” to the topic at hand”.? OK, well then, how do you know it’s “relevant”?… etc etc?.

I decided to educate myself; after all, I know how to “Google”.? So I google the title of this article? “1000’s” of hits, right?.. Geezzz or my favorite… egad!

So I click on this link, (yup a competitor) and an article entitled “Natural Search: Relevance and SEO Rankings”; written by Jeffery Smith, and posted in Feb 2009; so it may be out of date?? But, just the topic I’m looking for.? And I’ve already learned a new word in SEO “Natural Search”.? I don’t know about you, but I tend to do my searching unnaturally don’t you?….

Anyway, in this article I find:? People are searching for information, answers and solutions and the more continuity your content has with their search terms (through topical relevance) the more attention and market share your website can acquire within any given semantic structure of keywords related to their queries.” (Hey, another new word, “topical” relevance?; and a new phrase; “semantic structure of keywords”).? Huh?? What this quote told me is that I now understand why I don’t understand MJ… It’s a whole new world.

Yeah, I’m being a bit facetious, but proving to myself why an SEO Specialist is becoming necessary to compete these days.? One might refer back to my blog on “internet vs. traditional marketing” ( for background and think of this as another level into internet marketing; but believe me, it only scratches the surface.? But, let’s scratch a bit more.

Ok… can’t help it; Check this out at; an article entitled “The measured nonsense of SEO relevance” by Michael Martinez:? Some people feel the search engines (oh, who are we kidding? They mean Google) somehow weight a link more favorably if it comes from a page with content similar to the destination page. So a page ?A? about horses that links to a page ?B? about horses is helping page ?B?, but if page ?A? also links to page ?C? (which is about cats), then the link from ?A? to ?C? is not as helpful as the link from ?A? to ?B?.? Now, this was posted in August 2007, so is (really) out of date, and MJ would definitely foo foo any talk of “relevance” being “nonsense”.

One more time; I picked this article from the Google search because it was current (March 2010); that makes it “relevant” right?? But, I also like what he has to say.? This young man (Sean Mcarthur) even though he’s an admitted geek (MJ, I think he’s taken), has the ability to talk like us common folks.? In, he says:? “The things that really matter are the easiest things to do right. In short, be awesome, and get others to agree with you.”? And then a bit later:? “Google openly states that one of the biggest factors in whether they will link to you is if other websites link to you. Those other links are proving to Google ?I felt this is page relevant and useful for the topic it is about?. Google is essentially trusting the web community to promote the good content above the mediocre.”

Ah Ha!? “relevant and useful for the topic it is about”??? So to paraphrase?; this to me puts a new slant on relevant; that is “relevant” to the reader? (i.e. awesome).. enough so that he/she will want to share that “relevancy” with his/her friends. then Google (etc) (now I know why MJ keeps tweeting stuff from Google); in their wisdom, then gives that article/web page/ tweet/etc? preference because it is obviously “awesome”?? as judged by the “web community”.

Now some (well most) of you are saying; “elementary”… and “duh”; but understand that there is a TON of information out there about SEO; what works and does not work, etc.? We at MOS of course believe that internet marketing (SEM) does work.? Well, we not only believe it, we demonstrate it every day; on our sites and our clients.? And “relevant” is only a piece of it, but at least I now have a better appreciation of why MJ harps on relevancy so much.? Check out her tweets at MOS_SEO.

One more thing I have learned (or extrapolated) from this is how important working with the client as a partner is in making SEO/SEM work.? No one understands your business like you do, which should mean you know best what is relevant.? We will help you write content, but you best can provide the “awesomeness”.? We can then provide the expertise on where to put all this awesome content, how to get more links, and help you make sure it is “relevant and useful for the topic it is about”.? Ain’t technology grand?

About Rajeev R

Rajeev R

Manages the day-to-day operations of MOS from NY. With an interest in information technology, Rajeev has guided MOS to extensive use of digital technology and the internet that benefits MOS as well as MOS clients.