What is SEO?

Jargon, Tips, Website, Writers Resources, Writing

The other day someone asked me what exactly SEO is. It’s a good question, and one that I’m amazed I’ve never thought to answer on the blog before, because I know that I have mentioned it in posts a few times, in the past.

SEO basically stands for Search Engine Optimisation.

In Layman’s Terms this means optimising, or setting your website up, so that Search Engine’s (predominantly Google, but also Bing, Yahoo etc) can find the website and index it appropriately.

Search Engine’s being able to index your website well is incredibly important, because this is how people will find you when they search for specific keywords or terms. Therefore, SEO is the act of placing relevant keywords and terms into your content, so that people can find you – easily – through whichever search engine they choose to use.

For most people, SEO comes relatively naturally, because you instinctively create content that is relevant to your target audience. Sometimes, it is helpful to do some research to discover which keywords are popular at the moment, but if you know your audience well, it is often a matter of “common sense” and just using your initiative.

Nevertheless, never be tempted to “stuff” your content with keywords that you know are guaranteed to get a lot of hits, unless they are genuinely relevant to your content.

The problem with stuffing content with irrelevant but popular keywords is that you will:

  1. Annoy anyone who clicks on your link, on Google, only to discover that your website has absolutely nothing to do with what you are looking for
  2. What is the point of drawing in a lot of people who are not interested in what you have to offer? Sure, you’ll have big hits, but don’t expect any follow-throughs (sales, queries etc!)
  3.  Search Engines are actually pretty smart – they can tell when a website is attempting to, some might say “deceive”, people into coming to their site, and there is a potential that your site will be penalised for doing it, which probably won’t do you any favours.

 

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Jargon Busting Video Games Part One

Abbreviations, Jargon

When we talk about jargon, we often come up with a certain type of business that probably involves wearing suits. However, that is definitely not the case because even the entertainment world has its jargon. I grew up playing video games, so there are a lot of slang terms that are part of my vocabulary, but there there are also many that I haven’t even encountered. For today, I thought I’d offer some jargon busting of the video games slang that I do know:

GT

Gran Turismo. A series of driving simulator games first launched in 1997 and the most recent released late 2013.

GTA

Grand Theft Auto. A series of (often controversial) crime-based games that have also been around since 1997.

FMV

Full Motion Video. Sometimes referred to as cut-scenes, FMV are sequences within a game that are videos with no game-play. They are typically used to mark a major event in the plot and traditionally feature better graphics than the main game, however advances in technology are changing the quality of in-game graphics to match the FMV sequences.

FF

Final Fantasy VII Cloud Strife

Final Fantasy. Probably the most popular series of role playing game, Final Fantasy‘s life began in1987 and has spawned fourteen main games, plus several sequels and spin-offs (and personally my all-time favourite gaming series!)

2D

Two Dimensional. In gaming, if the graphics are described as being 2D or two-dimensional then they are basically flat – like paper – and are not a true representation of what the object would look like in real-life.

3D

Three Dimensional. In basic terms, if a game is 3D the graphics are not “flat”, instead they have shape and 3D tends to be more realistic in terms of the size of objects in comparison to each other.

AI

Artificial Intelligence. The idea of a piece of technology being able to make its own decisions. In gaming, AI is a term used to describe a character – or even the whole game – that is able to think in a way that is very much like a human.

Boss

A Boss is a monster or character that you need to defeat in order to advance the game. Boss Fights are typically harder to defeat than standard fights, and often require specific tactics in order to defeat them.

Bug

Sometimes referred to as a Glitch, a Bug is sort of like an error or defect in a piece of software. In video games, bugs come in a variety of forms. For example, sometimes a character may be able to walk through a wall that they shouldn’t be able to, or they might suddenly start floating randomly. Sometimes, a bug in a game may create an unplanned – by the games company, at least – cheat, in the game.

biobugs

Quite often bugs are humourous (especially in older games) or useful, but sometimes they can make a game unplayable.

HP

Health Points. Health points appear in most games that feature fighting, and usually both your character and the ones you are fighting against will have a set number of points that you need to reduce down to zero, in order to win.

Usually, you can use potions to restore your HP – as can the bad guys – and, it is sometimes possible to use revival potions to bring dead characters back to life.

MP

Magic Points. In some games, magic is used as a form of attack, and unlike physical attacks you can only use magic a number of times, which is determined by your Magic Points. A magic spell will have a set number of points that it takes to use it, and everytime it is used those points will be removed from your characters overall Magic Point tally. Once they reach zero, you will no longer be able to use magic, until you have used an item to restore their MP.

Combo

A combination of moves that are performed together are usually referred to as a Combo. Normally found in beat-em-up style games, a combo often gains extra points or knocks more HP off the opponent.

 

 

 

Jargon Busting Your o2 Bill

Jargon

Nothing gets on my nerves more than unnecessary jargon – the kind that none of us really understands, and is (in my opinion) completely pointless.

Big name companies are fiercely guilty of producing products that are riddled with jargon, and I can’t imagine why they feel the need for it to be there at all. It’s not necessary, it doesn’t help the customer – in fact all it does is leave us feeling completely confused. In many cases it’s leaving us confused about aspects such as our rights, and I don’t think that’s for.

Sometimes, of course, jargon is necessary – for example, in legal documentation – which is where I would always expect a company to offer a Glossary that explains any confusing terminology. Slowly, a lot of the larger companies are beginning to this, which is fantastic in my point-of-view. However, the problem then lies when you find confusing language in the Glossary…

Take this example from my Mum’s o2 phone bill for example:

Glossary Decrement

What the heck does “decrement” mean?

I like to think that I am mildly intelligent. I have a degree (so obviously I’m not completely dumb!), and I work with words for a living. I’m not going to say that I know every word in the dictionary, but if I don’t know what “decrement” means, and my Mum doesn’t know what it means, and my other half doesn’t know what it means, then it raises the question of how many other people actually know what it means?

The other half came to the conclusion that “decrement” is probably the opposite of the word “implement”, and in the context of the entire sentence:

“Some calls are not eligible to decrement from your inclusive allowance.”

I think that he could be correct.

I think that the sentence is saying that some calls will not be included in your included allowance, therefore you will be billed for it. But, why on earth can they not just say that? It didn’t make the sentence that much longer, so I’m baffled.

Have you found any ridiculous jargon in your bills?

Share it, so that I can jargon bust it 🙂

 

 

How To Kick Jargon in the Butt

Jargon

Kicking Jargon in the Butt

As a film-lover, I spend quite a lot of time reading reviews of the latest films. But one thing that has started to really annoy me lately has been this need to write reviews using big words (or…really irk me freshly, has been this incessant need to transcribe reviews using capacious quarrel, for anyone who actually likes jargon!).

One example was a review that I read for “Gravity” which described the film as being “unconvoluted”. Now really, what is wrong with the word “uncomplicated” or even “simple”?

As a writer and as a reader, jargon is one of my pet hates about not only content, but novels, newspaper articles and virtually any form of written “entity”, because this kind of writing requires sitting at our desks with Google and/or a Thesaurus on permanent stand-by just to know what you are trying to say. To be honest, we really cannot be bothered. It makes what should be a quick and easy task – reading a blog post, or article – into a huge chore, and we don’t have the time, or patience, for that.

The question really is: how do you jargon-bust your content? Here are a few tips to help you out:

1. Are You a Jargon Fiend?

Does your content contain jargon, that you perhaps hadn’t realised about? The chances are, you probably are. Therefore, you should ask yourself a few questions:

  • Does your content contain words that are particularly long?
  • Do you sit with a Thesaurus, trying to make yourself sound smarter? (Don’t be embarrassed, we have all done this!)
  • Do you use clichés? This article from The Telegraph has some great examples of the worst business-based clichés.
  • Do you use a lot of abbreviations? What about Acronyms?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, then you are guilty of creating jargon. However, we’ll give you a break if you explain what your abbreviations mean somewhere within the content.

2. Write Your Content

Now that we’ve established that you are a Jargon Fiend, we can help the healing process, so go ahead, start writing your content; only, step away from the Thesaurus because you don’t need it – just yet.

Just write how you would normally write, and create the content that you intended to, before you started reading this post.

3. Reverse The Jargon

When I was at Uni, I would sit writing essays with the Thesaurus permanently open trying to encourage my Uni Lecturers to think that I was smarter than I really was, and that I actually knew what I was talking about.

However, when you are trying to promote your services or brand to the consumer who is just an ordinary person, not a Business Executive, you don’t need to make yourself look smarter with big words. What you have to say is far more important than cramming your content with ridiculous long words, because the average person isn’t going to have a clue what you are talking about.

Sit down with a Thesaurus, and instead of trying to make words longer, try to simplify them to words that are easier to understand.

Be Careful: Don’t patronise your audience, you don’t need to over-simplify things, because your audience aren’t stupid either. Therefore, this is where having a strong understanding of your target audience is going to be absolutely key. What kind of person are you pitching to? What kind of education have they had? Where are they in their life? How old are they? The answers to these questions will help you to tailor the language towards them.

4. Let Someone Read Your Content

The problem that a lot of us face, is that we know a lot about our business, and it is difficult to get into the head of someone who doesn’t know our business. Unfortunately, this is where you need to be to really write jargon-free content.

The solution is to literally get into the head of someone who doesn’t know anything about your business, other than perhaps the absolute basics. This could be your Mum, your Gran, your ten-year-old son, your best friend, or even your cousins-sisters-best-friends-aunt.

Note, that they don’t necessarily have to be within your target audience, but this could help.

Get them to read your content, and to mark up anything that they don’t understand.

You don’t need to do this with all of your content – because that would be incredibly time-consuming – however, doing it with a few pages can be a great learning experience, as you are able to establish where you are going wrong, so that you can make your content clearer for your audience.

Kicking Jargon in the Butt 2

 

 

What are your thoughts on Jargon?

Do you love it, or hate it?

Has Jargon ever put you off using a company/brand?

[cardNetworks]

Jargon Busting HTML Part One

HTML, Jargon

jargon busting htmlA long time ago, someone told me that you can’t teach yourself HTML, that it’s too complicated etc etc. Okay, so if you want to learn HTML to create an entire website, then yeah, you’d probably need a bit more help but when it comes to running a blog, or a pre-made website, knowing a little bit of the basics can be incredibly helpful. This is especially so, if you just want to edit text or move an image around, and it’s actually really easy to do…as long as you understand it.

The problem is that for a lot of people, me included, HTML acts in the exact same way as jargon (hence why I’m including it in my ongoing Jargon feature!). HTML was created by people with a great deal of knowledge, and it was created – just like jargon – to make their own work easier. The problem with this is, that anyone who isn’t in that area of expertise is going to look at it, and think “what the hell?”.

But what does it all mean? I aim to help figure it out…a little at a time.

Nevertheless, first of all…

What is HTML?

Standing for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the basic, broken down, jargon (or code) that is used to build-up a web page. Every single action that a website does or needs to exist, from frames to text size and colour, to the location of images, and headers etc will have various pieces of HTML code that singularly may have no real purpose, but together create the website that exists for you and your followers to appreciate.

Brackets

Another important thing to remember about HTML is that the vast majority of the basic HTML always begins with a “<” and ends with a “>”. These symbols help the code to figure out the difference between code and actual content.

 

Code: <BR>

Meaning: Line Break

Used For: Creating a literal break between two lines. Typically this is lines of text, however, it can also be used to creates a break in between images, charts or virtually anything that appears on a web page.

Another way of looking at this “break”, is to imagine starting a new line for a new paragraph.

Example: If you start writing, and then want to start a new paragraph, you would add

<BR>

Which would shift the text that comes after it, on to another line

<BR>

Like so…

 

Code: <H1> </H1> etc

Meaning: Heading Size

Used For: The H stands for Heading, meaning that anything placed between these two pieces of code will be emboldened. The number following the H determines the size of the font.

Example: For example, 1 as used here will be a larger, main heading, whilst higher numbers will create smaller headings. Like this:

<H1>

<H2>

<H3>

<H4>

It does seem a little backwards to have smaller fonts determined by a higher number, but hopefully you get the idea about how it works.

To ensure that you only create Headers using the font that you actually want as a Header, it is important to remember to close off the code. This is the same code as before, however, this time you will need to include the “/” symbol, before the H like this </H1>. So, your code should look like this:

<H1> Heading </H1>

In order to look like this:

Heading

 

Jargon Busting Literature: Science Fiction

Books, Jargon
Pile of Books

Business and the internet aren’t the only areas that are rife with jargon. Literature is just as confusing, so here’s a guide to some of the stuff that baffles us, starting with a little Science Fiction.

Science Fiction is a genre of books and films that is hugely popular. However, as you might expect from a genre that revolves around the fantastical, it has been the basis for a lot of newly joined terms that baffle and confuse. So, here is a jargon busting guide to some of the most popular Science Fiction keywords that leave a lot of us scratching our heads.

AI – Meaning Artificial Intelligence, AI usually refers to a computer or robot that has similar intelligence to a human, in the sense that it can work independently. This doesn’t necessarily mean that it will act like a human, or even think entirely like a human, but could perhaps just be able to perform a specific task that a human might normally do.

Popular examples include: AI; I, Robot.

Alternative History – This usually involves an author taking a well-known event, either in history or sometimes in a person’s personal life and twisting it around to see what life might have been like if things hadn’t occurred like that at all.

Often these occur in a way to suggest that that is just what occurred. However, some novels and films create time travel that effects time lines, or even parallel universes,

Popular examples include: Sliding Doors, Back to the Future.

Android – Often referred to as “robot”, androids are often seen as being human-like AI’s that have been genetically or biologically engineered by scientists etc, rather than born naturally. Their thought processes are typically programmed into them, and are not entirely human.

Clone – A genetic copy of something or someone else. Whilst not being the original, it will look and may even act exactly like the original.

Popular examples include: Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Cyborg – An organism that looks human, but is actually just human skin, with a robot or machine underneath. It will often have human-like characteristics and some AI, however it will notably not be human.

Popular examples include: Alien, Terminator.

Cyberpunk – Created during the 1980s, cyber punk combines crime fiction with science fiction. It is often very technological.

Popular examples include: Akira

Cyberspace – A term that is often used to describe the Internet, Cyberspace tends to refer to a virtual reality that exists inside – really, or artificially – a computer.  Most of the time, this is artificial, meaning that the world of cyberspace will be explored only by the human conciousness and not the physical form.

Popular examples include: The Matrix, Existenz, Tron.

Dystopia – Often used in the term “Dystopian Future”, dystopia typically refers to a society that isn’t very appealing, as a result of events. In many books this is normally due to oppression caused by some kind of government, leader etc. However, sometimes the cause may have been an apocalypse that has left the world in ruin. For a lot of science fiction this usually creates a world that seems completely backwards to the “free” world we are used to., and usually technology has been stripped back, putting people back into the basics of earlier h

Popular examples include: The Hunger Games

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Jargon Busting Business Part Four

Jargon

Ooh look, another Jargon Busting post for you 🙂 I really hope that these are helpful in some way to my amazing readers:

FAO – For Attention Of

FYI – For Your Information

ALAP – As Late As Possible

FY – Fiscal Year

R&D – Research and Development

GO – General Office

WE – Week Ending

SME – Small to Medium Enterprise

ROI – Return on Investment or Republic of Ireland

Bring to the table – Typically refers to what a business or individual offers during negotiations

Dialogue – A discussion between two parties

Monetise – Make money out of a blog or website, typically in the form of advertising

Msg – Message

Read Part One of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Two of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Three of my Jargon Busting Guide.

 

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Jargon Busting Acronyms Part Three

Jargon

Introducing the third part of my Jargon Busting series, which of course continues with those annoying Acronyms.

AFK – Away From Keyboard

MS – Microsoft, or Manuscript

USP – Unique Selling Point

SAE – Self Addressed Envelope or Stamped Addressed Envelope, which basically means the same thing.

IQ – Intelligent Quotient (Quotient is a Latin term, and is the result of a division)

HTML – Hyper Text Marking Language

The next ones are of course Abbreviations:

Est. –  Established.

St. – Street

Co. – Company or County

Ed. – Editor

Read Part One of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Two of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Four of my Jargon Busting Guide.

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Jargon Busting Acronyms Part Two

Jargon

Carrying on with our guide to unravelling the world of confusing internet and business jargon, here are a few more:

AWOL – Absent Without Leave

CEO – Chief Executive Officer

NEET – Under-25’s who are Not in Education, Employment or Training

B2B – Business To Business

AIDA – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action

AWTF – Away With The Fairies

BOGOF – Buy One Get One Free

BTW – By The Way

PTO – Please Turn Over

PTA – Parents and Teachers Association

CAPTCHA – Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (also known as – ANNOYING!!)

NIMBY – Not In My Back Yard

Read Part One of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Three of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Four of my Jargon Busting Guide.

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Jargon Busting The Online World

Jargon

When I got my first job, one of the roles I had to perform was writing the minutes for the weekly staff meetings which took place between my department and the Architects. It was company policy, that the meeting Chairman had to read out a long piece put together by the Managers at the top, of all the things that needed to be discussed. It was all ridiculously regimented and tedious and not to mention full of technical jargon, that even the Architects themselves didn’t know what it meant, because it was basically the type of jargon that only the Managers knew, and the underdogs were just expected to know what it meant.

I don’t know if this is part of the reason why I am such an advocate against unnecessary jargon, that doesn’t help anyone, but I absolutely hate jargon. It is pointless, and verging on being a representation of laziness for people who can’t be bothered to write out the whole word. Amongst friendship groups and even on social media this is fine, especially when limited to 140 words on Twitter, but in business it is a huge no-no!

So yes, it bugs me, and it’s confusing for a lot of people especially when it is included in copy that is designed to be read by customers.

In the world of the Internet, the biggest form of jargon is most definitely the Acronym (when several words are abbreviated into letters). It started with the LOL and BRB, but then it moved on to KMU and I got confused, so I’m going to start a small dictionary that will include all of those annoying acronyms that so many of us don’t understand.

Here are a few to get us started. Many of these may seem obvious, especially to a lot of people because these are probably the most well-known across the Internet, but I’m including them because not everyone knows them. Interestingly, some of the Acronyms actually stem back further than the internet:

LOL – Laugh Out Loud

LMAO – Laughing My Ass Off

LMFAO – Laughing My F***ing Ass Off

ROTFL – Rolling On The Floor Laughing

G2G – Got To Go

ETA – Expected Time of Arrival

BRB – Be Right Back

ONO – Or Nearest Offer

KMU – Keep Me Updated

IDK – I Don’t Know

WTF – What The F***

I’ll be adding to this list in the future, so if there are any Acronyms that you think should be included, let me know.

Also, what is your stance on jargon?

Necessary – under the right circumstances – or just really annoying?

Read Part Two of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Three of my Jargon Busting Guide.

Read Part Four of my Jargon Busting Guide.

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