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.

 

Advertisements

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