Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bing's Emojis & the Diversity of SEO Content

Big news! Yesterday, the search engine Bing announced that it will now offer results for emoji-exclusive searches. At the risk of inviting ridicule, Bing made the announcement with a straight-face, appeasing the ten-and-under crowd:

"As you likely know, emoji are small pictures used to express an idea or emotion. With the explosion of mobile devices and the ubiquity of texting, it has become a shorthand language used by billions of us around the world. At Bing we want you to be able to search the same way you communicate every day."

Here's a visual representation from Bing's blog post, "Do You Speak Emoji? Bing Does":

Apparently, SEO specialists will now need to optimize for emojis, too.

We're speaking tongue-in-cheek here, but this move by Bing, however ridiculous, speaks to a key SEO concept: diversity of content. Here at the Organic SEO Blog, we talk a lot about content, especially in terms of good, error-free writing. Original quality writing is the cornerstone of any successful organic SEO campaign.

The Organic SEO Blog's sponsor, Alex Stepman of Stepman's PC, employs experienced copy-writers for each of his SEO clients. Most of these copy writers have advanced degrees in writing--including yours truly, from Warren Wilson's MFA Program!

Alex believes the Internet is best served when website owners provide quality writing. Happily, this is not only Alex's opinion: it's Google's opinion, too. In its Webmaster Tools, Google offers the following advice:

"Provide high-quality content on your pages, especially your homepage. This is the single most important thing to do. If your pages contain useful information, their content will attract many visitors and entice webmasters to link to your site. In creating a helpful, information-rich site, write pages that clearly and accurately describe your topic. Think about the words users would type to find your pages and include those words on your site."

So, first and foremost, your site should offer quality language. Yet, as the Bing announcement reveals, content is not merely language. When optimizing your website for search engines, then, think about all the various forms of content that you might offer.

Pictures? Videos? Emojis?

What forms of content do you use? Let us know in the comments!

Our suggestion: play to your strengths. If you create lovely images, then by all means you should be populating your site with images. The key to proper use of these "alternative" forms of content is proper optimization. If used correctly, all types of content can contribute to a positive ranking. Just pay attention to that "if." For example, Google itself notes:

"Try to use text instead of images to display important names, content, or links. The Google crawler doesn't recognize text contained in images. If you must use images for textual content, consider using the ALT attribute to include a few words of descriptive text."

To be safe, you might simply support your text with other forms of content. However, if you want to make alternative forms of content the centerpiece of your site, you'd do well to read Google's Webmaster Guidelines.

Just remember, the best content is the content that makes sense for your unique website. We wouldn't suggest adding emojis--unless, of course, they make sense for you--but you might do well with other forms of content.