Because Algorithms Are People Too…Oh, Wait

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Google has yet to create an algorithm that approximates how the human mind processes things. They’re working on it, of course, but it is still a textual (as well as contextual and behavioral, and mathematical, among others) process rather than a pure cognitive process. And that creates a gap that is hard to navigate when writing for the Web: write for the reader or write for the spider?

Because sometimes – a lot of the time – it’s impossible to do both. It’s a delicate balance of keyword density and comprehensibility.

One such conundrum involves anchor text and links. For SEO purposes, spiders dig it when the anchor text, for example, when you link to an article about bears, the text matches what it’s linking to.

However, humans, for better or worse, respond quite well to calls to action, and often need things spelled out for them, and need exact instructions on what to do. So – not to sound too condescending or anything – instead of expecting whichever visiting human’s synapses to fire in the right way to interpret that an article about bears highlighted in link-format is a link to that article, said synaptic misfiring human may actually need a "Click here to read about bears."

From an SEO standpoint, this is terrible. You’ve just optimized "click here," which is useless in search, instead of "bears," which is not.

Brian Clark, at CopyBlogger.com, says Google is "making people retarded" (Are we allowed to use that word anymore? :-D) as webmasters are not seeing "links as navigation for actual people to use; they only exist to pass on ‘juice’ according to an algorithm that no one fully understands."

Clark says that people actually click links more when given the exact action to take. That’s using an action word like "click" not "continue," because, apparently, that’s too confusing.

So, we’ve learned a couple of things: humans really are 98 percent chimpanzee; and that when optimizing, it might be a good idea to think of both your human and your robotic visitors, maybe linking both ways.   

Because Algorithms Are People Too…Oh, Wait
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