April 8, 2009

Web governance through Keyword Property Rights


Keyword management can work wonders with your search engine optimization. You might not believe me. But the theory has proven successful in many different areas. When I came to think of this I was reading through my Masters thesis about price premiums in international trade of eco lables.

Rights to do stuff
I went on proving mathematically that the return to scale in an emerging economy actually motivated investment in industry, rather than in their resource abundant fishery.. and investing into fishery in the industrialised world as we have a decreasing return to scale. Yada yada… This was not what I was going to write about.. however! It got me thinking of another problem I was struggling with at the time. Namely, the problem of property rights to fish. There were some experiments in Iceland, and some studies done on the Swedish west coast. But no real significant solution to the problem. Ie. Fish move, hence who has the right to fish it from the sea??

The same problem is aparent when it comes to pollution as it moves, and thus, who should have to pay for the problems it causes. The old Jay-Z saying “What you eat, don’t make me shit”, is probably the best way to describe much of the economic theory in this area. However, then Nash came along and we all got happy. But it was not this either that I was going to talk about. Not because Nash was crazy (yeah.. we all saw the movie “a beautiful mind”) but because this post is about keywords, and not about economics. Or is it??

The problem of duplicate content and internal link structures
On very big websites, as most corporate websites are today, deciding upon what keywords to use on different pages, are ALL about economics. The problem most corporate websites are facing in the search engines are not their websites power. They have the brand, they have the links, they have the PageRank, they have everything externally beautifully put in order for them.

However, most websites are planned porly, and even though the information design and usability features might be excellent. Most of the time they are totally and utterly clustered with duplicate content and bad internal linking. This is a HUGE problem.

Why is this a HUGE problem. Well think about it this way. You get told by one of your friends that there is this building and the building contains one person with ALL the information you’re seeking. You go to this building and the door says “The answers to your questions are inside”. You get inside and you see a million doors. On every single door it says “The answer to your questions are inside”. WHAT THE HECK!! Where are the answers to your questions???? Your friend told you that there was one room with one person in this building who had the right answers. But every door says the same thing. How the heck are you supposed to know where to go?

As you are in quite the hurry to get your answer, you get out of the place, planning to go back to your friend for some more information. On your way out of the building you see another house. That house has a sign that says “I have the answer to exactly your question inside”. As it is on the way, you think “what the heck, it is on the way so why not give it a shot”. You get inside and there are a million doors. On all except one of them it says “Not in here”. On one door it says; “Come on in, here is your answer”.

Now think of your friend being a link and yourself being the search engine spider. They think the same way!! If you cannot make your content unique, specific and to the point the right link to the right place, the search engine bot will leave your website as it didn’t know where the heck to go. All the links (friends) in the world won’t save you then.

[When adding social media, you would offcourse have a cellphone, and thus never have to worry, you could just call your friend up and he’d give you the answer 🙂 –> n that is why social media will one day make search disappear]

Web governance through Keyword ownership
This can very easily be solved by giving property rights similar to the ones for fish and CO2 emissions to keywords. Ie. You give ownership of the most important keywords for a section of a website to the person in charge of that part of the website. If anyone else wants to post something on the website, containing this keyword, then they have to ask for permission from the owner of the keyword.

The owner also decides what the user of the keywords has to pay. The currency? Well ofcourse –> a link with the keyword properly stuffed in it’s anchor text. Voila, you’ve created a self regulatory content ownership and self working content governance system based on keyword ownership.

What this actually solves
Well, first of all it will solve the internal linking as all links for a specific keyword will point to the place on your website that best describes this keyword. Secondly you will solve the problem of caring. All of a sudden different content owners will care what is written on other parts of the website, as they know they will not rank as good in Google if others use their keywords.

You will actually start a content creation trade of rights to use certain keywords. This will not only solve your duplicate content problems but it might actually get people to talk to eachother wich is also a very big problem in big organizations. People should talk to people.

//Jesper

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