Search engine optimisation is all about online, the latest buzzwords, etc., right? Wrong. Natural search is very dependant upon natural use of language. Understanding how people use language will help you understand how they will search, which in turn should help you pinpoint the words and phrases most likely to get you some decent natural traffic.

So, in fact looking at books can help you identify what words are most used in the English (or your chosen language) and unsurprisingly the boffins at Google have developed a tool that can do all the leg-work for you. Ngram Viewer is somewhat hidden within the Google Books back-end but is as relevant to SEO professionals as it is literary experts. Using the extensive database in the Google Books system it has identified how words have been used in books over time. You can see how words have become popular over periods of time and how their use and popularity has also declined.

Just choose the words you want to examine and compare, choose the years or period you want to cover, the language and then the smoothing of your curves on the graph. Click search lots of books and await a perfectly formed line graph. The results are very interesting. For example here’s a look at the use of communication words in books published between 1984 and 2008.

The domination of the word ‘letter’ could be a bit skewed with the other potential definition of the word but it is interesting to see it’s rise in usage of letter as the use of fax declines.

So how can this help SEO?

Well looking at what words are most popular is at the core of any SEO professionals work. If you can combine that with knowledge of historic use and also knowledge of how all words wax and wane in popularity over time, you can become better in your role.

If you want to be really clever about it too, you can find what words are the most popular in general and keep those always in mind when looking for case studies, examples and newsworthy stories. Unlike other aspects of our daily lives the science of language is still a relatively un-tapped market, but as more and more clients search for metrics that work and you search for the smallest of tweaks for the biggest of marketing gains, expect more time and investment to be made into how we use words and how that can equate to increased revenue.

What other language tools do you use to help your SEO?


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