Here’s a good discussion on the use of jargon and acronyms in marketing content. The discussion is just as relevant for search engine optimization efforts, maybe more so. After all, with good quality content you are not just selling, your are selling and optimizing. And if you are using acronyms for your optimization efforts it means that you expect searchers to perform search queries for those acronyms at the search engines. Will they? If they do, will they search for the acronym more often than the term it represents?
I like Grok’s blog post because it shows a little bit of both sides of the argument. On the one hand, jargon (or acronyms) can be a turn-off. On the other hand, it can be a turn on for the right audience.
Here are my thoughts on the acronyms within content topic:
- No. 1, know your audience. If your audience is not highly technical then acronyms may not be the right way to go.
- Perform your keyword research thoroughly. Do people in your market search for the acronym? Do they search for the acronym more than the term it represents? If so then you might optimize your site for the acronym, but if you do then you are leaving out the people who will search for the term and not the acronym. It’s usually best to go after as wide berth of your target as possible.
- Given point No. 2 above, you might want to optimize your website for the term your acronym represents while throwing in moderate uses of your acronym to keep the technical terms in your reader’s minds, but also to keep them in the search bots’ eyes.
Acronyms can be tricky business. Many acronyms have different and unrelated meanings. For instance, RWW stands for ReadWriteWeb, but it also stands for Remote Web Workplace and Radio Wireless Week. For this reason, you will want to associate the acronym on your web pages with your specific industry as well as with your specific company. Using acronyms as search terms in and of themselves could prove to be disastrous, but you know your customer better than I do. If 90% of your market would search for the acronym, who am I to argue with 90%. Just know that’s what it is before you target it.