July 22nd, 2010
Tips, Tools and Tutorials
In the world of Internet marketing and advertising, grammar is often left behind. While webmasters and Internet marketing experts focus on much more trying tasks, their posts go unedited into the depths of the World Wide Web. Some argue that the Internet is more informal than print since it is a living document, while others claim that good grammar is archaic in today’s media-hungry society. Though I understand the points that grammar’s critics make, I disagree; syntax and semantics will back me up on this one. Laws of semantics refer to understanding, and syntax refers to the basic rules and principles that provide such understanding. Grammar rules pave the path for learning, teaching, explaining, and understanding.
There are three commonly-accepted reputable style guides, MLA (Modern Language Association), APA (American Psychological Association), and AP (Associated Press) Style. Unfortunately, the guidelines set forth are not exactly scalable to Internet copy. Other sources have cropped up, such as the Chicago Manual of Style, and more recently, the Yahoo! Style Guide. With these two sources in mind, below are a few tips and suggestion for improving your grammar skills. Whether you agree with me or not, you cannot deny the importance of having good style.
I) Semicolon: The semicolon is not nearly as scary as it seems. Most of us overused the colon in High School, but once introduced to the semicolon we developed a tendency to back away from colons and semicolons all together. Though this does not have much of an impact on keywords or search engines, it can make quite a difference in the flow of your writing. Even readers who do not know how to use semicolons will naturally know how to read them.
Semicolons create a brief reading pause, and have three basic uses.
II) Hyphen: One thing that is important to remember is that a hyphen is different from a dash. Dashes designate “through,” (read pages 34-63) and are longer. There are two types (en and em dashes), but we will not get into that now. Hyphens are used with prefixes, combined adjectives, compound words, written-out numbers, and in some awkward word combinations to provide clarification. If in doubt, leave it out.
III) Apostrophes tell an interesting tale. They are generally used to denote possession or to form a conjunction. Apostrophes are of special interest to SEOs performing keyword research, because their presence can sometimes pull different results. Google has gotten pretty good at filtering out punctuation, but when you search “womens jeans” it asks, “Do you mean women’s jeans?” which takes you to different, but very similar, results. Google is getting smarter, but it probably provides different results purely based on the searches of others and their impact on the suggestion tool.
Know when to use apostrophes and you will avoid keyword mishaps, as well as misunderstandings. Feel free to use them in your keywords and title tags. Google is paying more attention to proper usage as opposed to common usage, despite the suggestion tool.
Phrases and Idioms
I hope these tips have helped! I welcome all feedback, both positive and negative. Feel free to challenge me, and stay tuned for next month’s tips!
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