In my January 11, 2011 post, Web 2.0 marketing opportunities” I offered to be your tour guide for some of the major features offered by this marvelous technology. I listed six features represented by the acronym SLATES: Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions and Signals. For no particular reason, I began in reverse order. Previous posts dealt with Signals (RSS – really simple syndication) and Extensions. In this week’s post we’ll deal with Tags, one of the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 technology. Wikipedia has many different definitions for the word “Tag”, however this post will deal with the definition from my original post:
“Tags – Categorization of content by users adding “tags” – short, usually one-word descriptions – to facilitate searching, without dependence on pre-made categories. Collections of tags created by many users within a single system may be referred to as “folksonomies” (i.e., folk taxonomies)”
Please, what’s this mean in English?…
This means content about a certain topic in which you might be interested may be found through a search based on a relevant tag (or word). Let’s say you are looking for information regarding “marketing” and you type that word into a Google (or Yahoo or AltaVista or Bing or MSN) search box. Content stored on the Internet, which has been appropriately “tagged” by the original author,with the keyword “marketing” would be located by that search engine and returned to you in a search results report, with a list of of links to sites which match your search criteria. Typically, the search engine reports back on hundreds to millions of web pages tagged “marketing”. The search report is ranked in order of the most likely results, i.e., the top ten, to the least likely results, i.e. the 999,999th result.
I know, you’re almost afraid to ask, what’s a folksonomy?…
Again, Wikipedia to the rescue:
“A folksonomy is a system of classification derived from the practice and method of collaboratively creating and managing tags to annotate and categorize content. This practice is is also known as collaborative tagging, social classification, social indexing and social tagging.”
Maybe TMI (too much information) but at least now you know, and it was part of the original definition in my previous post.
How does a search engine actually find all this stuff?…
Like me, I’m sure you have been awed by the sheer volume of information stored on the World Wide Web, and the speed at which a search results report is delivered back to you. Tags are the answer. When authors create content, whether it be content in a blog like this one or on a web site, they can (or should) identify and connect their content with tags, or keywords, This gives the search engines a means of scanning the web at the speed of light for matches to the query the viewer has typed into their search request box. To enable you to narrow down search results to your specific interest depends, in part, on adding more tags or keywords to your search query. For example, you can type “marketing plans” to narrow down your search to better target your needs. Many individual bodies of work cannot be adequately described by a single tag, therefore authors may attach or connect as many tags as they deem necessary to single piece of content or a web page.
So, how does this benefit me from a marketing perspective?…
I’m so glad you asked. Suppose you have created a marketing blog (like this one) or designed a “knock out” web site with e-commerce capability to sell your product. And suppose you don’t attach or connect “tags” to identify your blog content or web site. Then only those web users who already know about your blog or web site, because you supplied them with your hyperlink or URL web address, will be able to find your content. If your blog or website is “tagged” with the right keywords, then search engines at least have the means to direct potential new visitors to your blog or business.
There are slightly different means for “tagging” blog content and “web pages” but the end result is the same. So the title I have given this post, “Tag, you’re it!” was not dumb as you might have originally thought. The whole point of marketing through the Internet, is to become the IT everyone goes to.
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