In their September e-newsletter, Merriam-Webster had this to say about which words usually make their monthly Top Twenty Looked Up Words list:
“What we do see, for the most part, are familiar words that are looked up on a daily basis and not news-driven words that come and go.”
This theme comes up in conversations about social media. Overnight success is a fantasy. Bit.ly estimates that links don’t really get much traction after a few hours, no matter where you post them; A site called Geek Estate suggests a real estate agent should expect to invest at least 18 months’ worth of work before her blog earns money.
Good content over time gets the search engine juice. No surprises there. In the same newsletter, Merriam-Webster said that news oftentimes drives up a word’s look-up frequency, but those look-ups don’t bump the word up into the big gun Top Twenty group. It’s like the difference between liposuction and a lifestyle change. Sure, you could keep throwing surgery at your “problem areas” but you’ll just keep going through the overeat->overpacked lipid cells->liposuction circle. A lifestyle switch that included exercise and healthy eating would be less taxing on the wallet, the body, and the spirit, and would effect a long-term change. You’d be in a healthy lifestyle and a mindset, instead of self-defeating loop.
What are the words you “look up” on a daily basis? I don’t mean the words unfamiliar to you. I mean to ask what are the words that are your core favorites, your old standards? For this blog, mine are (in no particular order):
2. User Education
3. Media Psychology
Here’s how I define them:
“Technology” I define as behavioral design in tech, specifically web applications. My “User Education” is information meant to comfort, then cajole the end-user into safer use of the Internet. “Media Psychology” as a term is new and isn’t yet in the M-W dictionary, but my formal definition is this:
“Media Psychology: the study of group or individual behavior (especially mental and social processes like perception, learning, thinking, sharing) that influences or is influenced by mass communication structures.”
I remind myself of those words and definitions each time I post here. Those areas are my work focus. I use Twitter, Facebook, and G+ for other, on-and-off-topic meandering. I don’t bother with “black-hat” search engine optimization smarminess. I also, in turn, don’t expect a lot of comments or inbound links. Growth over time will build my search engine muscle, i.e. my “look-up” frequency. People will find me eventually. People always find real content eventually, and good content finds them.
What words are in your Top Twenty list?
Let me know in the comments.
Grammar Girl’s Affect vs. Effect post: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/affect-versus-effect.aspx
Bit.ly’s half life of a link post: http://blog.bitly.com/post/9887686919/you-just-shared-a-link-how-long-will-people-pay
GeekEstate’s 18 month post: http://www.geekestateblog.com/why-it-usually-takes-18-months-to-make-money-from-your-real-estate-site/