For a guy who’s written hundreds of software reviews and the occasional piece on theater, I don’t talk very much about reviews. IYM Software Review was a seminal player in on-line content, and I love playing with software, but my duties as a business change agent and Search Engine Optimization Consultant greatly reduce the time I have to play with minutiae.

A couple of months ago, I did have a chance to talk about reviews when I told you about my experience at one of New York City’s many “hot brunch spots”. In this piece on Penelope, I asked whether you could pay Yelp for a good review.

The point of that piece was not so much to pick on either Penelope or Yelp as to point out the importance of Search Engine Optimization. But SEO has two components; yes, you want Search Engines to find you, but you also want the content that Search Engines rank you as important for to be useful to the readers who land on it. As I mentioned in the Penelope piece, reviews need to be viewed with a wary eye, especially when numerical rankings are assigned.

Turns out the words matter, too,

In this piece at Freakonomics, we see just how much the way a piece is written impacts results. And while you might believe that getting people to your web site is the only thing that matters, it just isn’t so. Want proof? Think about your own reaction to sloppy reviews; I’ll bet you’ve found yourself asking  “wow, why would I trust something that was written so poorly?“.

This is sort of an indictment of the Twitter and services like it, where brevity is (almost) everything. You can even draw some conclusions about the sloppy and unfocused nature of social networking in general. But at the end of the analysis, there’s a simple lesson:

Even On The Internet, What You Say And How You Say It Still Matters.

The details of what that means and how you should address it are difficult to wrap up neatly, of course. It’s the reason we’re able to do so much good for our clients with our Search Engine Optimization and SEO Consulting Services; as I’ve said, you can do SEO yourself, but managing and tracking the context and technical details of your web site is hard enough before you add content quality questions.

The bottom line on this is truly simple: when you post something on the Internet, you must make sure that it represents you in the way you want the world to see you. And we all learned that by the time we were about ten years old, right?

Sometimes, business change means doing exactly what you’ve always known how to do . . . again.

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