Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Clear Communication or Search Engine Hits?

Last week, there was a thought provoking article in The Philadelphia Inquirer about the over use of jargon in today's business world. The article, "Too Many Firms Use Jargon to Convey Ideas,” written by Stacey Burling brought about some interesting points of communications that PR professionals and writers deal with on a daily basis.

Search Engine Optimization seems to be the reason for confusing and long business explanations. The idea is that the more keywords you use in your blog or website, the easier it will be for your consumers to find you in search engine results.

Burling’s article quotes Rich Sherman, an Austin, Texas, marketing consultant, who defended a business description that he wrote for one of his clients. According to the article, “Sherman, said his target readers were supply-chain managers and trade-press writers, not reporters for daily newspapers. ‘It is not our strategic intent for you to understand,’ he told an Inquirer reporter.”
Has clear communication been lost? Should communicators and marketers focus on clarity and understanding or focus on being the first hit on a Google search? As a recent college graduate, professors constantly emphasized the need for clear and concise writing in public relations. Writing with an audience in mind is important to craft messages that can be understood. How can your message make a difference if your audience is confused? In my opinion, businesses with vague mission statements and long-winded explanations of who they are and what they do are only more prone to be lost in the shuffle.

I would have to agree with a fellow blogger, Joe Ferry (, when he said clear communication should be a bigger concern then search engine optimization.

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