SEO Advice: beware of homos and heteros

Homonyms, Heteronyms, Homophones, and Homographs

  • Homonyms sound alike but have different meanings.
  • Homophones sound alike but have different meanings and spellings.
  • Homographs are spelled the same but have different meanings.
  • Heteronyms are spelled the same but have different meanings and sounds.

What does that have to do with SEO?  Well, if you use Google Adwords or other forms of pay-per-click advertising then you want to make sure that you are not wasting your money on people who click your ad but are expecting something else.

Likewise, if you are going to exert a significant amount of effort on search engine optimization to rank for a certain keyword phrase, you want to make sure that you get the right traffic, qualified traffic, and not just any traffic.

If you care about return on investment (ROI) of your search optimization efforts then you want to make sure that the people you drive to your website are those you want to visit your website, i.e., those who will buy from you, give you money, and/or do what you want them to do.  Driving people to your website only for them to click the Back button does not help you or them, unless you are getting paid simply to drive traffic, any traffic.  In that case, then go for the homos and heteros.

homonyms have the same sound

homographs have the same spelling

What do the four photos below have in common?

They are all “nail technicians.”   All four are homonyms and homographs

Two happen to be male nail technicians.  Two happen to be blonde nail technicians.  Two work in nail salons.  Two work in construction.  One is sexy, one is not.

What does this mean? It is important to be specific with your keywords or else you will waste your PPC dollars and your SEO effort.  If you want to drive qualified traffic to your website, those in the final stages of their buying or hiring decision process, you want to be specific and focus on the long-tail keyword phrases.

Examples of long-tail keyword phrase for these photos might be:

  • Male Vietnamese manicurist
  • Female female manicurist
  • Sexy blonde female construction worker with hammer
  • Mail construction worker with hydraulic hammer