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That’s Rich: Glass by any other name

October 25, 2023  By Rich Porayko


Looking to ignite a debate? Pose the question to a crowd of glass geeks: which term is more suitable, “pattern glass” or “textured glass”? For me, I lean towards textured glass. It has a captivating ring that gives off a vibe of sophistication and elegance. “Pattern glass” is so 1840. Yes, you heard me. It’s dated. It kills me a little bit every time I need to use it. Once upon a time, I found myself embroiled in a compelling personal struggle for the industry to stop using the phrase pattern glass. And then a few years back, I posted a poll on LinkedIn and discovered that apparently, I was wrong. I was in the minority. Even though it wasn’t scientific, the poll results and comments were clearly in favour of “pattern glass.” I flipflopped and re-added (gag) “pattern glass” back to my wordsmithing repertoire. I will die before I use “patterned glass.” Fast-forward to October 2023 keyword competitive strategy research. This is scientific. At the time of writing, according to a well known SEO tool, in the last 30 days, there were 1,000 Google searches for “pattern glass” in the United States. Almost nothing. “Obscure glass” ranked a little higher at 1,900 Google searches in the U.S. There were 5,400 searches for “textured glass.” This is where I like to do my superior dance. 

Earlier this year, Goldray’s Laura Little started several lively LinkedIn discussions on one-way vs. two-way mirrors. Subject matter experts from the glass and arts and design space chimed in, supporting both options. So, who’s right? The fabricators, designers or manufacturers? Some say the debate is still going on but according to the court of public opinion, two-way mirrors (9,900) are being searched for almost twice as much as one-way mirrors (5,500). That’s good enough for me. When a significant number of people refer to something with a specific name, it becomes its known identity. Kleenex and Xerox serve as notable examples, where names transcended the brand itself. 

“Frosted glass”? Pfft, who are you, noob? No one calls it that. This was my fixed-glass snob mindset for way too long. There were an insignificant 880 searches for “satin etch glass” in the U.S. over the last 30 days versus 12,100 for “frosted glass.” I’ll take that crow-sandwich now. Nom, nom.

Up until 2023, I would have vehemently opposed using the term “bulletproof” professionally. You know that person who would correct someone who accidently dropped the term ‘bulletproof’? That was me. I’m sorry. Don’t be me. I have since discovered that there were 30,000 searches for “bulletproof” in the last 30 days versus 30 searches for “ballistic-rated.” You can be right and reach 30 people or you can follow the data and reach up to 30,000. 

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Which words are right? All of them. Even the misnomers. From a search engine optimization point of view, if a word or phrase such as “bulletproof” is a common household expression that is far outranking the more accurate industry terms, include it in your marketing materials. Especially anything remotely connected to your website or social media. 

Cover your bases and interchange terminology variations based on search activity, emphasizing the higher searched terms more often. I promise that it is uncomfortable. You are not writing to be a bestselling novel or for your peers at a conference. You are writing for Google search engine optimization. It has taken me a long time to wrap my head around this. 

If customers are searching for your products or services and can’t find them because the terms they are using don’t match up with your marketing language, whose fault is that? I would argue that it is not the customers. Focus on the reader or the audience not just yourself. In today’s digital era, marketing copy is crafted to capture the attention of Google. Instead of being reader-centric, it now aims to resonate with the frequently searched terms by non-industry individuals. 

By using industry terms and more common phrases customers are familiar with, you can improve the overall success of your campaigns. Crafting copy that speaks to both nerds and everyday consumers will ensure that you reach the largest possible target audience. It’s also important to remember the transformation towards voice-search-optimized language and to stay ahead of these trends so that you don’t get lost in the folds of a Google search engine. Learning how to speak the language of your customers is key when competing for visibility online. •


Rich Porayko is business development director for Fenestration Canada Commercial


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