Has writing for search engines killed, creativity, communication, common sense?
Same company. Same products/services. But opening new office (franchise) in new location. Being asked to make website for new branch 100% unique from "parent" branch site. Being told "we're not writing for people, we're writing for search engines." Seems like an exercise in brand dilution to me. Anyone else finding it frustrating to take good copy and randomly change words just to satisfy search engines? Brand dilution, perhaps?
Well..(tee hee) the SEO are the ones supplying the money...so we try to give them what the want so to get exposed in this technological world. But there are still avenues for expression, we just have to be creative in locating those little veins of gold!
I honestly spend more time on keyword research than I do in actually writing my articles. But I look at it more as a creative writing exercise from school. But many hubbers do not pay attention to tags and they seem to be getting just as much traffic.
Bad SEO is like bad student poetry: they're looking for words to fit the rhyme (or algorithm) instead of looking for the words that MEAN something to people.
There's nothing wrong with using search traffic records to figure out what words people tend to type when they're searching for the topic you're writing about, and then USING the same terms that your particular audience uses. That's finding a common language.
There's nothing wrong with using search traffic records to figure out, "Hey, a lot of my visitors are coming to look for X and Y, so let me make sure my page is ABOUT X and Y and answers their questions. Or, if that's not the right audience for my content, maybe I need to use different language so that search engines send the readers who really ARE interested in what I have to say."
In both cases, you have something to say; you're just looking for common language with your readers.
Bad SEO is when you don't have something to say and chase popular searches.
Bad SEO is when you don't know what you're talking about, so you use SEO to try to trick people into visiting your page when you don't, in fact, have the content they're interested in.
Good SEO is like having a really great coffee stand, then using clever marketing and a cute, easily-visible sign to help people find it.
Bad SEO is like selling really AWFUL coffee, then paying people to shill about how good the coffee is and sticking "come try my coffee!" flyers on every car parked in a ten block radius. Sorry, you gotta start with having good coffee (i.e. good content), then it's okay to use fun marketing techniques to help attract coffee drinkers.
Since the Penguin algorithm kicked in I have become more aware of the fact that Google is looking for "White Hat SEO", with original and excellent content being the number one focus.
I now spend less time writing with keywords in mind. Instead, I just "let it flow" so that I can communicate my message to my readers as naturally as possible. In doing so, I can become more creative and in tune with my writing.
Finally, when reviewing my content before publishing it, I'll go back over the content and then add in important keywords to serve as "hooks" to appease the search engines. It's so much easier than trying to write content around keywords.
So in answer to your question, I would be much more inclined to write completely new content for your second office. Rather than diluting the brand, make the second franchise stand out completely on its own with fresh, unique content.
I think writing for search engines has killed creativity and communication for a lot of people. Personally, I could care less about SEO and writing for search engines. If I write for a search engine, then that means I'm writing for the machine. I say fiddlesticks to the frickin machine--I'm writing for warm-blooded humans. I'm trying to wake people up, not some stupid spider web called the Internet and SEO. If I'm not writing for people, then I'm writing for myself. I'll never write for search engines because I'm not about money anyway. I'm comfortable. Search engines can't comment on my writings like a warm-blooded intelligent human can. You're right, that is brand dilution. Next thing you know, just about everyone's writings will be sounding the same. Well, not mine. If I only have 10 followers, so be it. I'll never play the SEO game.
Like Movielardatadare, I write from my heart and much like I speak. "Writing to the machine" is not something I plan on doing, and I don't care if I don't make money from my hubpages - I'm more interested in putting my thoughts out there and having others respond - that is where the value lies for me in Hubpages. It is validating to find other people who agree with you, and possibly open your eyes to new directions of thought. I know I should take more care with the tags to improve my results, but since I just started writing hubs I will worry about that more later. Thanks for this insightful article - I like people who broaden my horizons with their writing!
Yes,unfortunately I think it most likely has! Personally I find the whole idea of SEO ridiculous. To me, as a conscientious writer who chooses worlds carefully anyway to suit the context of the article and convey the most apt message to the reader, why should I choose words to please an automaton? It seems like in order to earn more than a pittance on HubPages, I have to compromise and 'sell my soul to the devil,' so to speak. I'm only just beginning to change my articles to make them more SEO friendly and hope to do this without detracting from their original meaning too much and without it taking up the time I should really be spending on writing new material.
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