Is search engine optimization killing professional writing?
When writing professionally, we should be focusing on conveying information in a clear manner. But I feel like search engine optimization, which jams keywords into your article, is taking away any finesse or flow to our writing. It would be like jamming a flashlight into a sculpture. Sure, more people would see it, but would that really make it better? The direction online writing is taking professional writing, is less about quality, and more about buzz words. Writing talent will cease to be needed to get views. Does anyone else feel this way?
There is a difference between real writing and 'Internet articles', that's for sure. I find that it is increasingly difficult to find quality material online and I think that's one of the reasons for this latest change by Google. Most of us are sick of finding garbage when we do a search for real information.
Professional writing is that which is done for money, to earn a living. Unfortunately, professional writing has lost its perceived value on the Internet because of the nature and novelty of this new form of communication. It's as if everyone were suddenly given a plumbing kit and the plumbers are put out of business. It isn't long though before drains are clogged and there is backup in the septic tank. That's pretty much what has happened with skills like writing and photography. Eventually, it will correct itself but it will take a while yet.
The writing on farm sites is not professional and relies on people who enjoy writing on an amateur basis but may be at many different levels of ability. This is where you see keywords and page views becoming more valuable because that is where the dollars lie for the owners of farm sites.
On the plus side, amateur writers can hone their skills and get feedback on their work. There is a sense of community and owners of these sites can make a very good living.
A less desirable aspect is that information becomes Wiki-like and not at all reliable. Professional writing is not part of the Internet at this level because everyone has a 'plumbing kit' and is busy doing it themselves.
Don't worry. It will change. Google has already started clearing some of the drains
Firstly, I agree with Silver Genes answer. It is expressed very well.
I think professional writers can use SEO and make an article readable. But there are far too many who simply have no business writing articles about subjects they have no credentials to be informing others about. Sometimes when landing on a page, I immediately click off if I see nothing but ads, or a teeny, tiny article which has clearly been spun across the web. I think Google is attempting to correct the mess it's created. It will take time before we see any real improvement.
I think that those who write only for SEO are a bit short sighted. I believe of course in incorporating some SEO into my websites - but I am also knowledgeable and experienced with all topics I write about. When you can do both - it makes it even better because the writing is still natural and solid.
I have built a large following on my websites over the years because I had passion for my subjects which I shared with others in ways that are engaging and that has brought me a lot of "word of mouth" traffic and repeat business that I never would have received doing "gimmicky" or sales pitchy writing. In the long run, that is what is going to increase my income and keep it that way for life.
I believe that the days of Google and other search engines rewarding sloppy writing will be over soon enough - and then people will have to really be able to write quality, engaging, and useful material. I long for that actually...
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