It seems like an obvious question, but I think it is important to analyse the reasons for SEO and decide whether it is so important as to have an overriding effect on what gets written in the name of the internet.
Firstly, for the uninitiated, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation; which in simple terms means: Putting the correct words in the correct places to elevate a post’s position in the league tables. I accept that this is an oversimplification of the truth, but that is basically what using SEO does.
I have no problem with it and I understand its importance to business. My issue here is the practise of using keywords just for the sake of it and ‘Keyword stuffing’ to generate more traffic. I have witnessed some terrible writing practices in the name of SEO and I feel that it should stop… Immediately.
As writers, we write to humans, not the internet, and it is humans that will read our work and decide on whether to click on a post or a website, based on the words that they see. I accept that a one thousand word essay on the joys of food mixer ownership is going to bore the pants of most people and will undoubtedly lead to a ‘click’ to a more interesting and useful article, but can we not keep ‘keywords’ to the title? or even a very short introductory paragraph?
Writing is an art form and as such, should be enjoyed by all who see it. We create pictures with words and entice the reader in with beautiful prose that they want to read, to experience and to relish. The internet is undoubtedly a powerful medium but let us not forget that writing, in all forms, has been used for thousands of years. Let us not destroy it with mechanical and meaningless copy.