Friday, June 13, 2008

The SEO-cret is out

I'm supposed to be writing about the history of nurse hats today. I'm not feeling it.

Listen: Articles on such topics are used by internet marketing companies to drive traffic to their sites. They don't do this by getting traffic through the links, but by simply building up the amount of links that point to the site, which makes Google like the site better. This is called "organic" search engine optimization, or organic SEO, and is often represented with incredibly clever graphics like this:

That's the big internet secret folks. And that is what I do all day. I magnify my keyboard.

So far I have written articles on exciting topics such as the history of the chef hat (there seems to be a hat theme), women's importance to cuisine, the saftey of molecular distillation of fish oil, the history of the dog collar, how to get envelopes printed, why you should recycle your used business machines, and how in-flight cellular phone service works. And so on.

Needless to say, I have become an expert on speed-research. I know nothing and care nothing about many of these topics, but they are becoming my online legacy.

Jeremy Bentham. Learned about him from research on animal rights, not from philosophy class!

Some article sites allow users to attribute articles to pen names. Some do not. The former must be aware of how an aspriring writer may not want to associate him or herself with SEO article writing. The latter either hadn't thought of that issue, or they are trying to make SEO writing seem more reputable. They require authors with verified email addresses and real human names. One actually had me submit writing samples. If you've ever read any articles from online databases, you know the writing is painful to look at. Of course I try to rise above, but I also have a job to do. If you ever Google me, be prepared for the worst.

I am happy, at least, that I get to write as part of my job. Although there are days when I want to chop off my fingers for the offenses they've committed against me on the keyboard, and there are days when I want to gouge out my eyes after agonizing over the perfect Google image of Atlantic cod or a Baroque dog collar, I should be grateful. I'm not slinging hash and I'm not selling crap (not directly anyway), and I get to make myself write daily.

A "Cartesian" collar. If your dog is whining he must have a broken cog.

I just hope this kind of writing doesn't lodge itself in my brain like a disease and eat away at my creative and academically inclined neurons. I am actually taking a course in the fall to help me write even better articles (Corporate and Professional Communication). I just have to do my best to keep business and pleasure separate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I publish all the comments, the good, the bad and the ugly. Unless I have no idea what you're saying. If you want to email me (with only good I hope), I'm at rbyrd [at] niu [dot] edu.