I guess you could say SEO is the “Video Killed the Radio Star” of the blogosphere. I am not new to blogging, but I have just begun the part of blogging where I care what other people think, i.e. Care about tracking page views, cultivating a following, building trust and evolving to make an impact with my readers. I’ve read and researched and listened to podcasts from the “industry leaders” and successful bloggers and media mavens and marketing guru’s and there is one overarching theme that one says will undoubtedly impact your success. SEO.
SEO is what is presented as the art of cultivating content that is readable not only by actual human people, but by search bots, in order to give you a higher ranking and your content easier to find by actual human people. Your readers, if you are going to have any, rely on your knowledge not only of your niche, but of SEO, so that you can deliver them information easily.
I have spent hours on numerous websites deciphering and cracking the code to craft the perfect, SEO optimized headline, followed the tips and suggestions of various plug-ins to make my content more readable and I have come to realize that SEO can fuck off. I have thought up so many witty and PUNderful post titles, I have peppered my content with slick references that will tickle the intellect of my readers, and we will sit, simultaneously on opposite end of the blogosphere, chuckling heartily at my dry humor and quit wits. That is how I envisioned my blogging, and let me tell you, none of my wonderful words or the way that I craft them together in a blanket of information is optimized for search engines. According to all these fancy tools and tricks I am a damned idiot with no readability and my despite having fantastic post titles, I will never become more than a speck on windshield of a speeding internet train.
It sucks. I am hella creative. Superbly honest. I’m pretty damned funny when I get the urge. I am not a rule fool, following blindly and filling my content with fluffy bull shit to get ranked higher in Google. Or am I?
I am no marketing genius. In fact, my expertise lies in a degree field pertaining almost strictly to international relations, policy and military strategy. I know, weird. But I do understand that the social fabric with which the internet is woven and I understand that social media and post engagement is an organic system on which we rely for our informational output & input.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past where writing was a creative outlet, and people sought out a writer or stumbled upon the words haphazardly. There was no targeted keywords and post promos or site boosts. Where engagement was genuine instead of forced reciprocity, where the foundations were true. The desire to rank high, to have perfectly optimized content that will attract the most amount of readers has driven writers to abandoned their creative process and take up marketing in its place. Perhaps this is the reason that I have blogged for 7 years without worrying about readership, I’m a shitty advertiser. That may or may not be the case, but I don’t want to have to forgo, or opt out of my creative genius just to appease the search bots to garner some numbers and attract the “right amount” of followers to be successful. Click Bait. I hear the term all the time and read it as a warning from all the “how-to” people. I might be a creative genius but I couldn’t write a click bait title if I tried. And it just so happened that I always fall for the shit, too. There are some media outlets, major news sources, that just get me Every. Damn. Time. I can’t even give you a decent example of click bait but I know that it’s bull shit.
Post and title key words? I won’t lie, I haven’t quite figured out the real reason that one would need to title a post and then give the post a second title just for search engines. This right here is what I am talking about when your creative genes begin to wither. Maybe there are people out there who don’t compromise their words for the sake of SEO and still have a large gaggle of followers… maybe those are the people who should be writing tutorials on how to keep your integrity as a writer and still attract readers. I’d click.
Isn’t there some sort of responsibility as a part of the organic social media fabric that we as writers must adhere to? Is there some way that we can better our output in the name of creativity rather than for points? Perhaps I have overlooked so much in my attempts to tailor my content to being hyper-readable. Well, to quote Korn. Fuck That.