We’ve all likely seen the want-ads for SEO specialists that ask for the performance of miracles even Jesus would have trouble delivering, and might be more likely to flip a few tables about. These ads are yet another part of an endemic crises not only in the business world, but in society as a whole, where the necessary hard work, be it creating a worthwhile product or spending the time to perfect an artwork, is brushed aside in the belief that what one needs is a “killer” piece of marketing. Given the number of people looking for “killer” content, one might assume the business world subconsciously wants the consumer dead. While paying attention to your SEO is important, and always has been since the Writing 101 days, it is not a substitute for quality content.
Search Engine Optimization, as much as some might love it, suffers from at least one important fundamental flaw: the Googles of the world are actively working to subvert it. They’re paid more, they know more, and they will win. Not to malign the marketing professionals out there, but Google can afford the best and holds all the cards. You’re likely to have more success tilting at windmills than defeating the algorithm.
What’s left is creating quality content that consumers want to engage with, that meets their needs, and answers their questions. For the majority of content, good writing is key. The easiest solution is to hire an actual writer, but failing that, having paid attention in your introductory writing courses is a good first step. Unfortunately, and I can vouch from years of experience teaching such a course, that when we’re young and stupid, we don’t quite see the future value of understanding the writing process. Luckily, there’s plenty of good advice online, once you get past the “tips and tricks” and the lists.
Next week, I’ll be discussing ditching the list and cheap content.