SEO stands for search engine optimization. The whole point of SEO writing is to make search engines like Google and Bing think your site is hot shit. Think of the whole of the internet like a vast ocean. Your website is a teensie-weensie raft in the middle of that ocean. And oh, by the way, your raft just happens to be blue.
Now, the search engines are like helicopter pilots flying overhead at thousands and thousands of feet. The chances of those pilots seeing your blue raft in the middle of the blue ocean aren’t so good unless you’ve got some kind of tool to help you out. Say, a mirror. You use the mirror to reflect the sun’s light and all of a sudden those helicopter pilots are all, “Dude! What’s down there?” and “Whoa! We better check that out!” And then they swoop in with things you need like transportation to dry land, some bottled water, and maybe a Snickers bar.
Just in case you haven’t already figured it out, SEO is the mirror in this analogy. Using the words and phrases that people actually type into search engines in your written content can indicate to a search engine that your web page is relevant to the query. The more relevant you are, the higher you are listed in the rankings and the more likely someone is to click through to your site.
And life on the internet is all about clicks.
|Photo by Alisson Gothz|
@DivineWrite explains the hubbub petty well in his article, “If you’re an article spinner, you’re a spammer. Man up and admit it!” You see, some people practice shady SEO tactics like keyword stuffing and article spinning. With no regard for the actual readers of a given web site or article, they just start cramming keywords all over the page in an attempt to fool the search engines. They may also write one legitimate article and then rearrange the words a billion different ways. That, folks, is what we mean by spinning.
If this spamming “works” the end result is that people click through to junk sites. It’s kind of like a Rickroll, only without the kick-ass 80s music. And as my good colleague pointed out already, these men and women are spammers. Big. Fat. Spammers.
The SEO Philosophy Continuum
As a result, SEO is a double-edged sword. It’s potentially genuine usefulness and propensity to create utter rubbish have people divided. A number of philosophies have sprung up regarding its use in web writing. You can hire writers at virtually any place on the continuum:
- Some copywriters are too good for SEO. They see it as nothing more than trickery and deception, and they won’t have anything to do with it.
- Others are not opposed to it in theory, they’re just reluctant to use the term to sell themselves because it has some negative connotations. They may write SEO content for clients, but they don’t usually brag about it.
- Some writers believe in the power of SEO to help businesses and consumers. They hope that one day it will be used only for good and not evil. They live and write by an SEO code of ethics. (I am proud to be one of these copywriters.)
- Others embrace it wholeheartedly and will do anything for a click, reasoning that it’s about the client. To make money in this world, you simply do what the client wants the cheapest way possible.
So what do you do if you’re a site owner looking for content? Relax! There are plenty of ethical writers out there. A good SEO writer might cost more, but she will do things for you the others won’t—like advise you when things get a little fishy. That protects you and consumers. And who wouldn’t like to have one less thing to worry about?