Writing for the search engines doesn’t have to mean writing badly


It seems copywriters are now writing more for search engines than for clients and their customers. Keywords are king.

There’s no point complaining about it. Up and coming copywriters undoubtedly embrace the situation. After all, they’ve never known anything else. And that’s fine. Change can be changed, if at all, only with great difficulty, and then change wins anyway.

If there’s a problem with reliance on having a certain number of keywords placed in certain strategic locations, it is that the process can lead to bad writing. It’s not only keywords being placed awkwardly because they have to be there; it’s that the rest of the writing comes second to keyword placement. Sometimes, it seems, keywords take precedence over everything: grammar, syntax, usage, proofreading, editing and so on.

Even terrible writers can place keywords. Unfortunately, awful writers don’t always seem to realize how awful they are, and they don’t ask for proofing and editing help. They just make sure the keywords are where they need to be in the right numbers and toss their trash on the Web.

Part of the problem might be that heavy reliance on keywords has reduced the value of good writing. In the eyes of companies who want their presence felt in the search engine rankings, nothing else matters. They’re willing to pay, although not much, for quantity over quality.

A reliance on quantity might be why an article that should take hours of research, writing, editing and proofing under normal circumstances pays $10 to $20 to the writer. He or she has to churn out one or two of the things an hour just to make a decent living.

There goes quality because there are plenty of people out there who will take the deal.

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