or search engine optimization is useful for Google but it should not be a
concern of writers unless you are writing for a business. Many
bloggers just want to contribute to the national or cultural discourse. Different
types of blogs require different sets of SEO criteria. It is easy to see why
Google would like to critique blogs without actually reading them. There are
thousands of blogs and reading is time consuming.
panels of readers to take an in-person approach to critiquing blogs would be
quite expensive, although when you look at the net worth of Blogger™, which
derives from its blog authors, such panels probably are financially doable. If
actual inspectors can go out to restaurants to determine quality and
cleanliness and adherence to health rules, it would at least make sense to hire
“inspectors” who would sample blogs on the internet.
has not been established that creativity and the quality of something as
abstract as writing can be judged by mathematical formulas and artificial
intelligence (AI). I don’t think the state of the art has reached this point
yet and I am not convinced that it ever will. How could an algorithm find a gem
in any given blog post, that one idea or statement that sets it apart from
a series of Blogger prizes would be more appropriate. Business sites could be
ranked with a system of stars and prizes awarded to best business sites. The
same kinds of prizes could be offered in areas like how-to blogs and opinion
blogs and news blogs and fashion blogs, etc. The number of categories could be
kept small or there could be many categories thus giving more bloggers a chance
sometimes write about topics that produce hundreds of thousands of search
results. How would a small blogger, even one with something original to add,
ever rise to the top of such a search without some kind of manipulation? I
doubt if even talented SEO-savvy bloggers could appear at the top of the
searches which produce mega results.
SEO rules are not appropriate if you wish to write creatively. If you have to
mention your most important key words in your first sentence and your last
sentence, structural variety goes out the window. Planning ahead to get your
key word/s once in bold, once in italics, and once underlined plays havoc with
literary conventions, e.g. if you write about books, titles are given in bold
print, subtitles or magazine articles in italics. These kinds of structural
requirements interrupt the very kinds of “fresh” writing that the internet
When writing articles based on internet research it is important
to credit your sources. But I am learning, in my reading about SEO that links
to outside articles are bad and should be used only if surrounded by a “do not
follow” code. I wonder how many bloggers know the proper code for this. Even
after reading the code in my textbook on SEO I don’t have a clue how to use it.
I guess you can give a footnote that is not an actual link but you would have
to do something more time-consuming than copying and pasting URL’s.
know that writers write to guidelines all the time. Publishers have guidelines,
magazines have guidelines, grant proposals have guidelines and writers learn to
use these guidelines every day. But these are often guidelines about length,
format, etc, things that do not ruin the flow of the prose. And there is always
the possibility that if the recipient/publisher really likes the content s/he
may overlook the rules.
current SEO process leaves out the human factor, and while it is interesting as
sort of a robot experiment, it is unlikely to sort out the best bloggers using
the sorts of inclusions I have seen so far in my little SEO text. Is there a
similar algorithm-based process for photography and other art forms? I doubt
that there is this “untouched by human hand or mind” process for these forms of
still feel like I am cheating when I try to deliberately build these robot
signals into my blog. (There is, of course, also the fact that I still don’t
know how to utilize SEO because my computer literacy doesn’t extend this far.)
Bloggers and what they do should be separate from SEO and what Google does with
it. I don’t think bloggers have any business trying to deliberately skew
content to rise in a search engine. Google is experimenting with search engine
optimization at the expense of honest bloggers who spend their time trying to
create gripping content.
Google needs to humanize their efforts to rank
bloggers. Do I still have to learn this SEO stuff or have I made my point? Well
I very much doubt it Google will change course based on anything I have to say.
Perhaps more people need to offer a point of view about this. However, I do hope
I don’t get “sandboxed”. Yikes!
By Nancy Brisson
This blog post is also available at http://brissioni.com/