The Sea of SEO

Great Blue Heron, copyright Ellen Wilson

Alright Class, time for a little teaching article…

First off, I will do the reductionist thing.  If I tell you that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is all about having your words recognized by Google, is the title of this article optimized for Google to find it?  No.  Google will look for sea and SEO, and comes up with SEO writers who write by the sea, and other such…stuff.  A better title would be SEO Defined, or How to Write SEO Articles.  Just like you would type it in Google.

The title of your articles, if you want them to be first and foremost recognized by Google is  crucial.  It is the first thing that Google bots will crawl to to find your words.  A bot, or a spider, is part of the techie lingo I won’t detail here.

Obviously, I do not do this very often with my articles.  Why?  The short answer is I don’t usually care.  And sometimes it is just down right boring.  What would I call my Writing the Wild Within Series?  Words and Animals?  How to Write Like a Jackass?  Some things are not easily defined.  But Google wants them to be.

If you have aspirations to becoming a professional and well played blogger, writing SEO is critical.  But it is really very simple – a bright 5 year old can do it.  So before a potential client asks you what you know about SEO, and you just smile brightly and say, “Everything!,” let me tell you the secrets…

SEO requires key words that Google will pick up.  Now notice the Great Blue Heron in the picture.  If I was writing for a scientific journal perhaps I would use the taxonomic for Great Blue Heron, Ardea herodias, within the body of the article usually not less then three times.  Three seems to be the magic number for SEO articles of 250-300 words in length.

But let’s face it, not many online scientific journals want SEO terminology.  Why?  Because scientific journals aren’t in the business of making money.  They are in the business of disseminating knowledge.  At least that’s what they say.

A more lucrative business is blogging for commercial profit.  Suppose you pick up a blogging job for a hotel chain.  You will add the name of the hotel in your article at least three times.  And sometimes you will be asked to imbed the name of the hotel within the article, so when you click on the link you come to the hotel and can check out a room, and etc., etc.,

What does this all have to do with Great Blue Herons?  They are used to sell terrific views at seaside hotel suites in Bahia Honda, Key West, Florida.   Everyone wants to see these birds flying around.

Which leads me to an controversial point.  Sometimes bloggers use their own voice (or make one up), instead of acting like an impartial representative selling a product.  This leads to accusations of false marketing claims, and is commonly called astroturfing in advertising or business circles.  Chris Garrett recently had an interesting article concerning this issue on his blog.

I would like to hear what you think about using your own voice (or making one up) in blogging for clients.  Is is ethical or moral?  Seth Godin says that all marketers are liars, so does it really matter anyway?

Photo Credit:  © Ellen Wilson

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