04.25.2018

SEO or Style: Which Approach Accounts for Good Web Content?

Once upon a time, writers who considered themselves creative fine-tuned their sentences, juggled with words and allowed their imagination to run loose. This process led to the development of unique content, lyrics written in an immanent style, delivering insights concerning the authors own distinct personality. Nowadays, there is the internet - a platform that seduces an ever-increasing number of mentally-lazy people to steal ideas and plunder content. The consequence: Creativity shrinks and shrivels. Articles and slogans lose their authenticity, sounding trivial, flat and empty. An outcome that leaves no reader and their use of language unaffected; the common vocabulary gradually recedes, our diction degenerates.

It is thus not without reason that the last bastion of passionate writers refuses to submit to Google's rigid dictation but they are fighting a losing battle. Those who want to be found in the world wide web, unavoidably have to subdue themselves to the ranking algorithm of the search engine. "Content is king" - so it was once claimed. But the king is dead. Thoughtfulness has witnessed its ceremonial farewell, creativity was laid to rest and originality has long since been buried. Nowadays, the keyword is king - or so it is perceived by many writers. They see themselves helplessly exposed to a repressive and freedom-limiting reign, which only fosters submissive people, competently pandering to its tastes.

And this is true in a sense: Only writers, who weave Google-preferred terminology into their texts, have a chance of being found and read on the internet. But actually, this is not yet that dramatic! After all, those who write should tune into their target audience. An article that addresses a specific audience must comply with the corresponding tonality and contain appropriate specialist vocabulary. Otherwise, the author will appear unprofessional and amateurish. By jotting down relevant keywords before texting, you will come to realize that doing so can be strongly inspiring and helpful. But at the same time be aware that a language too aligned and pale will be penalized with disregard by the reader.

The reader longs to be surprised

Terms like "innovative" and "low-priced" are hackneyed to an extent that they almost sink into oblivion. Why should the reader pay attention to promises made by every second brand, why take claims seriously that the lion's share of all companies pride themselves in? Such phrases neither bind nor stick; they will plainly be overread and ignored. On the other hand, the internet is jam-packed with textual commonplace that neither springs from the passion of writing, nor from an urge to inform, but merely fulfils its one target of generating traffic. Accordingly, it must be very refreshing and memorable for the reader, to be surprised with unconventional wordings once in a while.

Sad truth: The quest for a proper phraseology is more and more neglected in the age of SEO. At the same time, however, Google has a reasonable interest in being fed with top quality content. After all, a functioning search engine is supposed to deliver good answers with every search request. Accordingly, when ranking articles and entries, Google increasingly considers quality criteria like orthography and readability as important evaluation measurements. But either way, language - especially when it comes to marketing - serves not only as a means of communication. It is supposed to convince, to fascinate, to inform and to inspire. Articles must not only find but bind their readers!

Web texting is thus a balancing act - a good article must contain as many common and conventional keywords as possible, without sounding dull and trite. An appeal to all writers out there: Avoid the easiest track; texting is an adventure, play with your language. We are no longer carving our sentences on stone tablets. Be courageous - and the reader will be grateful!

Janina Raschdorf