SEO and Algorithms Squish my Creativity
I remember the days when I could write blogs and articles for clients and get all creative with the titles and the headings. That was until SEO algorithms determined that headings have to match what people are typing into search engines.
Oh, the good old days were much more fun! I could pick a theme and run with it throughout the article; every heading a play on words or a twist of a song or movie title; thinking up a different angle for a famous phrase; using alliteration or puns.
Apparently, nobody searches “The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly Facts About Algorithms,” but rather, “How do Google algorithms work?” Or “What is an algorithm?” Or … pick your own dreary example beginning with “How,” “What,” “Why,” “When,” or “Where.”
The stark reality occurred to me some months back during a Skype call with a client when he mentioned that the headings in the articles I had submitted for his approval needed some work.
“Bookings Gone Wrong” for Bookings.com was not the best choice, but rather, “The Safest Way to Book Your Trip.” Sigh. Okay.
“But my headings are clever and creative.” I whined.
“Yeah, but they’re not SEO.”
He sent me a link to an article about creating Captivating Headings … Captivating my ass.
How to …
X number of ways …
The Secret …
The Best …
The Quickest …
The Easiest …
Meh – have people become as predictably boring as headings are supposed to be?
If being SEO compliant is my bread and butter as a content writer, then being creative has become as appealing to me as the forbidden fruit. Even with all the strict guidelines and regulations in place I try and think up ways to make my headings stand out from the rest but, alas, I get a wrap on the knuckles because they don’t match what people are searching.
“To Beard or Not To Beard” may be quirky and entertaining but “How to Grow a Beard” wins the search engine battle every time. Sigh. Okay.
“Scaling Seven Scary Summits” is simply splendid alliteration, but we have to go with “Which mountains are the highest?” Sigh. Okay.
And don’t get me started with optimizing keywords. No-one, absolutely no-one, likes keyword stuffing, but those keywords have to be there for our ever-present SEO-bots. Hats off to all the content writers out there who manage to add the right keywords ‘naturally’ to the </H1>s and </H2>s and in the body of the text. We are the unsung geniuses of the creative world, earning our keep whilst labouring under the stuffy cloak of algorithmic restrictions.
I am sure all content writers start out as creative writers who, dreaming of earning a living from their wordsmithery, take to the Wide Web, present a love offering of blogs and short stories and maybe a novel or two to the world, and hope for a portion of fame and fortune in return.
Creative writers who work as content creators are put in a box quicker than Yeost can rate a blog. They are assigned a rate per hour that pales compared to their creative value, and then they are told what to write about, what headings to use, what keywords to put in, how many words to use, and to do it all using the predetermined tone and voice all the while sounding natural and creative, etc., ad nauseam.
So why do I do it? Why not stop writing and get a ‘real’ job. I know that creative writing doesn’t pay – until I get my lucky break. However, I have to eat while I wait for said break.
I love writing, and I’m good at it. It’s a bonus getting paid for doing something I love – even if it’s not the liberally free creative writing I crave. Earning my keep from offering my services as a content writer gives me hope that I will prosperously earn my keep from my creative writing one day.
There are more than 1.5 billion English speaking people on this planet; I just need 1% of them to buy my book or read my blogs. Please.
My book, entitled Salvations Psalm, is available as a paperback or eBook on Amazon Kindle.
- Read it as a book
- Read it as 31 poems
- Read it as a 31-Day devotional
- Put it in your guest room or waiting room
- Buy it as a gift for others
This creative content writer thanks you from the bottom of her heart.