Thursday, March 4, 2010

BIKE PUMP; or: Why Google is making us all TERRIBLE writers!

Thanks a lot, Google. Because of you, the art of writing is being lost -- to the science of search-engine optimization.

Clearly, the minds behind Google don't care much about good writing, for the algorithms they've created to "rank" pages put the highest value on repetition and density of key words and phrases. This results in a very stilted, redundant style of writing that certainly doesn't flow off the tongue (or out of the word processor) very easily.

Let's say you're writing an article on the best bicycle pumps -- an arguably valuable resource for bicyclists. Now, of course, in the world of the Internet, there are probably thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of Web pages that contain information about bike pumps. And in order for readers to receive your valuable insights, they must first find your article. Thus, the importance of gaining a high page ranking: It greatly increases your chances of catching readers' attention.

This has forced a complete change in the way writers research and compose their articles.

Instead of starting your article off with an interesting statistic, say, or a personal anecdote, and then letting the story flow naturally and pleasingly into your list or descriptions of bicycle pumps, the first thing you need to do is do a little key-word research. This will yield a determination that the phrase "bike pump" is actually the most-searched term in Google.

That's the key phrase you need to use -- and you MUST be sure to incorporate it into both your headline and the first sentence, and then use it every 20 words or so on average. The resulting copy looks something like this:

Bike Pump Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Bike pump
blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bike pump blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Bike Pump blah blah blah bike pump blah blah blahblah blah blahblah blah blahblah blah bike pump blah blah blah blah blah blah. Bike blah blah pump blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bike pump.

Now, to be fair, you're allowed -- even encouraged -- to use up to five similar or related key words and phrases, such as "bicycle air pump," "tire pump" and "bicycle pumps."

Oh, joy! Your sparkling copy will now resemble something like:

Bike Pump Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah

Bike pump blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bicycle pumps blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah. Tire pump blah blah blah bike pump blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah bicycle air pump blah blah blah blah. Bike blah blah pump blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah bicycle pumps.

Ahhh ... SO much better!!!

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