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SEO murdered decent writing (then danced on its grave)

Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Illustration showing 3 silhouetted figures gathered around a monument in a grave yard.

I wasted an hour looking for something interesting to read.

Every page opened, every paragraph read was an incomprehensible nightmare. Stories didn't flow. Repetition interrupted thoughts. A mass of meaningless words thrown together to sate the appetite of a machine.

We're so busy chasing rankings and cramming in keywords we've forgotten how to write. How to put passion on the page. How to say what we mean instead of what we think a search engine wants to process.

An hour wasted reading variations on the same theme. The same keywords. Sentence patterns. Pithy attempts at self-revelation because an SEO "expert" somewhere decided that's what gets clicks.

I have long advocated digging past "Page 1" on Google. Pick somewhere deeper in the results because that's where the real excitement is. That's where people who write with passion lurk. The ones with real scars they'll bravely show to the world. Their nuggets of heart-felt wisdom buried under tonnes of "optimized" dross piling up above them in the rankings as we (yes, I am guilty) try and write something a little bit better than whatever was on page 1 yesterday.

An hour wasted wading through text that's been created by ChatGPT and "corrected" with Grammarly. Robbed of its personality in the process.

By all means use spell check. Fix the obvious mistakes. But write how you speak. Write how you feel. Don't worry about a proofreader or copywriter dissing your stuff over a misplaced comma or a paragraph whose structure they disagree with. Ignore the pile-on that follows. Or embrace it. Hell, share the shit out of it.

Yes, you might need to please the Google Monster here and there to draw people in. And yes, you ought to write something comprehensible. Just put more of you in it and a lot less Google.

Rant ends.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction.

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