So here’s what I think about…..

SEO, Search Engine Optimization. To put it simply, it’s a way to ensure that words, keywords, will be picked up by Google and other search engines’ spiders, who crawl across the web every so often before they update their databases.

I think it’s underhanded. (But I also think ads for food on TV never taste as good as they make it look!) Still, I think this kind of writing is death to creativity.

Here’s an example. I applied to a company to write a weekly article for their website. It paid, and after years of being a career woman and a business owner–even though my wonderful husband told me when I started writing full-time that I could write whatever I wanted and not to worry about the money–the idea of actually being paid on a steady basis was very appealing. The company had a formula to follow for where in the article and how often certain words should appear. Ok. I tried it. But I failed the litmus test, because they also had tip and tricks for pulling on the heart strings of readers, and my article “didn’t make the editor cry.”

Yuk. I hate manipulation. I didn’t bother responding.

Now I know that all of this is just part of commerce and capitalism, and it’s not going anywhere. And I’m sure not all SEO devices are to be frowned upon, I guess if you are selling something, it’s like advertising, getting the most bang for your buck. What I hate to see is an aspiring writer, filled with passion and talent, but since they need to put bread on the table, they sell out to content sites who’s only goal is to sell articles to companies who need them for their websites. These articles must be designed for ultimate optimization so the “spiders” can crawl. Good name for the nasty little buggers. These writers get paid peanuts, receive no byline, sell all rights, and all of their writing time is eaten up writing this robot content.

I can see right now that being able to say what’s on my mind with impunity is going to be one more reason I love having a blog. :)

If you are new writer, please don’t write for content sites. There are lots of jobs you can do from home that will pay much better, and you won’t have to compromise your integrity. Check out the WAHM forums. Jobs galore. And if you actually have a job outside the home and you are writing content, well, I guess I’ll have to concede that there’s a lid for every pot. I HAVE actually seen the websites of several writers who make a good living writing SEO. Ok, I’ll give them that. Maybe their minds are wired for technology and they just happen to be able to turn a good phrase.

If that’s the case with you, great. If not, then I’ll repeat myself. Please don’t waste your talent writing for content sites. Write for the love of it. Like Wayne Dyer said, “Do what you love, and the money will come.” That’s why I repeat what I said yesterday. You WILL NOT find those kinds of jobs listed in my Monday markets. Ever. The markets I list will either be reputable ezines that don’t pay–which is a great way to build credits and get clips, and how I started out–or they will be paying markets; magazines, both print and online, seeking fiction, essays, articles, poetry, calls for anthology submissions, contest, an eclectic mix that will have a little of something for every type of writer.

You will find that probably 85% of them will be paying markets, period. I don’t like the idea of working for free. But I will slip in a classy ezine here and there for newbies who are just trying to get their foot in the door.

And no, I am not “making a living” as a freelance writer yet, and yes, I know that I am one of the lucky few who doesn’t have the money monkey on my back. But don’t for a second think that I am some kind of prima donna housewife who’s NEVER had to worry about money. I raised two sons as a single parent, often working two jobs. But I am headed in the direction of actually making a living freelancing, for with each credit I add to my portfolio, reputable credits, the more attention paying markets are giving to my cover letter. And up the ladder I move. Upward and onward, toward my dream of being a respected and well paid freelance writer and traditionally published author.

Speaking of which, I’ll have to tell you someday soon what I think about vanity publishing and Publish America, Authorhouse, IUniverse, Whitmore Publishing, Traffford Publishing–there are plenty more, so called publishers whose Google ads you see everywhere.

Let’s just say for now that I don’t think everybody who has the capability to sit down at a computer and type is necessarily a writer.

Aaaahhh, boy did it feel good to get all of that off my chest. I never knew blogging could be so therapeutic!

 

Note: Andy Humphrey has made a valid rebuttal to the above post. I learned a thing or three. :)

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3 responses to this post.

  1. A good article, though I disagree with a few points. I wrote a response on my own blog at http://struggling-writer.blogspot.com/2006/02/in-defense-of-content-writing.html

  2. Fair enough, Andy. I will go check it out right now. :)

  3. Hi, Denise, and hi, Andy – I read both of your articles about SEO and Content writing; you both have valid points. However, I would like to add the following – we should not get so caught up in the mythos of the Googleverse that we confuse creative writing with copywriting. When “writers” are paid to “create content,” 99 times out of 100 that is copywriting, not creative writing; it is the prestidigitation of creating an advertisement that not only catches the eye of the casual reader, but the all-seeing eye of the spiders and bots, as well. There’s nothing wrong with beginning writers – or anyone, for that matter – earning a few shekels writing copy, and selling that ad copy (aka “content” in the Googleverse) for market rates. Those persons who genuinely create, however, will no doubt want to hold out for better pay…and if their labors are worth it, probably will receive it.

    As far as SEO goes…well, that’s an entirely different basket of worms. Enjoyed your articles/blogs!! (n.b. – also posted this comment at Andy’s blog).

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