Tuesday, November 14, 2006

SEO vs. spam vs. spontaneity

I don't talk much about SEO, since it's mostly BS.

Search Engine Optimization pundits lay down all kinds of rules to enable sites to increase pagerank, i.e., to gain a high position on search results page lists, when users seek information via search terms.

The only SEO suggestion I will give you is: Forget SEO.

I refer to SEO of blog titles, post content, and comment strategy. Some SEO gurus tell bloggers to use common key words and phrases, that users type into search engines. You're told to use these key terms in all your post titles, sprinkle them liberally in your posts, and also in comments you post at other blogs. They may even suggest you leave a post URL linking to your blog in the comment, in addition to the embedded URL you can put in your comment signature.

Now it's getting dangerously close, if not all the way, to spam and spamdexing.

Just write about whatever you feel like. In whatever words come naturally to you. It's that simple. That way, you'll sound more at ease, relaxed, trustworthy, and human. The more stilted and frantic you sound, slinging your SEO words around like browser magnets, the less personal you'll seem.

Readers will think you're just desperate to attract people searching various terms.

SEO - oriented text sounds stiff, unreal, commercial, exploitive, artificial, stupid. Sure, you may trick some people into coming to your blog, but what rich and relevant content will greet them once they arrive? If it's a flood of search engine optimized text, your blog will lose credibility, easy readability (who wants to read "web usability" over and over again in Vaspers posts?), and eventually, your loyal, long-term audience.

Even worse: posting artifical sounding, SEO-enhanced comments at other blogs.

Do you have a comment strategy?

Want one?

How about this:

(1) I pledge to post comments in my normal, natural manner, with no SEO gimmicks designed to use the other blogger's comment field as a way to drive traffic to my blog.

(2) I pledge to post comments only when sincerely desiring to contribute relevant material to a conversation, or sincerely supporting, dismissing, questioning, or otherwise engaging with a view expressed.

(3) I pledge to post comments only when I'm absolutely sure of what I'm saying, and not when I just feel angry or elated.

Spontaneous, non-SEO posts and comments are more authentic and altruistic.

If you want blog traffic, and a loyal reader base, just keep on posting and commenting in your normal, natural style. Keep it relevant, rich, funny, profound, nice, kind when you can. And everything should be fine.

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