Saturday, 23 September 2017

In Pursuit of Good Quality Content

As well as writing books I endeavour to make something approaching a living out of compiling content for other people's websites. But the lot of a content writer can be a frustrating one. Generating unique and interesting content is always a challenge in itself, trying to find new and different angles and approaches when the topic of choice is something one has been writing about for aeons. Even the most prolific amongst us are sometimes stricken with "writer's block".

Having overcome this, the next task is to compete in the market with "writers" who have been raised in a world of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), in which it is not so much what is written that matters as using the right sequence of words and using them as frequently as possible.

Because this trash-writing technique requires little in the way of imagination or literary finesse, the market inevitably becomes saturated with "writers" who need have no ability to write anything even resembling good English, nor even to speak it. Far less of the ability to construct sentences which are attractive and pleasing upon the eye. Just so long as one can pack the words "payday loans london" fifty-seven times into 1000 words of completely meaningless and disjointed scribble there are customers who will gratefully pay a dollar for this rather than invest sensibly in some legible content which would confer so much more credit and credibility upon them and the organisations they represent. Getting the unsuspecting to the website is everything, what they do or think when they get there is something to worry about later. Indeed the "SEO expert", having been paid his money, will not be worrying about it at all.


This is why decent content writers have generally been grateful for the development by search engines, and of course we are talking primarily about Google, of ever more sophisticated algorithms which seek to reward quality content and to demote sites whose sole objective is to attract traffic with no consideration for what awaits the visitor on arrival.

In the world of content, the two words on the tips of everybody's tongue are Panda and Penguin. Both are simply names given to significant changes in Google's algorithm the effect of which has been to relegate sites which use strategies such as keyword stuffing, self-generated links and other "black hat" (i.e. dodgy) techniques to try to trick the search engines into believing that their site has more authority and more quality than it actually has.

This is good news all round for those of us who have found ourselves out-priced and undercut by ten-year-olds from nether regions of the world who have understood and mastered the art of manipulating search engines but not of composing high quality content of a kind that only a writer can produce.

The clue, after all, is in the name.

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