Article authors who use SEO (Search Engine Optimization) keywords to attract attention and falsely position themselves as experts, are like impurities in the water, clogging up the pipes. This is indeed a sorry situation. Unlike the days when the internet was young, if you want to find good information, you have to filter out the dirt first.
When you do web research using keywords, do you generally have to read anywhere from 4-7 articles on one particular topic before finding one written by an intelligent human being? SEO abuse is making it more and more difficult to locate the people with real expertise and valuable insights. It's a growing problem, to say the least. But in terms of information-gathering, how do we pick through the chaff and get to the gold?
Use Specialized Terms in Your Keyword Search
When I'm in research mode, in addition to keywords, I use specific and/or specialized terms in my web searches. This helps me scope out authors with real knowledge as opposed to the BS artist looking to make a quick buck. It works for me, and it can work for you as well.
For example, let's say you're a writer, and you want to learn the proper protocol for submitting a query letter. If you search using the words 'query letter,' know what's going to come up? A million and one hits, the majority of which will be ads, which serve no purpose if you're trying to learn something new. But if you type in 'query letter' and 'format' and 'cover page' all in the same search box, you may be able to find some really helpful information from publishing experts who know everything there is to know about query letters.
Make Sure Your Specialized Terms are Still Considered Special
It's worth noting that specialized terms often evolve into keywords as their meaning becomes widespread. Unfortunately, as the evolve in popularity, they devolve with respect to informational value.
In the old days, if I wanted to find a good article about nutrition and the immune system, I might look up 'free radical fighters'. It was something that only real nutrition specialists knew about. In today's more health-conscious world, the term 'free radical fighters' is wildly popular. Where it was once strictly textbook terminology, it's now a "buzz word," used to advertise things like shampoo. As such, it's become a 'dumbed down' term; a fancy word that's being thrown around, and as a result, you see it in lots of places where there's nothing 'specialized' at all! Consequently, if I do a web search using this keyword, it's going to take me several tries before finding detailed information that I can actually learn from.
So: how does this impact information researchers, authors, and the quality of content on the internet? The diligent web hunter should choose his web search words wisely. And the author who wants to leverage SEO with keywords, should also fortify his articles with real and valuable information- including specialized terminology. In doing so, perhaps we have a shot at keeping the internet's article content informative, relevant, and valuable to the reader.
Authors, Do Your Part for the Future of Internet Communication
Are you an author with real expertise, who's feeling 'elbowed out' by folks who use tawdry keyword manipulation tactics to attract attention on the web? Don't worry about those people, and don't give up! The dumbification of the internet does not have to be, if we don't let it happen. Just keep on writing, and do it the smart way- that will both attract visitors through search engine optimization, and provide your readers with real, valuable information they can learn from and use. Include keywords, include specialized knowledge, include it all. Get it out there, get writing, and don't lose sight of your goals!
At times, you may find yourself swept away on the intoxicating wave of high-speed communication. Seem so easy to just start hammering out any old shpiel about this or that, throw in some popular keywords, call it an article, spread your name around and convince people you're an expert. Right?
Wrong. Authors, don't get sucked in by all the hype and sensationalism on the internet. Never skimp on quality for quantity and the hope of instant fame... because if you do, you'll flare up and be snuffed out in a millisecond. It takes years to build your reputation as an expert, and rightly so. Prestige must be earned, can't be bought, and won't ever be yours if you take shortcuts. If you really want to brand yourself as an expert in your field, keeping working, keep learning and keep growing. Your success will come in due time.
If you listen to those who believe in the Laws Of Attraction as applied to internet business, they'd probably say "People with higher aspirations and creative solutions will find each other." Let's hope they're right.
Copyright 2005 Dina Giolitto. All rights reserved.
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