Wednesday, September 19, 2012

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I hope you've managed to get past the clumsy headline for this piece, it being my (doomed) attempt to harvest more clicks from the wilds of the internet through the dark arts of what sharp-suited people are calling Search Engine Optimisation. And the Lord above knows how I need to boost my brand, after than nasty business with the bus full of nuns.

Sadly, I've had to throw in a few words which represent the bottom half of the Internet in a vain attempt to SEO myself up, and this is probably the result of this selling of my soul, and why we're not allowed nice things.

SEO - if you don't know - is the business of getting you web content higher up on Google (other search engines are available) through clever use of keywords, placement of links, and other stuff that is certainly not evil, according to my not-evil-at-all pal Mark, who runs the not-evil-at-all Improve SEO agency. And he is certainly not evil, at all.

The most obvious symptom of SEO is the growth of the news headline to almost ridiculous proportions, just to make sure it has all the details for when the Google (other search engines are available) web spider comes to call.

While the print edition of your Super Soaraway may have the simple headline "Sex Pervert Jailed", this will be completely lost in a million billion other news stories about sex perverts. Post not-evil-at-all SEO, the headline would appear on the web thus:

Sex Pervert Vincent Aloysius Volestrangler, 32, of Weymouth, Dorset, jailed for nine years at Woolwich Crown Court for spanking a statue of Winston Churchill with a carpet slipper for HIS FILTHY GRATIFICATION

That just about covers all the bases, and includes a bit of gratuitous ALL CAPITALS for the Daily Mail crowd.

The trouble with is approach is that the entire story is told in the headline, and unless there are particularly interesting photographs of poor, dead Winston being spanked, or sordid details of a doomed marriage to the statue of King George III on Weymouth seafront, the job of the journalist might as well be to write blah blah de blah for 500 words, in the tone of voice usually heard by Charlie Brown's teacher.

As a some-time tech journalist, I've been to enough conferences on making money from the internet to have heard a hundred managing directors of websites that no longer exist say "Content is King". This is clearly cobblers, because we've already learned that it is the headline that rules, with the content itself coming a distant last in the King stakes behind a) Elvis, b) Juan Carlos of Spain, and c) Mark King out of 80s funksters Level 42.

Also, I've been to enough of these things to be high on the hockey-stick curve when it comes to Buzzword Bingo.

SEO, then: It's evil, bad, naughty, out-of-order, BUY VIAGRA CIALIS, but necessary.

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