How SEO Harms Digital Writing

While we aim to digitize every aspect of our lives, there are some issues that occur. Read more about the battle for art online.

I have mentioned this before, but I am currently graduating my bachelor’s degree in marketing. Therefore, the topics of social media, creating content and making campaigns fascinate me.

This is the reason you are reading this.

I believe WordPress and Instagram have become a new way of expressing all my creativity. Moreover, a new way to get inspired.

However, even though I love what the online space has done for people’s art, there are some issues I find in it.

Every aspect of our lives is moving online. From food deliveries, matchmaking websites, online banking to entertainment and… art. However, is this new digital world ready for such an abstract part of humanity?

Recently, both in my professional marketing practice and my own blog, I have been working with SEO. While it is a big topic at the moment, I believe some of you will ask the question:

What is SEO?

Search engine optimization is a term that refers to the ranking of a web page in the search engines. The process of optimization includes meeting the requirements of a certain search engine. This makes your page pop on top when individuals look for a specific keyword. SEO is responsible exclusively for organic (unpaid) rankings.

When applied for blogs, it helps writers reach a wider audience.

How does it work?

There are many criteria a text should cover to rank better. Talking about a website, simple changes in the design of a page can make it more attractive for the engines

When talking about blogs, it also has much to do with the quality of the content itself, as well as the structure of it.

SEO’s use makes a lot of sense. Engines provide a service for their clients – they find what an individual is looking for. 

Therefore, they aim for the results to be as close as possible to the keyword looked for. 

Moreover, for the best match to be on top of the page. So, they scan a website and rank it amongst others, depending on the criteria.

Why do I use it?

As I already mentioned, it just makes sense. We looked into what the benefit is for search engines, but why do marketers and other individuals use it?

Making your website SEO friendly brings the people in. Simple as that.

Moreover, as one of the aspects SEO concerns is readability, it helps a text stay readable and keep the flow.

This has been quite useful for me, as I tend to write long and complicated sentences.

So, we can say that SEO can help clarify ideas and bring people with similar interest together. Sounds fun, right? Also, refining.

Both as a writer and marketer, I have seen the benefits of this practice. However, as a writer, I also felt some boundaries.

Downsides

As already mentioned, I had some issues with the use of search engine optimization. The marketer in me loved the idea of taking control. The writer, however, felt like their freedom was taken away.

There are a few specific reasons for this.

First of all, SEO is completely incompatible with different genres.

It works perfectly for the classical article with an introduction, a few headings and paragraphs. Why it works so well? Because it is easy to analyse by the system.

It also requires for your keyword to be conveniently placed in all parts of the text. This way it makes sure it will meet the requirements of the individual looking for content.

However, if you use the same requirements for other formats – for example, short stories or poetry turns them from a benefit to a boundary.

The fact is – some content doesn’t follow THE structure and it will never rank as well in searches.

My second biggest disagreement with this system comes from the readability requirements.

I have noticed that SEO tools often label a text “hard to read” if it contains complicated words or sentences. This is great for articles but kills not only the chances of good ranking but the literary beauty of texts.

Aesthetically pleasing genres often don’t use complete sentences. They use beautiful, but complicated words. Or sentences full of descriptions, to provide the reader with full immersion. All things, with which the system disapproves of.

Just a Nightmare and Let’s Talk About the Universe are both projects of mine outside the SEO box. Both texts with no headings, keyword density and with long, descriptive sentences. Something a writer cannot sacrifice. They are essential for the emotion the final product gives the reader. So, those posts do not perform as well.

Following this logic, SEO leaves less and less space on the internet for different genres.

I am reading blogs since the rise of this genre and they have changed a lot. They started as a place of freedom and expression. Individuals, with no background in the industry writing about their lives, interests or showing their art to the world.

Now, most blogs have an agenda. From a safe space for art, they have turned into an industry. A money-making and conversion machine which trades benefits.

It sounds harsh in the beginning but just think about the types of blogs that bring the traffic these days: fitness, fashion, makeup and travel. All things that bring sales. Therefore, those are the ones spotted by companies and promoted.

Of course, there is nothing bad in being on this side of the fence. Nothing bad with making your living online. I am truly interested and inspired by all of those topics. I write about them as well. So, there is no judgement passed.

But this does not stop a small part of me, which feels like their art is put in a box.

I am interested to hear your take on the topic as well. So, leave your thoughts in the comments below.

2 Comments

  1. Teodor Miroslavov Todorov

    A great article!

    SEO is something very trendy in the current day and age. Your take, in regards to different writing genres, was an interesting way to look at how SEO works and the flaws that come with it.

    Keep up the good work! 🙂

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: