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Think before you tweet December 29th, 2011 0 Comments

SEO is all well and good. But isn’t it time we started taking responsibility for the mess we’re leaving behind in cyberspace?

An SEO guy I know tweets about his 9-to-5 day like it’s going out of fashion.

“Just en route to an #SEOTrainingSession with @SEOVic and @MarketingBob” … “Finished the #SocialMediaStrategy for our friends at @BigBanana” … Off to my first meeting for new client @MickThePossum”.

And that’s normally before I’ve even booted up my Mac.

Writing for robots

I get what he’s doing. Promoting associates and clients, hash-tagging keywords, making himself look busy – it’s what you’d expect from any so-called SEO expert. And you can’t blame him for using the tools of his trade.

But man is it boring. I mean, if he feels compelled to document every single morsel of his working day, how about the occasional light-hearted jape? Something like …

“Just been for an explosive #NumberToo. @JimMarketingWhizz and @DaveSEOGuru were in the cubicles next to me. Had a right giggle.”

At least if he took the occasional rest room break he might seem vaguely human. But then that’s not the point is it?

The truth is he’s not writing any of this stuff to be read by me (or anyone else with soft tissue). His tweets are for the machines’ benefit only. And as we all know, machines don’t get toilet humour.

Grab your waders

Unfortunately this is endemic across much of the content generated for the online space.

Even though Google makes clear that its aim is to reward genuine, useful content (“we encourage you to focus on delivering the best possible experience for users”), that doesn’t stop people continuing to flood the web with … well, crap.

This includes lazy tweets about who you’ve just met for lunch.

Leave only tracks, take only pictures

We used to be happy to send rubbish off to landfill. Now the thought of cluttering up the planet with non-biodegradable waste fills most of us with horror. Why is it any different with online content?

Sure, a tweet is really only a bunch of noughts and ones – and yes, it can be deleted, but in practice it rarely is. And that just means there’s more clutter for us to wade through before we get to the good stuff.

So isn’t it about time we took a bit of responsibility for polluting the virtual world?

Money for nothing

In the grand scheme of things, tweets are far from the worst of the SEO ‘tools’. They’re only 135 characters long after all.

The real offenders are the 500-word articles whose sole raison d’être is to plump up keywords. You know the ones I mean – articles with no attempt at argument, no attempt at structure. Just the same three or four terms sprinkled liberally around a page of fluff.

And it’s scant wonder the quality is so poor when you see just how little businesses are prepared to pay for this sort of work. Take a squiz at the various online tendering websites and you’ll see rates as low as $5 an article. Professional writers can’t compete at ten times that price.

If you’ve got nothing interesting to say, keep schtum

It’s difficult. To attain that lofty number one spot on page one of Google, you’re encouraged to make your pages longer, increase your keyword density, submit more articles and tweet more.

But doing that without first considering what it is you’re contributing to the public domain is the sort of digital equivalent of using oxygen to get to the summit of Everest – but leaving empty canisters all over the side of the mountain in the process. It doesn’t lessen the achievement, but somehow it’s just a little dirty.

So by all means tweet. Blog to your heart’s content. Do everything you can to boost your search engine ranking. But please think before you tweet. Make it interesting, make it relevant and, where possible, make it fun.

I mean, really, if we must spend our lives indoors staring at a glowing white box, shouldn’t we have a laugh?

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