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editing writing non-fiction writing organizing writing revising writing Uncategorized

More on Writing for Machines

I’ve written many times on SEO (internal link) and how as a writer I feel compromised and sad that today’s most important reader is a machine.

Humans don’t collect their thoughts and organize their tasks the way search engines do. Therefore, we have to alter our own preferences to cater to bots and algorithms. Otherwise, a client will not get on page one when Google returns results. And if they are not on page one then they are invisible.

A two, three, or four hundred page website is commonly built for businesses in extremely competitive markets. Say, an injury attorney in Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Diego, or Chicago. (A massive web presence responds to massive compettion.)

Given that digital deluge, let me describe the importance of content to the search engines. After all, content is king. Right?

Let’s assume a three hundred page website covering every basic aspect of law in a practitioner’s field, something often done to implement what is called topic authority. Considering this is The Law, most humans would prioritize on keeping any existing page current. Statutory and case law are always changing and a lawyer always wants to be accurate and up-to-date.

Google doesn’t see it that way.

A brand new page with fresh content on a very minor bit of law will drive that site’s statistics upward more than revising an existing, important page. Go figure.

It is a truly weird world when a lawyer goes to trial with the latest cites and yet their website may discuss old cites.

Given the economies of the day, no lawyer has the budget to continually update 300 pages, aside from those inaccurate pages pointed out by real humans.

Instead, that new page on dog bite law for a particular community, say one of 15 in a large metro that the attorney covers, wins out, stat wise, over updating an important page on child custody law. Why?

Because another page on a new topic has been added to that practitioner’s site. Google favors authoritative sources and it considers a website covering every topic niche to be authoritative.

Statistics prove this again and again. It’s not the way any organized business worker works. Yet, here we are, accepting inaccuracy and maintaining digital libraries with out of date books.

You see the results of this whenever you search on a changing topic like fixing a computer glitch. Advice less than six month old is probably worthless or confusing.

That’s because the article came out before the problem was fixed with an update. Or, perhaps a system software redesign leaves you staring at a blank field where the old advice said a critical checkbox should be.

We can time limit Google searches to help out with our own personal searches. But who cleans up the client’s website? Who cleans up the web?

What next?

Resources

Some of my writing related to this page (all internal links)

More on Writing for Machines (More on business writing for bots and algorithms) YOU ARE HERE

What Content Authority Means in SEO and Why it is Important (Discussing fundamentals of a content authority website)

Do I Need to Repeat Myself? (Business writing must incorporate SEO techniques)

Deeper into SEO (A Berkeley Writing for Social Media course fails)

Who/m are We Writing For? (The end reader today may not be human)

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Google Tips Thoughts on writing Uncategorized Writing by others Writing tips

Musings on Readability and Consistency

Shorter sentences tend to be more readable than long ones. Since I usually write long sentences in my first drafts (a part of brainstorming, writing whatever comes to mind), my revisions find me breaking those long sentences into shorter ones. The problem is that short sentences tend to be choppy. Not as smooth as extended copy. The trick then is finding a way to make short sentences flow as well as uninterrupted sentences. It’s not easy.

I got to thinking about this while editing and revising the work of another writer. Light editing doesn’t usually change how well a writer’s sentences flow into one another. But I’ve had to make so many revisions for one writer that their posts now sound fragmented and choppy. This is a serious problem. The only way to smooth out their writing would be for them to do a complete rewrite with my changes in mind. There’s no time or budget for that.

The consoling thought, at least for web work, is that ultimately most of us are not writing for readers but for robots. Much of this content generation is for higher search results rankings, the subject of search engine optimization or SEO. I often wonder, as I pen the blog posts I am paid to write, if anyone reads them at all. Or if all those words, no matter the writing style, simply go to improving a client’s website in the rankings. Today, readability may play less importance than coming up on the first page of Google’s search results.

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Google Tips

Add Your URL to Google

Did you just write a scintillating post that you can’t wait to share? Submit its URL to Google. This should get it indexed faster than waiting for Google to next crawl the web. Instead of hoping that Google eventually stumbles on your page, you’ve done something positive to get that URL promoted.

You’ll need a Google account. Using Chrome is probably the best idea. Once you’re signed in to your account, search with Google for the terms “submit URL to google.” You’ll land on a page called your Search Console. Enter the URL, click the box that says you’re not a robot and you’re done.

Getting your post indexed quicker doesn’t mean you’ll rank higher in search results. That’s an entirely different matter. But submitting a URL to Google is something you should¬†do for all important pages you’ve recently posted.

ScreenShotGoogleURL