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TV Producer Tony Coll's argument is that the need to deliver content across the web and get yourself noticed requires a focus on key words rather than compelling content. I totally disagree.
Sure, with the volume of what PR academics have described as 'toxic communications', there is plenty of content and general 'stuff' standing in the way of your finely honed, carefully crafted words of wisdom. Much of it, like this blog, will have been bagged, tagged and generally keyworded to within an inch of its column.
My career in journalism started at school, with some writing in the school mag. I progressed through university with regular input into York University's student mag, radio station and TV. A postgrad in radio journalism followed. Throughout all of this I never lost my passion for writing - I simply learned how to make it better (I hope).
I was interested to watch the BBC news last night to see the captioned name of the correspondent and their job title, followed by a second caption with their BBC website address. You don't get a much better way to drive traffic to your website and your blog. However, the bottom line is that you can lead a Googler to content but you can't make them read.
SEO may have the effect of immortalising the summary of your words or keywords on the web for eternity, but, if it ain't interesting people will leave and never come back. The essence of good journalism is to make the content readable, watchable or compelling to listen to. I sat in my driveway for 30 minutes the other day so I could hear the outcome of a great radio play on BBC Radio 4. I had plenty of other things I could have done, but I was engaged.
The reason we allow people to rate this blog is because we want to know if the quality of the content is good enough to keep people engaged.
SEO all you like, but if the content doesn't grab your visitors, you're talking to yourself.
Published 27th October, 2010