Dreams Over Zero

SEO and Click-Bait, but Then THIS Happened

Writing a personal blog is easy. Creating blog posts in the hopes of directing potential customers to my work isn’t too challenging. Finding a balance between genuine content that reads like it comes from a thinking, feeling person with things to say AND satisfying the SEO bots at the same time, though? That’s hard.

Stylized doodle of a snake with a purple glow to make the SEO bot happy

The SEO thingy says that including an image will improve the article’s ranking in the search engines. Here’s a snake I drew.

The Internet is bloated with crap from content farms: articles that only exist to jack up the site’s search engine ranking and drive clicks to product pages. There’s no real substance to most of these; they simply cram a bunch of keywords and descriptive links together and pad them with sentences to make it look like an article. You’ve read them. I’ve written them. It felt dirty. It seems like easy money at first, but every time I take these little jobs, all my enthusiasm for writing just wilts away (not to mention my faith in humanity) and it takes me two hours to write 500 words.

How much can one really say about pet-carriers or USB adapters, anyway, without getting blatantly repetitive? How many different ways can I find to say that Virgo needs to unclench?

Occasionally there’s an interesting research assignment. One time I spent all day learning about lyme disease for a thousand-word article (sorry, SEO bot, I don’t have the link). Had I written it for a class, it would have been an A+. I think I made $30.

The SEO Bot Says I Need A Sub-Heading

Anyway, my point is not to whinge about cringy stuff I’ve had to do for money. My point is that I really hate the fact that click-bait and content farms exist at all and that anyone creating real, personal content has to keep trying to shout over all the marketing fluff if they want to get seen. I want to make money with my art and writing, sure, but does it have to feel so icky?

I know that Ayn Rand’s ideas aren’t too popular, but I’ve never forgotten one scene from The Fountainhead. A brilliant artist was facing poverty, so he had to take a job painting insipid little mass-produced sculptures. The creative constraints began to drive him crazy, and he started adding tiny little personal touches to stave off the repetitive blandness: a wall-eye here, a sinister twist to the mouth there. Each piece became a subtle fuck-you to the ubiquitous mediocrity that values production and consumption over originality and excellence.

Money ruins everything. Please click my links and give me some money.

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