web storytelling — March 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

Writing For The Machine – An SEO Primer


I’m not writing this post for you. I’m writing for the Machine.

See, in order for me to maintain my page rank, the Machine asks demands that I keep these posts coming.

And though you’re not my audience, you still might want to come along for the ride, just to learn a little about the weirdness of SEO. SEO is what the Machine wants when you’re writing for it. (By the way, the link under SEO and all the other links so far—the Machine likes that a lot!)

Writing For The Machine — That’s my keyword

You may have already noticed that I’ve used the phrase Writing or the Machine three times already. The Machine is fond of that, because that’s my keyword (even though it’s actually four words), and it’s important to populate your post with just the right amount. Not too much, not too little. Just right.

Word Count Matters When You’re Writing For the Machine

Word count is important too. According to my Yoast SEO plugin, the Machine likes posts with a minimum of 300 words. Anything less than that isn’t legitimate content I guess. Take this most famous Shakespeare sonnet. It’s only 114 words, and as a post wouldn’t please the Machine at all.

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;

But thy eternal summer shall not fade

Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;

Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou growest:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

What’s more, according to Yoast it could totally screw up my Flesch Reading Ease score, making this post “difficult to read” and angering the Machine in the process. The Machine, you see, likes it best if you’re writing on the level of a mildly dimwitted 9th grader. Short sentences. Easy words. Like this.

(But it looks like I lucked out here. Since the this post’s underlying html code shows the sonnet in a <blockquote> tag, apparently the Flesch Test ignores it. Or the short phrases fooled it.)

And You’ve Got To Be Picture Perfect

One last point. I need to include a image in this post with an alt tag including my keyword. That’s also Machine-friendly.

So here’s a picture of an ostrich that’s meta-tagged as “writing for the machine.”

writing for the machine

That’s about it. We’re already at 499 words. Yoast is giving me a “green light” which says my SEO is fine. Here’s my report card.

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writing for the machine

That means the Machine will direct anyone searching for “writing for the machine” right here. (The fact that few people, if anyone, will be searching for that is the topic of another post: keyword selection.)

But we’re done for now and ready to for upload.

Thanks for joining me.

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