Monday, 18 July 2011

Is Content King or Court Jester?


Since Google changed its search algorithm a little while ago everyone is scrambling to regain the position that may have been lost in the rankings.  Many really high page rankings were falsely awarded based on questionable strategies like key word stuffing.  The content was garbage (certainly not king) and rose to the top because of the bells jingling on the jester hat it was wearing.  When you got past the singing and dancing, there was no depth.

I’m glad this has happened for one basic reason…there’s too much jester and not enough king out there and I’m tired of trying to sift through it to find the quality content.  Just because it’s on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s gospel. 

As a professional writer, I could certainly crank out 10, 200-word “articles” in one day (and get peanuts for it, of course) but I prefer to take my time, do some original research, talk to some experts and produce a quality piece of writing of which I can be proud.  I knew that common sense and rational thought would eventually prevail (enter the Panda), but the unfortunate thing is that some good content sites (like Suite101 and e-zine) have been caught in the clean up.  But they will rise again by using organic (and longer lasting) SEO strategies and perhaps get rid of some of the not so great content that they do have and tighten up the submission requirements.

Google's new search formula (sometimes called "Farmer") actually looks for quality.  I honestly don’t understand how it’s done from the technical perspective but what I do know is that the tail isn't wagging the dog any more.  Your content actually has to provide good information to be ranked high up in a search.  Google has a responsibility to its users as well as its advertisers. It’s a fine line but I think it will help weed out some of the weaker content.  Of course, I understand that, as information consumers, it’s up to us to decide what we want to read and what we don’t, but there’s no end to this virtual bookshelf. Sometimes information fatigue sets in before you have a chance to find the kings ransom.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Finding your Writing Rhythm


I always knew I had a penchant for writing but had no idea what life as a freelance writer would look like when I decided to journey down that path.  I could always find my way around a paragraph or ‘turn of phrase’ but it had always been for someone else while I was collecting a monthly paycheck for doing it.  Writing always took up a huge chunk of time throughout my PR career, whether it was press releases and company profiles, letters and memos, scripts or speeches.  All I know is that I was never so happy as when I had a writing project that would keep me at my desk, crafting the best messages and using the most impactful words I could find to reach our audience. 

For three years now I have been freelance copy writing for a variety of companies and industries and have been thoroughly enjoying it.  I have also interspersed writing with conducting writing workshops and communications training.  I will continue to do so as my expat journey continues, as it’s the most portable career around.  But I have found another path with very new direction leading me to book writing and editing.  I hope that I can do both simultaneously!  I have my first book contract deadline looming with Summertime Publishing (I’ll share more on the editing and publishing process as I go through it) and am continuing to work with just a couple regular copywriting clients and… So far, so good!  It’s great variety and both keep me motivated to write every day.  Since I’ve been freelancing I wake up every morning, very happy about the day ahead because I know I’ll be writing.

What keeps you writing?

Friday, 1 July 2011

Author Interview: Bitten by Spain by Debbie Fletcher

I have several books on the go right now but none that I'm ready (or willing) to review at this point.  So, in place of this month's book review I'd like to invite you to listen to a great interview that Jo Parfitt recently did with Bitten by Spain author Debbie Fletcher on The WIN (Women's Information Network)

It definitely made me want to add it to my summer reading list! 

Enjoy the interview!  And...Happy Canada Day!