June 26, 2009SEO and linkbait vs the fundamentals
I’ve been brushing up on my new media skills. I started out copywriting for blogs and websites a few years ago when SEO as we now understand it was but a glint in the web developer’s eye. Now in new media, it’s the undisputed king.
Yet times are changing. Already it’s being argued that Facebook is killing SEO. Essentially, ‘linkbait’ is what’s going to drive hits to your website in the future. It’s another one of those fancy buzzwords, but it’s nothing new. It’s just a modern form of a technique that has worked for generations — in fact, forever. It’s a personal recommendation.
Yes, there are a myriad of tricks a writer can use to draw more visitors to your site. But at the end of the day, it’s the quality of the content that keeps people coming back, quality that people will tell their friends about. Online and offline, it’s all about the brand image.
If you’re trying to sell people something, they’re still going to be looking at two things: the quality of the product offered, and the right price. Keep them happy and they will tell their friends they’re happy. It’s hardly brain science, or rocket surgery. With the ludicrously high turnover of buzzwords on the web, it’s easy to start believing the hype.
SEO, like twitter, was very much a buzzword of last year. We mustn’t diminish its importance, but it’s also vital to remember the fundamentals. Writing for the web is very much like writing anywhere else. It’s a one-on-one conversation between you and your client, and you need to build up a rapport. The fundamentals of writing for the web should still be good copy. SEO is the icing on the cake.
It’s easy to get bowled over by buzzwords. SEO is vital now but with ‘linkbait’ strategies becoming more important, the basics of good writing remain. Incidentally, my father called me last week. He runs a very successful business, had a laptop when they were big as briefcases, and bought his first mobile phone in the eighties. These days he’s never more than thirty seconds away by BlackBerry. He said to me, ‘I’ve seen your latest blog post. What the hell is twitter?’
I was proud of him. It’s precisely the attitude a company director should take. If you need any further proof that fools rush in, take a look at how Habitat made fools out of themselves twittering this week. Or Jordan.