“For those of us who aspire to be original, predictability can be the worst kind of banality.” – James Spader, as Alan Shore, in the television series, Boston Legal.
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The above quotation became ingrained within me from the moment it was uttered and forms one of the tenets that is essential for copywriting to thrive. The word ‘predictability’ needs to be reiterated because it is crux of the issue that is being faced.
There has been a seismic shift in the digital marketing industry. Traditional Search Engine Optimised (SEO) copy, in my opinion, simply does not benefit copywriters. Those of us, who choose a career path that revolves around words, are naturally creative and need the space in which to exercise that critical devoir.
Unfortunately, traditional SEO copy conventions command certain prerequisites, such as predetermined anchor text that HAS to be inserted into every article — this severely constrains a writer’s ability to be creative. This may be conjecture, but the concerns have also been voiced by many giants within the industry and they have adapted accordingly. Ideally, the keyword/key phrase should be a natural result; we should never have to ask the question, “Where can this word or phrase be added?” There is no upside to breaking the flow of the sentence as it will distract readers who will more often than not, discard the article – this is the problem.
Today, ‘engagement’ and ‘context’ are the key facets that will determine article amplification. Social media platforms are ideal to bring this to fruition and through their ‘real time’ interfaces, there is greater opportunity to display and enhance the specific brand’s image and ideology.
An example that reiterates this is Google’s release of their new anti-spam algorithm, Penguin 2.0. Matt Cutts, Head of Anti-Webspam at Google, has said that it is far more comprehensive and will target and penalise sites that are using Black Hat SEO practises.
Today, SEO can no longer be seen as a separate body of work that defines a company; of course it is still an essential service, but it needs to adapt — this industry is dynamic and all the departments within a company need to be able to amalgamate to form a single digital entity.
This alteration has been embraced by Moz (formerly known as SEOmoz) as founder Rand Fishkin explains, “To truly help with SEO, we have to do more than just place keywords, make sites accessible, and build links, but first we need the influence to make these changes. A broader marketer is often granted that influence, while pure SEOs still, unfairly, must strive for it.”
The digital industry, as we know, is a speedy juggernaut that is increasing exponentially and instant adaptation to the new principles that will dictate search and ultimately how copy is found and amplified, is essential.
If we want to follow the axiom “content is king”, and afford the public the chance to engage with quality copy, an innovative, malleable strategy needs to be developed; one in which additions can be implemented in a hummingbird heartbeat because that is the reality of the present and future of the digital age.
As we can see, the new algorithm, complemented by the natural dynamism of the industry has rendered ‘predictability’ redundant. We need to strive to let our minds harness creative, original thinking to destroy impending banality.