Is SEO the end of writing from the heart?

A few weeks ago I mentioned the term SEO to my new intern. She’s fresh out of University where she studied management. No previous marketing agency or online business experience. She has an interest in event management, and SEO never crossed her path.

She is also crazy talented at writing. She cannot speak without throwing puns around. Her content is so easy to read, and I was super excited to have someone like her on my team. Being her first “boss” ever and recognizing this talent, I wanted to make sure I transfer all the knowledge I had on writing and content strategy. That girl should develop her talent on time.

I explained what SEO was — a way of writing online articles in order to rank them better on Google. People hired copywriters to make sure they write all the right stuff, in the right order, by the rules, to make sure the article is ranked high in search results. These websites usually sell something, so their goal, simplified, would be that if you read the text, you’ll maybe end up buying the product they sell.

She definitely wasn’t impressed, but rather confused and shocked — I was telling her that all of this content she was reading online might have been written just for the purpose of ranking and selling?

Isn’t it like selling the soul to the devil?

Isn’t it, really? I never connected the two dots, but this might be the reason I actually stopped, almost completely, with reading online media. I’ve been off Medium too after I was so annoyed by all those self-improvement texts I was bumping into every time I wanted to read something that would soothe my heart or inspire my imagination. This might not be SEO, but writers do that to rank better on Medium and get more views. All those “three ways to make shitloads of money”, “five reasons to build habits and be successful”… Do they really care about this? Or do they do it for money or shares and links?

I simply don’t trust these are legit, whatever the authority behind the website. And that’s what’s blocking me from even scrolling through the “successful headlines”.

What is it that we can read online, and know it’s written out of the heart, and not for the money?

In the meanwhile — I’ll stay on the safe side. Books.

Let’s just promise to share stories that smell of oranges and seaside and books and friendship, somewhere in between the “content that sells”. The world needs more people who do stuff for the love, and not for the rank on Google.