Articles. We love them. Content-rich and drive visitors to our website. Inward links across the internet. Search engines count the keywords and count the links.
We get a higher page rank. We come higher in search engines. Our Adsense goes up. However, having read a few of them, I have to say I have not read so much crap in my life. Anyone who puts this on their website via an RSS feed or by copying the article wholesale is really being stupid. Very few of these “articles” are anything more than keyword-optimized web pages designed to pull in search engines, or outright adverts.
Excuse the length of the quote, but here, as an example, is a quote from a keyword-optimized article:
“The opinion on who’s the best free online dating service in America could vary, depending on the person being asked. But there was a popularity survey conducted among Americans and Canadians to find out the best online dating sites. The high rank though does not mean that it is the best free online dating in terms of quality but it does mean that it is by far the most popular.
“There are a number of free online dating web sites over the net to choose from. Free online dating web sites offer real time chat, emailing, profiling, and telephone access dependant on the clients’ choices. These type of sites can be accessed through Internet service providers. Participants are required to be over the age of 18 and have registered with their chosen dating service provider.
“A Free online dating web site enables…
Spot the keyword phrase being looked for? Yep it’s “Free online dating”. I should expect the phrase could be generically replaced with “free African dating”, “free Vietnamese dating”, “free free dating” or more. Edit/Find/Replace anyone? This article is NOT written for a person to read. It’s written for a search engine to read. Hence the use of the word America/Americans. Dating websites are, by their virtue of being websites, international. This article writer, has, however, ritten the article so that it will hit the keyword “American”. Why? Because there are 280 million Americans, they are patriotic, and they are to the internet what Germans are to the swimming pool.
Who doesn’t know that “These types of site can be accessed through Internet Service Providers”. How else are you supposed to access a “free online dating site”? Post? Telepathy? This is making a sentence purely for the hell of it.
Another article talks about the SMART way to attract women which is simply the application of a management principle Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. This is yet another example of verbal BS designed to draw traffic to the writer’s website.
I wonder if either of these were written by humans. Certainly both of the above have been APPROVED by humans on article websites who claim an editor will look for more than just page formatting. However, what we’re seeing is people writing sentences hoping that Google will pick it up, follow the link and raise the page rank, and human editors simply acceding to that need.
But what is particularly irritating is articles which are wrong. Another article tells you how to say “I love you” in different languages. One translation they give is Swahili which they tell you is “naku panda”. This is wrong on a number of counts.
Firstly Swahili verbs are entirely conjugated. The phrase “nakupenda” can be broken up into its constituent parts of subject, tense, object, and verb root. “Na” is both subject and tense. It means “I” without any indication of time. It is simply a state. “-ku-” is object, it means “you”. “-penda” is the root and is the verb. It means “love”. Hence the verb-phrase “nakupenda” means “I love you. You can change the tense. “Ninakupenda”, for example means “Nina”, “I am now”, “-ku-“, “you”, “-penda” loving, e.g. I love you but with a present rather than a perfect tense. Change the “-na-” for a “-ta- ” and you have the future tense, I will love you.
You can look this up elsewhere. However, our expert article writer had made a wrong translation in a number of senses. “Naku panda” should have been written as a single verb-phrase, “Nakupanda”. However the verb root “-panda” means something quite different to “-penda”, love. Like most verbs it has a contextual meaning. Here are the various contextual meanings it could have: “I climb you”, “I ascend you”, “I increase you”, “I copulate with you”, “I get on you”, “I cross you”. So DON’T try this phrase in Kenya, Tanzania or Uganda. Stick with “jambo”, “sasa”, or “vipi”. They mean “Hi”, and you can’t get in to trouble with those. Easy response? “Poa” – cool.
So, for article writers, here’s three things not to do:
1. Don’t write a SEO optimized article. Write something for humans. One day Google will read like a human and be able to spot crap a mile away. At the end of the day you want HUMANS to read your work, only they can click on a link and pay a credit card bill.
2. Don’t write absolute rubbish. Perhaps you attended a lecture or seminar or read something and you want to apply it to something else. Try it yourself first! Don’t just join the head of a fish to the body of a cat because it makes an article! If you do such ridiculous things you end up with ridiculous articles. How about “Application of the Geneva Convention in Slug Control”, “How to write a cheque in Binary” or “American Foreign Policy – An Ethical Approach”? It’s all pure nonsense.
3. Don’t be WRONG! If you are going to write something make it something you know about, better still something you are passionate about! Writing things which are wrong is akin to writing lies! Next thing you know someone will be swearing blind it’s true because they read it on the internet. Even if your article is about your toenails it’s something you KNOW about rather than something you wrote because you wanted more links to your website.