There’s something dumbing down the Internet. Most bloggers use it. I’m guilty of using it. Unknowingly, all of us who use this tool might be dumbing down the Internet. I’m even considering giving it up.
If you’re not a blogger or an online marketer you might not have a clue about this tool. It’s called SEO. That stands for Search Engine Optimization. It’s a simple idea:
- Search engines are programmed to find certain elements of articles and websites.
- If writers use those elements on their blogs, their work is more likely to get ranked higher in a search.
- Therefore, bloggers use SEO tools that will help them get ranked higher.
Formulas Are Dumbing Down America
Essentially, SEO tools help writers to write articles that appeal to the masses. It’s a formula. I’ll admit that I use SEO tools. However, I am rethinking whether I want to continue using SEO. Here are some things that SEO tools promote:
- Sentences that are no longer than 12-14 words.
- More use of one and two syllable words and less use of larger words.
- Use of short paragraphs and more headings.
- More transition words and less poetic writing.
- Lots of bulleted and numbered lists.
- Repetitive key words and phrases like “dumbing down.”
- The use of stock photography.
These are just a few of the strategies that SEO promotes. Bloggers who use SEO tools do their best to write articles that are search-engine friendly. But in doing this we are giving up some of our individualism. We write at the grade-school level to appeal to the masses. We are dumbing down the Internet.
Isn’t SEO A Form Of Minimalism?
There are some strong arguments for using SEO tools. Not only do they help bloggers get higher search rankings, but they also help us to write more concisely. In a way, SEO helps us to write in a more minimalist style. So isn’t that good? Perhaps, if you never want poetry, intellectual writing, or art. In other words, academic writing would miserably fail at SEO.
I understand that simple writing can often be the best writing. But if everyone who publishes on the Internet shies away from long words, long sentences, and long paragraphs, what do we get? The dumbing down (there’s that key phrase again) of the Internet.
It’s Like Pop Vs. Classical Or Blockbuster Vs. Indie
SEO promotes formula instead of art. Think of pop music: verse-chorus-verse-chourus-bridge-chorus. It’s a formula. You’ve heard one pop song, you’ve heard them all. Classical music moves. It ebbs and flows. It uses a greater variety of instrumentation, rhythm, and melody.
Blockbuster movies can be described in a single sentence. Example: Giant ape terrorizes New York City (King Kong). Indie films are often more complex and cover larger chunks of the human experience.
And why do we use SEO? It’s all for the sake of gaining blog traffic. It’s a more-is-better mindset. The more we use SEO, the better our online visibility. But we also promote the dumbing down of the masses.
So what would happen if I quit using SEO tools altogether? My writing might improve. It would be less repetitive. I’d use a larger vocabulary. I’d write for the intelligent reader instead of dumbing down the Internet. My writing would be more creative.
In the coming months I might experiment with shutting down my SEO. When I do, readers will be rewarded with better content.
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