Get your head out of the gutter. I mean three letters of alphabet: S, E and O. Now I have nothing against search engine optimization; if done properly and in a way that legitimately reflects what’s on one’s website, and honestly supports the mission of the content you publish, then sure – optimize away.
But whenever I hear those three letters, I cringe. And some things in particular make me reflexively shudder (one of which is pictured above…though actually, at a relatively far remove, it made me both laugh and shudder simultaneously).
A company for which I used to work had always been big on SEO (which is reasonable) – but a few years after the SEO bandwagon first rolled into town, they hired a “team” of “experts” that (among other SEO-related things) made spreadsheets of the top internet “keywords” and phrases searched for all the fields in which said company had an interest. Then that team dictated the various “communities” write content that included said words – never mind if it wasn’t the kind of content that community typically wrote. The internet had spoken.
I’m pretty sure were I to get that list shoved down my throat now, I’d have “epoxy pour” running through my waking nightmares. At the time, it was “beetle kill pine” (followed closely by “whelping box”) atop the list of things about which I refused to write. It simply didn’t fit with any of the content we were producing…or that I thought we should produce. (In hindsight, I’m surprised I didn’t get shown the door sooner…)
But today, I actually found some blue-stained pine. So: “We’ll use beetle kill pine backboards in a weekend woodworking class on making a bookcase.”
That ought to move me right up the list at Google! (I even got it within the first 250 words – barely.)
But that probably doesn’t work anymore, so here’s a cat video:
P.S. The most maddening edict along these lines of which I heard was to a community in which I didn’t work: spell Stephen King as Steven King. I still can’t laugh at that one.