Amber Michelle (myaru) wrote,
Amber Michelle

Yeah, so, whatever

Sorry I've been away. I've been busy submitting stories and getting rejected, and having weird reactions to allergy shots. This all puts me in a bad mood.

However, because it amuses me to make fun of marketing AI, I thought I'd take the time to demonstrate how dumb SEO tools can be, and/or waste your time.

Yeah yeah, I know it is. That doesn't mean I have to enjoy it.

This is a silly example. It doesn't have much to work with, after all, but I guarantee the readability score won't go up much as I type, usually for the following reasons:

  1. Subheading distribution: I often type 300 (or more) words without dividing it into different sections.

  2. Sentence length: sometimes I use more than ten words in a sentence. Commence pearl-clutching.

  3. Transition words: good to have, but occasionally I don't use them because they don't make sense, and every goddamn paragraph has to start with one, apparently!

  4. Paragraph length: too long.

  5. Passive Voice: it'll ding you for using this more than 25% of the time. It might have a point. Maybe.

Now... to be fair, what this tool measures is search engine optimization (i.e., SEO), and it is meant to guide your writing in a way that gets good ranking on Google. Which is fine. Here's what I don't understand, though: all the raving in the comments about how this made various commenters' writing better, and their posts amazingly good, and so on.

If you're not a writer, I acknowledge that writing a blog post might be harder for you than it is for me. (Note I don't believe that's always true, but it's certainly a thing I keep in mind.) However, after working with this plugin for about seven posts, I've concluded that the nagging about passive voice is literally the only category that does me any good in terms of improving my writing.

Dividing your text with subheadings is fine when the subheading makes sense, and absolute garbage if you're only doing it because Yoast told you that it must happen every 299 words. Shortening your paragraph makes sense when you're dropping blocks of text on your reader and there are valid places within the paragraph to divide and transition. Writing 10-15 words per sentence is fine if that's your style, if it fits what you're writing, if it--well, this is style, in my opinion, and therefore subjective. Tons of short sentences can also make your work feel choppy and abrupt, which is bad for readability. Since readability is something this thing says it's measuring, that's a problem.

For me.

I'm picky.

Look, short sentences! Good jorb! But you've got no transition words. Bad jorb.



Tl;dr, this plugin makes me angry. I hate seeing people put blind faith in a tool like this. It does function well for its purpose when used with care, but this is why you should have writers populating your business blog with content--because they'll know when to ignore bad advice.

For what it's worth, all of my posts score well on SEO, and that's in spite of the tool, not because of it. At least I'm developing good avoidance skills?

This entry was originally posted at Discuss here or there as you prefer.

Comments at DW: comment count unavailable

Tags: public: writing

  • Killing the Soul

    Or: working in retail/food service. Making it "Retail: Killing the Soul" felt even more melodramatic, but on second thought, the title I stuck with…

  • And then I'll be free.

    It's funny that The Writer's Guide to Beginnings doesn't have a terribly compelling opener. Beginnings ARE hard, but I mean... good job. I picked…

  • I don't remember how to write.

    A search on “writing and grief” turns up some interesting stuff. Not the “how to write grief in your novel” stuff, which is all cookie-cutter and…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded