Yes, yes…we know, last week Google gave us their usual heads-up of an impending Google Penguin update, sending SEO writers into a speculative frenzy. But what piqued our interest last week was this piece from Scientific American contributor Khalil Cassimally, who points out how SEO writing practices have been affecting writing in other places, such as the scientific community.
Cassimally explains, “As more and more science writing is done specifically for the web, the way science writers pen their stories is subtly and not-so-subtly changing. Writers are becoming increasingly conscious of search engine optimization (SEO) and social media optimization (SMO) for instance. And they are taking those into account as they write.”
Wondering if this recent trend is affecting science writing online for the better or worse, Cassimally brings up guest-blogging, and explains the concept of frequently linking to articles or blog posts from between publication as a widely used SEO tactic.
Cassimally quickly concludes, “My point is that SEO and SMO are obviously changing online writing. And it’s happening right now. Is it a good or bad thing? I don’t think it can be polarised as such. All writers want to be read and if SEO and SMO are done right, writers will likely get more readers… The question then is: can writers do good SEO and SMO without compromising the quality of their writing?”
We believe the ultimate goal of scientific discovery is the ability to teach it to others. If scientists want more eyes on their articles, it makes sense to embrace the writing trends of today, and in our opinion, the community is wise to make that move. By acknowledging the power of SEO and SMO, scientists are giving themselves and their findings a better opportunity to be taught to a larger audience, and who is going to complain about that?