These days, I don’t write for the web and I don’t write for my client; I write for story. That’s the only right way to start. But when you hear so many people make claims about web writing needing to be short, you start to doubt yourself.
“After all,” I’m thinking, “maybe it doesn’t matter if people read and absorb a relevant truth about the brand, as long as they arrive at the website.”
Now that I’ve written it, it’s obviously ridiculous. But why do so many people swallow that logic? Especially since a high bounce rate (people leaving your page quickly) hurts your Google searchability.
Maybe it’s because an unsophisticated kind of SEO approach is about a measurable result, even if it doesn’t necessarily lead to conversions. In other words, I think the fundamental problem here is a lack of focus on what matters and a hyper-focus on what’s measurable.
I still think there’s a middle ground. But middle ground implies a compromise (like we just need to compromise for compromise’s sake), where I propose a strategy. In other words, we start to gain an understanding of the tradeoffs between accepted SEO principles and the realities of how humans interact with the online brand presence (UX).
The cool thing is, I’m not alone. If you’re sad because you think the only way to write for the web is to keep copy short and irrelevant, don’t lose heart. Find others who feel the same way and get encouragement, like I did from this article by Joshua Porter: The Long & Short of Writing for the Web — 52 Weeks of UX.
I believe SEO and UX are converging, mostly because of how Google rates results. And I think the first rule is to write relevant truths. That’s where I’m at. And I’ll be counting on guys like Joshua to help me develop my philosophy.