Dur, that’s what she said.

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House slippers and a newspaper

Ah, back to the good old days of double entendres.

After The Atlantic announced last week that they would make no further effort in the arena of SEO, it got me thinking about where SEO and SEO content writing were headed.

Was The Atlantic on to something? Were we all suddenly living in a world where all things clever had to be rewritten for optimization to the detriment of readers everywhere?

Or was there a bigger question about how SEO content writers, and journalists for that matter, are doing their jobs?

When The Atlantic threw in the towel, they noted that they were sick of headlines that sounded forced just to include certain words. Copy editors were fed up with sacrificing wit in the name of SEO. They were really, really mad that optimizing for search engines supposedly equaled more readers. Grrrrr. I imagined they were stomping their feet in the newsroom.

This was a declaration of war on SEO, and there would be no happy medium.

Now, I’m not sure if you’ve perused the home page of TheAtlantic.com lately, but their engaging, witty headlines? Yawn.

Or perhaps they’re blowing off SEO in favor of 1,000-plus-word articles pondering if The Office will ever be funny again.

Side note: Number one, no; it won’t ever be funny again. Number two, really? Such a long article about The Office? And believe me, they are definitely not trying to use keywords. Plus, the witty writer threw in a “that’s what she said” joke at the end. That’s just poor writing.

Now the question begs, where is the SEO-savvy journalist who can instinctively write good copy with SEO in mind? Why aren’t journalists supplementing their writing skills with SEO as a major consideration? In my opinion, a journalist not learning how to intermingle SEO content into news copy is tantamount to not keeping up with AP Stylebook or Chicago Manual changes.

It would seem our brave new world is one where journalists draw lines in the sand with SEOers and then everyone just pouts.

Maybe we should all get together, throw on some Jason Mraz and rekindle creativity in all forms of writing and then see what we get.

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