Imagine if Shakespeare were a blogger. Alive in our modern world and publishing his materials on a blog. As he thinks about the material he writes, does he wonder about how many hits that his posts would receive? Would he agonize over what long tail search phrases the search engines would pick up?
Or would he write for the pure joy of creating great content, confident that his incredible works of art would attract readers on its own and bring traffic to his blog? If you could ask Shakespeare the blogger for some advice, would he tell you to write for the human beings or to write for the machines?
Instead of answering this question, let’s tell a story:
Imagine a young struggling writer. He sits at his desk in his studio apartment. The apartment is bare, but for a small dinner table, his bed and a desk.
Sunlight begins to creep in through the window that overlooks this man’s desk. He’s got the lean look of a man who eat’s sparsely. He’s disheveled, unshaven, staring agonizingly at the laptop that sits on the desk in front of him. He has the look of a man who has not slept. Outside, you hear the sounds of the city as it wakes up. The sputtering of a passing car startles the man out of his daydream.
He sits up and looks again at the words on his computer screen:
To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish’d. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub;
It is the first few lines of a new blog post he was writing.
He can feel the inspiration speaking to him through the words, but he knows that these words would not bring the readers. Alas! It is not search engine optimized! These beautiful words have no meaning to the vast machine that controls your fate! He struggles over his dilemma, to keep these words or to change them, optimize them. His heart tells him these are the words that would inspire man. But in his mind, he realizes that these words would only bring a few hundred visitors to his site, while properly optimized, he could speak to millions.
Slowing his hand creeps towards his keyboard. If you look closely, you could see a slight tremble in his hand. And as his hand makes contact with the laptop, the tremble moves up his arm and you could see it take over his body in a shudder as his finger presses a button. The words disappear to a blank screen. Slowly he begins to type again: (keyphrases in bold added for emphasis)
Suicidal thoughts cross my mind.
Is it more noble to try and overcome hardship?
I’m facing depression from my bad luck.
Is determination enough to overcome bad luck.
Or should I give up and commit suicide?
Would my soul go to the afterlife?
If there is an afterlife, would I dream?
That would be ironic….
The man continues to write, slouched over his keyboard. He moves without excitement, slowly tapping away.
He stops and looks out the window at the city and sighs…
Back to the Present
Is there a great work of art lurking in the recesses of your own mind?
As a blogger, we face this dilemma each time we sit down to write a post. In the back of our minds is always the advice to research your search terms, keep in mind those longtail keyphrase and try to create a careful balance between SEO and readability. Often times, you can stumble across a post that crosses that line of into complete nonsense stuffed with keywords. The search engine brought you to the site, but you read the articles trying to make heads or tails of what the author is saying.
If Shakespeare were alive today, would he be concerned about the machine or the human being sitting behind that computer screen? I would like to think that he would tell you to strive for greatness. He might say that a great work of art will receive recognition and become popular on its own even without SEO.
When you write your blog posts, keep in mind that a machine has no heart. A machine can’t be inspired. A machine can’t feel the love between Romeo and Juliet. It can’t feel the agony of Hamlet or the betrayal of Caesar.
The next time you sit down to write. Think about it as a work of art. Then as you put your hand on the keyboard ask yourself this question:
To be or not to be…