I had been registrered on a famous crowdsourcing website for some time now, and a couple of days ago, I got my first missions: SEO writing and approval of previously written texts. Over the past two days, I have already developed a love-hate relationship with the linguistic challenge that is writing for SEO , and here is why.
Writing for search engines
Yes, I had to write descriptions of the different objects an online shop was selling. Try to write 400 words on, say, umbrellas, having to present their uses, the wonderful colours they come in, the material they are made of, etc. Inspiration comes from other sites selling the same products, or articles and entries on specialised websites or forums. Be careful though: your text will be checked for plagiarism. Hence the importance on learning how to «spin» a text, that is to produce the same meaning by changing the words and the sentence structure. Not all the words, though, as keywords and phrases have to be quoted a certain number of times, in a way that is search engines-friendly, and who cares if those phrases are not even grammatically correct? The goal is to write empty articles which content is optimised to appear as high as possible in the search results for the keywords they showcase. Even if the topic is interesting, producing endless variations on the same void topic is pretty much mind-numbing.
SEO is easy to learn
If a writer is competent in their mother tongue and has been granted with the ability to work fast, then SEO writing is actually a source of easy extra income, depending on the number of missions one receives in a month. The first text you will have to write on an unknown topic is of course the most difficult and time-consuming to deliver, but, the more articles you write, the quicker you will be able to produce the typical SEO text: A title, and three paragraphs headed by an undertitle. Provided you keep every article you write and analyse which sentences work or are catchy while being neutral and selling, you will soon be able to produce «empty language» around the theme and the keywords you are given, and see the euros pile up.
Will I pursue my experience?
Absolutely. I had never thought I would be able to bang out an article so quickly about a topic about which I had no previous knowledge… even less a series of articles. Those missions came at a great point in my timetable, when I have book translation projects for which I will be payed only on delivery. Writing and receiving immediate (and informative) feedback about my work, while seeing the money counter climb and climb is not sufficient to make me forget that I am in a digital sweatshop, but is a profitable way to keep my on my toes when I am not elsewhere engaged. And on the bright side, ask me about why cats need a tree, I can answer AND produce an informative 400 words article on the subject anytime!