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Know Your AudienceIt’s easy to get caught up in the world of stumbling, embedded links, widgets, dashboards and page ranks. But, published literature and the blogosphere share a common treatise for writers: good writing is good writing. If a writer is on target, concise and appealing, his audience will fall in line.

Many blog postings from 2005 warned writers that keyword optimization wasn’t the only game in town. Short paragraphs and bulleted lists would get recognized just as readily in a Google search. And, indeed, three years later, in Google’s Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide (2008), the top three pointers to writers appear:

  • Easy-to-read text
  • Organize around the topic
  • Use relevant language

Google tells web designers to make sure that they are keeping their users in mind when designing a site, not just designing for their crawlers:

Even though this guide’s title contains the words “search engine”, we’d like to say that you should base your optimization decisions first and foremost on what’s best for the visitors of your site. They’re the main consumers of your content and are using search engines to find your work. Focusing too hard on specific tweaks to gain ranking in the organic results of search engines may not deliver the desired results. Search engine optimization is about putting your site’s best foot forward when it comes to visibility in search engines.

Online technology has had, and will continue to have, an impact on writing. As our knowledge base moves out of libraries, bookstores and university research centers and into “the cloud,” it is clear that information has never been more accessible. The key challenge for technologists, and alas, for writers, is in the organization of the information.

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