This post was originally published in The Content Technologist newsletter on November 7, 2019 as "How grammar and SEO are intertwined."

This past week I visited my college town and saw old friends, all of whom are doing fabulously well. We talked about work, like we do. Many of my friends didn’t know what “SEO” meant, and I explained — once right as we were walking outside Google’s Chelsea east coast HQ. These friends are worldly, intelligent, very successful in their respective fields, and it was a good reminder: my media/marketing/digital content world isn’t some land of universal knowledge. I mean, I didn’t actually think that. But. I take base knowledge of SEO for granted, like how people generally know what carbs are. But SEO is not carbs.

So, my definition: SEO is ensuring people can find content through algorithms, by enabling that content to be read by computers while using the language that people regularly use. SEO is inextricable from user experience and content creation, but it’s not altogether different from the inverted pyramid format of newspaper writing.

A fair number of industry creators — generally writers and creatives who have worked for crappy media companies alluded to in last week’s rant — think poorly of SEO as a practice. One day I will write extensively about all of these opinions, many of which are valid because hey! most SEO companies and operators are full of shit and don’t understand what good writing looks like. But I’m only permitting myself one rant monthly, and I spent that last week.

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