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Ode to a Google Web-bot (…as written by an irate word-smith).

Like a lot of writers – I have a covert love of poetry, and an overt love of language.

Like a lot of marketers – I have to accommodate the minutiae of Google’s inscrutable whims into my work, whether I want to or not (…Google is now so powerful, if I want to reach my audience then I no longer have any say in the matter…a perturbing thought frankly).

And like a lot of free-thinking individuals – I sometimes balk at terms being dictated to me, and blindly yielding to the wishes of others… especially if I’m convinced at the time that those wishes are utterly wrong.

Some years ago, whilst in the midst of wrestling with these disparate forces, I decided to cram them all together into a creative work of protest – a whimsical and irreverent series of Haiku, dedicated to SEO copywriting in general, and what it was doing to the English language. (At the time, SEO writing was often bloody awful! Thankfully Google ranking algorithms are far smarter than they once were, but that’s another post.)

Most of the observations in this work are still very relevant when creating marketing content, so for the sake of education, posterity and my persistent delusions of poetic grandeur, I have posted the work below. Click on our bespectacled, type-writing friend to view a larger version.

CLAF--Dear-Google-HaikuAs the work was mainly written out of spite towards Google’s ranking practices, I have decided to remain true to that original spirit. The text has been embedded into a jpeg, and is deliberately NOT machine-readable by search-engine Web-bots. ( Sorry Google – this one is for human eyes only, and if you don’t like it – bite me! 😛 )

Feel free to copy, share and re-post this image as much as you like… just please leave the copyright and branding notices intact. While the writing within isn’t necessarily my best, they’re still my thoughts and feelings there on the page, and I’d like them to be contributed as such –  even at the risk of being quoted out-of-context.

I still live in hope that one day, Google might impart its content-ranking algorithms with a greater appreciation of written satire, metaphor and colloquialisms in general. That way, web pages could be ranked not only via keywords and content, but also by how well they were written. Then maybe grammar and eloquence would matter enough for online literary standards to improve, and for linguistic invention to be valuable enough to attract a premium once more.

I’m really not much of a poet, but most of the haiku are downright cheeky and I hope you get a giggle out of them – like all Haiku, they’re designed to be spoken aloud, so the rhythm of the words becomes more obvious. Writing them was a highly cathartic exercise, and helped to brighten-up a really crappy day. 😉



EDIT: I’ve made a bit of a blue here folks, so some further explanation is in order.

There are two versions of these haiku – I have included the less mischievous version above for your reading pleasure. The other one is longer, cheekier, and was originally intended solely for personal use, but I shared it with a couple of online sources in error (…as it’s almost identical in appearance to its twin, I uploaded the cheekier version by mistake).

The action was completely inadvertent on my part (Pro Tip – always keep alternate versions of artwork in  a completely different folder 🙂 ) and it might be either detrimental or beneficial to my intended aims. It may go viral, it may pass unnoticed, it might not have been seen yet by anyone, it might have been seen by everyone, people may love it, people may hate it… there are no guarantees one way or the other. Personally I far prefer the cheekier version, but I was not completely convinced that a milder version wouldn’t be the more prudent choice.

Both versions of the Haiku are obviously tongue-in-cheek, so hopefully people won’t misconstrue my intention with the cheekier version.

This is going to be interesting… stay tuned for further updates.