The Lost Art of Letter Writing Found in HitTail

ML Sep 1, 2006

Another article that I refer to all the time is Lee Gomes’ Wall Street Journal piece about how search engine optimizers and writers are more like a boorish bunch vying for camera time at a raucous sporting event than they are professional writers. In particular, optimizers trying to bring in traffic for online pharmacies are just ripping text off of the World Health Organization (WHO) website, changing a few words, and re-publishing it. This is allegedly the SEO landscape due to how affiliate programs and AdSense incentivizes work-from-home Webmasters to collect and become arbitrators of valuable website visitors–presumably because the “original source” can’t do it as well.

This is part of what HitTail is endeavoring to fix. I often equate it to the lost art of letter writing. With email, and especially mobile phone email, we’re all accustomed to firing off short emails with very little thought and very little word craft. To some degree, blogging is bringing back the art form. You know you are going to be read by a larger audience, and therefore held to a higher standard. HitTailing takes it up a notch by adding search engines as a secondary audience. And although you’re writing primarily for your human readership, the details of your headline are immensely important in bringing your readers in the first place. And the headline alone serves 90% of this purpose.

Therefore, because you’re choosing a topic that you know you’ll be able to bring in the hit by the time you typed your fifth word, the whole rest of the page is freed up for higher craft. You don’t have to be a boorish grandstanding clown to bring in the visitor. In fact, your readership will appreciate it much more if you’re not. We all know that sense of disappointment when we follow a promising link, only to find yourself in web of automated black hat SEO landing pages. That’s what those low-value AdSense traffic grabbers are. Compare that to the joy of discovering a thoughtful and informed opinion on the blogger’s own genuine site.

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