Internet Marketing: The Rise and Fall of Bad SEO Writing

For most of its existence, search engine optimization (SEO) writing has been a form of utilitarian writing that has been used as a means for achieving online marketing ends. The main function of the writing has been to contain strategic keywords that match the search queries that the target audience enters in major search engines to look for products and services that are sold online.

Until the last few years, the “quality” of SEO writing has been a non-factor. As long as it was not duplicated content, contained the right keywords, and hyperlinked them to serve as outbound links to a business website, practically any level of writing quality was acceptable. The only exceptions were keyword-optimized onsite blogs and landing pages. Because they appear on a business website, these forms of writing have always needed to demonstrate high quality.

The Philippines Connection

To save money, many online marketing and Ecommerce companies initially outsourced SEO writing to non-native English speakers in the Philippines, where the value of the American dollar dwarfs the worth of the Philippine peso. Paying someone in the Philippines ten dollars to write a 500-word article was like paying an American writer several times more. Filipino writers were pleased with their pay, and their employers were exuberant about how cheaply they could get SEO content.

The downside of this arrangement was that the writing seemed as if were created by people whose English skills were not well-honed. Some online marketing companies still use Filipino writers, or other off-shore writers, but the ones they choose typically demonstrate excellent familiarity with the English language. Still, the quality of the writing isn’t stellar; it often sounds as if it were written by an early high school student. However, the quality is generally better than it was a few years ago.

New SEO Content Standards

Throughout its existence, one of Google’s primary goals has been to improve the quality of web content, SEO writing included. Unlike in years past, Google now has algorithms that are designed to assess the quality of written web content. Furthermore, the company also claims that it has a team of content quality control specialists, who personally read web content and decide whether Google should promote or demote the web pages that are reviewed.

While it is questionable just how many of the millions of pages of web content Google’s content quality specialists have time to read, one thing is certain: The search engine’s algorithms following the Hummingbird update in 2014 have been tweaked to judge the quality of written content using several quality indicators that directly impact the search engine results position (SERP) of the page in question. Criteria Google uses to judge writing quality now includes:

  • Whether the writing covers the topic comprehensively
  • The length of the piece (over 500 words is ideal)
  • Whether the writing contains images (images are a plus)
  • How much ad content a page contains (less is better)
  • Whether the writing is easy for most to read


For online marketing companies, the most precipitous change in content evaluation has been the focus on whether the writing is easily readable. In many cases, making content more readable means replacing a writing team of foreigners with a team of Americans whose native language is English. By extension, this means that online marketers must better compensate their writers, as you can’t pay good writers ten dollars for 500 words and expect to retain their services.

In terms of the SERP of web pages that contain SEO writing, making a greater investment in writing services typically delivers an excellent return on investment (ROI). The higher a website appears in search results, the more web traffic it generally receives, which translates into more opportunities to generate leads and make sales conversions. Simply put, making a greater investment in SEO writing can indirectly result in closing more sales and boosting revenue.

Compensation and Motivation

At the executive level, it is well-understood that compensation and the motivation to perform go hand in hand. However, at the sub managerial level, which is where SEO writers are positioned, this concept has been loosely applied. This is one reason why many online marketing companies experience a high turnover of writers. Writers who are poorly compensated may hang around for awhile, but you can bet that they will look for a better job while they write for you.

Ultimately, this situation begs the question: How much pay should a freelance SEO writer receive in order to retain his or her services, and avoid the hassle hiring a new team of writers every few months? There are several factors to consider, specifically: the professional experience of the writer, the level of his or her writing ability, the level of research that goes into the writing, and whether assignments are consistently delivered on or before the due date.

When writers score well in these categories, paying them between forty and seventy-five dollars for a piece of high-quality writing is a good approach. Because many SEO writers work on a freelance basis, compensating them at this level still costs less than hiring in house writers, who receive a full range of benefits by virtue of working full-time in house. If you want to receive stellar SEO content, adequately compensating your writers is one of the main keys to getting it.

Need Help With SEO Content?

If so, you don’t have to hire your own team of freelance writers. Instead, you can use the creative services which are available on the internet. Most of them work with highly qualified writers to create web content whose overall quality and keyword optimization strategies boost the position of your business website and associated pages in search results. Those companies will fully handle the writing and editing process to allow you to focus on core business while your SEO content is created.

I hope this article has given you good information about Google SEO writing. If you have any questions. Feel free to comment below.


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