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Fri, 05 Oct 2018

Lately, I have been followed. The man who is following me has good hair and dead eyes. It would seem wherever I go on the internet, he pops up. He is young, very young, but is constantly telling me that he has the wisdom and the secret stuff that can help me.

He keeps telling me he is very rich and desperately wants to help people. This is why he will help me become very rich, too. He always seems to be at a mansion with a couple of Ferraris in the background. The snake-oil gospel of success. PT Barnum without a real circus.

I have a name for these people. I call them the internet class. My definition of the internet class is people who have no discernible skills, but seem to make money by claiming they can explain things. They don’t make anything tangible, but have loads of information and answers they claim makes them experts. They repackage what exists and explain what is already known to people who are desperate for answers. They promise everything but deliver very little.

The internet class

I think our industry is starting to have its own internet class. Now, I know, advertising has always been full of hustlers. But, the hustle, for creatives at least, has always been about trying to make things. The hustle was the way, never the end goal.

One of the great comforts of being a creative is that you know, in the end, after all the talk, something will have to be made. There will be evidence of industry. The process will lead to something other than itself. This simple fact guarded against words being more important than things. The result is what counted.

For many that is still true. However, in my travels I have started to meet a certain type of person. Other creatives have described them to me as well.

“They have good hair, the right trainers and a fixed smile. The know all the work. They know all the buzzwords. In the first meeting, they are very impressive. In the second one, less so. Their gift is, they can explain everything and anything. They just don’t know how to make anything. They have vague titles and even vaguer skills. You find them everywhere. They are spread across the advertising universe like the black space between stars.”

The internet has given them the information, the platform and the words. They don’t think. They don’t have to. They just explain. They tell you that you don’t understand, but they have the formula. They know the secret. It is very seductive and very palatable, in a world where things are getting faster and faster. The danger is, as an industry, we could end up drinking our own snake oil and wondering why we are still not feeling well.


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Fri, 14 Sep 2018

The AppsAfrica Innovation Awards – showcasing the continent’s most innovative ventures – provide winners with industry recognition, global publicity, and networking opportunities with over 300 industry peers at the awards ceremony in Cape Town on November 12. Winners are also invited to Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2019 to join more than 400 tech leaders from across the continent.

The awards provide are open to corporates, established ventures or startups which have launched tech services in at least one African market.

Applicants must operate in one of the 14 categories covered by the awards: Disruptive Innovation, Health Tech, Best African App, Enterprise, Blockchain, News and Entertainment, Edtech, Fintech, Agritech, IoT, mCommerce, Mobility, Social Impact, and the Changing Africa Award.

Applications will be assessed by a team of industry expert judges who are selected based on their knowledge, influence and contribution to the improvement of technology and business in Africa.

Entries can be submitted here until September 14, with the shortlisted finalists announced in October 2018. Source:

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Wed, 12 Sep 2018

A colleague of mine (a fellow writer, but not a website copywriter or SEO specialist) recently said,

SEO writing has deteriorated into basically choosing appropriate keywords for a subject, and then using them in vaguely coherent sentences to score highly in searches.

He went on,

In this day and age, in which people hardly READ anymore, what’s the point of strategising, optimising, carefully inserting and tweaking? Who cares if the content is largely vanilla, instead of deeply significant, client-specific copy?

I couldn’t disagree more and, because this is a widespread misperception that many clients and industry fellows may share, I need to clear it up. Like, now.

For true SEO, remember the human element

What you need to kno

What my colleague was referring to is an old and thankfully abandoned practice, commonly referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’. It looks like this:

“This article provides free writing tips, so be sure to check out this free writing tips article if you are interested in getting free writing tips.”

Or like this:

‘Our investment principles guide our investment strategy and form the basis from which investment decisions are made. Before embarking on any investment plan it is important to have the correct foundation on which to base an investment strategy. With this in mind, we have chosen certain basic investment principles.’

But the technique doesn’t work anymore, because Google has evolved so much that it is far is too clever for this nonsense. In fact, using keyword stuffing today will badly prejudice your organic SEO.

So, what to do? Remember the human element. Here are six tips for achieving organic SEO on websites, in line with Google’s latest algorithms…

Six tips for true, human-friendly SEO

Try to create high-value content that achieves the business’s objectives, as if search engines didn’t exist. Create smart on-page SEO, using the language that the audience uses when searching and socialising, so that Google sees the site as the most relevant option to direct them to. Prioritise answering the user’s question over ranking. (Invest in one great piece of content that engages buyer personas, rather than six pieces that fail to answer real-life questions.) Pick only one main keyword or keyphrase per page, and use that as your over-riding ‘topic’ or focus area for the page. Consider the length of webpage copy. If you only have a few sentences per page, search spiders will think your content is too skimpy. Granted, there’s no official word count, but I like to aim for 200-250 words on ‘normal’ (less strategic) pages and 750-900 for cornerstone pages. Never ‘keyword-stuff’ or try to make websites into article factories packed with waffle. It doesn’t work. Google. Is. Cleverer. Than. You. Are.

The bottom line is that modern search has moved away from starting with info and connecting it to an audience, to starting with the user and customising the result. That’s how we should write SEO copy for websites.



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