Forget anti-vexers and other conspiracy theories for a moment. This isn’t the real danger of the internet (unless you are easily swayed).
The real danger on the internet is people writing for SEO purposes without any understanding of that they are writing about – in other words 99 percent of article and content creation is generic papp.
Sense check everything you read.
Long gone are the days when *most* people wrote about subjects of which they had an understanding. Nowadays, the majority of internet content is written primarily to try and attract the google gods and so sales/money.
Remember that and read critically, especially if you are looking up anything to do with health, finance or basic DIY.
I have no objection to people writing to increase traffic to their websites (to increase sales) provided the information is in some sense useful – and not generic platitudes copied from other site.
I wonder when or if Google will ever improve their algorithms to filter out the wheat from the chaff. There doesn’t seem to be much weighting as to quality, but more importance placed on where ‘key sentences’ are placed in the text.
Here is a good example of what I am writing about.
I wanted some specific information about changing or substituting a transformer in a ceiling light (and yes I know how to do this).
The first result returned by my search was full of wisdom such as:-
Turn off the power. Remove the transformer. Install the replacement.
It is generic rubbish written for SEO, and clearly by someone who has never swapped a transformer out. Fine, you need to follow all these steps, but the information is hardly enlightening. It does not help anyone achieve the task. It is not adding anything.
The way article writing for SEO works, and it is easy to do is (in essence) as follows.
- Type in some sort of relevant search term.
- Open the top ten result pages in different tabs.
- Copy, paste and rewrite theses pages into a new *article*.
- Improve the on-page SEO slightly.
This is why so many articles appear to be the same. The research is in fact a quick trawl through similar articles, and the author has no knowledge of experience of what he or she is writing about.
The situation is so bad that if I want information I will always prefix my searches with:
NHS for health.
WIKI for information.
And so on.
Or I will go to specific sites that I know are of high quality.
I, for example, have been a lawyer, games programmer, automation engineer, worked in manufacturing, and have studied languages formally. I can write about those subjects with some degree of knowledge, and while it might be imperfect is based on practical experience and exposure.
If I write outside these areas, I am on more shaky ground.
This doesn’t matter normally, but when you are looking for advice on how to do something important, it would be useful to find it high in the search rankings.
I would never (for example) write an explanation of how to do anything electrical with mains voltage.
I am not an electrician. FFS. I don’t want to inadvertently mislead anyone with bad information in an area where is matters.
Fine, if you want to automate your water butt like I intent to do and water spills over your garden does it matter? No. If you wire up a transformer the wrong way, it might …
This is exactly the reason, that I won’t publish the circuitry for the water butt/greenhouse projects on my blog. It’s not secret nor is it particularly sophisticated.
The thing is that while I am confident that I know what I am doing, I don’t want to mislead anyone.
Just don’t trust the internet (and you know what the same applies to all the conspiracy theories floating about).