Have you noticed that generic McReview sites Capitalise Every Word In The Titles Of Their Posts? Despite contemporary editorial style guides usually suggesting minimal capitalisation? Ever wondered why? It’s because Capitalising words makes them slightly more search engine optimised than lower case words. That’s right, McReview sites really do write more for machines than audiences. They deliberately write ugly text.
A screen capture of Broadsheet made on 7 July 2011
To amuse myself I thought I’d see who else is playing the same game. I’ve been writing review of McReview sites for years now (2009, 2010 and 2011). One the sites I reviewed last, Out of Ideas, is ironically out of ideas and has not published since March. It likes its capitals, with such gems as ‘Continue Reading’. If only I could…
Agenda Melbourne is a tacky coupon site with such majestic headlines as ‘Fashion Supports Tracky Dack Day‘. Superb. SEO your tracky dacks. Milk Bar Mag has some similarly excellent examples including ‘Warm The Cockles Of My Heart‘. No thanks.
It amuses me to see some more sites joining in the fun. Small Werld (sic) gets all shouty with all capitals titles like ‘TRIPPY TACO: DON’T MISS THE MEAT‘. But then it buries all the text of the story in an image slideshow, so there’s next to nothing for Google to index. Oopsies. Totes SEO fail dude. And they’ve thrown in a few apostrophe errors as a bonus. Sweet.
Finally, Small Lust shows no evidence of a style guide or any editorial input – it has no consistency – but it does like a good capital or two, as in ‘Warm Your Heart And Thrill Your Tastebuds’. As You Can Tell, I’m Totally Thrilled. Not.
I wish some of these new media entrepreneurs could practice a bit of good writing and editing. Maybe even learn how to use apostrophes properly. Don’t get me started on ellipses. But that may require paying someone competent, and they don’t pay for content. But they do get what they pay for.
With all these sites audiences are faced with suboptimal reading experiences. The text is all uppity or shouty and is not reader friendly. That’s because it’s not designed to attract readers. It’s made (for the most part, Small Werld excepted) to generate Google SEO, which in turn generates good statistics to be compiled into ROI reports to determine advertising rates. None of this remotely makes for good reading.
Meanwhile, in the wider world of McReview sites, after promising to publish a site ‘soon’ back in November 2010, Top Melbourne appears to have failed even before launching. No fun. It’s hard to take the piss about something that never existed. Speaking of failure, how’s Gram doing?
I’m so glad I’m no longer in this caper alone. What does warm my heart is to see others taking to writing reviews of categories of websites with a similar sardonic wit. Splendid work.