The Illusion of Free Will, Google Version


From Andrew Sullivan:

Fear not. The Dish will not succumb to SEOs. I’m still too enthralled with the immediate unfiltered reader-writer experience that blogging alone allows.

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, the dark art of writing blog posts or news articles that will rise to the top of Google search pages. But although Andrew may not be SEO-ing his own site, he’s already succumbed to SEO. After all, the article he links to in the post above is a week-old review by Sean Gallagher of a tool called InboundWriter, which is designed to help you write Google-friendly prose:

To get a feel for what SEO experts think determines a “high-quality” page from the standpoint of a search engine, I used InboundWriter to search-optimize this story. I’ll let you be the judge of the outcome; InboundWriter gave it a score of 99 out of a possible 100.

In other words, Andrew may think that he wrote about SEO today of his own free will. But free will is an illusion. In reality, he wrote about it because Gallagher’s article had been honed to perfection and thus gotten lots of attention. I blindly followed along. Resistance is futile.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate