The Search Engines are Killing Creativity

    April 10, 2006

An interesting NYT article on how Google (and others) are forcing newspapers to change their approach to writing news headlines.

In newspapers and magazines, for example, section titles and headlines are distilled nuggets of human brainwork, tapping context and culture. “Part of the craft of journalism for more than a century has been to think up clever titles and headlines, and Google comes along and says, ‘The heck with that,’ ” observed Ed Canale, vice president for strategy and new media at The Sacramento Bee.

It’s not just traditional news media either, bloggers are also having to sacrifice creativity in order to have a greater chance of being found in news search engines.

I for one, am worried by blog posts will soon read – “Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Firms Believe Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Sponsored Search Engine Listings are Subject to Fraudulent Clicks on Google, Yahoo, MSN and Ask.” – just so I can include keywords Google et al understand.

It’s not just news media though. Web designers are also having to change the way they create web sites. For years, they’ve been told not to use Flash or to limit JavaScript, otherwise the search engines will ignore them. As a result, we’re losing all sense of creativity on the web.

Isn’t it time the search engines start figuring out how to understand the mediums and languages we want to use, before our creative is replaced by “robot speak” for good?

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Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world’s most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at