Title

Search engine optimization : a new literacy practice

Date of Award

2013

Degree Name

M.A. in English

Department

Department of English

Advisor/Chair

Advisor: Patrick W. Thomas

Abstract

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the technical practice of modifying a website to receive higher rankings on search engines such as Google. Computer programmers carefully place keywords within content of frequently updated websites such as blogs, social networks' discussion boards, and company profile sites so the site will appear at a higher ranking on search engines and capture potential consumers' attention. Search engines frequently change the algorithms that scan websites and display them on search results listings, meaning the writers and computer programmers who focus on this optimization must constantly adjust their tactics for new rhetorical situations. This technical writing focuses not only on content and keyword count but essentially the goal of constantly drawing attention to the information they produce and exchange. Following this conception of literacy, Search Engine Optimization writing as a literacy practice includes technical programming skills to create web content. This content is intended to reach a human audience but is mediated by the technical knowledge of search engine algorithms. New literacy practices describe not only new technical genres but reflect that the process of creating such genres and the social motives for creation are non-traditional or new. SEO writing involves new technical writing skills and styles of writing, as well as a new purpose, not just selling products or achieving recognition, but gaining the attention of search engines that often control web users access to information. Exploring the literacy practice of such writing will demonstrate how technical and professional communicators have adapted to new genres and rhetorical situations in a digital landscape.

Keywords

Online authorship Study and teaching, Technological literacy Study and teaching, Web search engines Study and teaching, Web sites Registration with search engines Study and teaching, Technical writing Computer network resources, English language Rhetoric Study and teaching Computer network resources, Search engines, Computer literacy, Communication; composition; language; language arts; literacy; multimedia communications; rhetoric; technical communication; technology; web studies; SEO; new literacies; literacy practice; technical writing; digital literacies; search engine optimization

Rights Statement

Copyright 2013, author

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