Home > Business > Business reading roundup, week of May 18, 2012

Business reading roundup, week of May 18, 2012

Well, two weeks in and I’m already falling back on the “or so” portion of my “every Friday or so” posting goal! I was under the weather all week, but nevertheless here’s a belated trio of items that sparked my curiosity, after the jump.

1. I ain’t gonna work on Maggie’s content farm no more

Google’s latest algorithm shift is a welcome blow against the nefarious kind of SEO—search engine overdosing—as these pieces from Copywrite Matters and Ragan highlight. It’s a welcome development for writers, as we generally prefer tailoring text to actual humans rather than crawlers.

Writing web copy is different than writing in other media, but the need for SEO isn’t a reason why. Good SEO writing is good writing, period. Strong writing is clear, relevant, and economical—qualities that appeal to readers and search engines alike.

2. Next week: The time AltaVista bought like 20 disposable cameras and a photo album

Gizmodo’s fantastic in-depth look at how Yahoo bungled its acquisition of Flickr, squandering a chance to claim the vanguard of the social web movement in the process.  The piece reads like a bizarro case study documenting everything not to do to succeed: shortchanging consumer experience, starving a struggling unit of the resources necessary for turnaround, snuffing out employees’ passion.

It all comes off as a microcosm of Yahoo’s general lunkheadedness since the mid-2000s. It’s almost hard to believe that the one-time primary sponsor of The Apprentice could devolve into a grasping, little-loved sideshow.

3. Screwing people over: Not always as sound a strategy as you might think

A look at the struggles of American Airlines in the pages of Bloomberg Businessweek finds fault in the decision to dump 13,000 employees and royally piss off the rest. The article favors the novel approach of treating employees as assets rather than costs. Branding doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It’s defined and reinforced—for good or for ill—by customers’ interactions with the human beings who represent the brand at every level. Employees who view their organization as an adversary won’t exactly radiate warmth and confidence.

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Categories: Business
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