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Slave To The Algorithm: Are Keywords Killing The Creativity Of SMEs?

Rodgers, Jayne and Keegan, BJ (2018) Slave To The Algorithm: Are Keywords Killing The Creativity Of SMEs? In: Academy of Marketing Conference, 02 July 2018 - 05 July 2018, University of Stirling, Scotland.

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Abstract

Opportunities for SMEs to describe themselves creatively are restricted by the impact of writing content for search engine optimisation (SEO) purposes. The use of keywords imposes limitations on the ways businesses can differentiate their product, service or offering (PSO) from others operating in similar areas. The ability to be found online through the use of keywords/phrases is restricted by search engine algorithms, with training in 'good' SEO focusing on how to say what search engines expect, rather than on the ways business would ordinarily (or would like to) describe themselves. These restrictions are two-fold: as businesses master keywords in order to be found online, search engines reiterate the same keywords as dominant, creating a self-perpetuating cycle in which creative, unusual or novel descriptors become unhelpful or ineffective. This is significant because digital marketing knowhow for SMEs is predicated in part on mastering keywords. This leaves SMEs little scope for effectively promoting through search engines the unique skills and expertise they often rely on to succeed. Linking to the conference theme, Marketing The Brave, the limitations of keywords are analysed and ways SMEs can use the growth of the semantic web to increasingly personalise their offering online are explored.

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