One big reason Not to use SEO as a common Keyword

 

OR

To write an article about it!

YES

I’m a Hypocrite!

 

Search Engine Optimisation or SEO is a well-known term for those individuals in the website marketing sphere. SEO is used to improve your fortunes through people finding you.

 

I’m NOT going to talk at length about what SEO is and how you can perform the magic required. I’m NOT going to talk about Pay Per Click or any of that hokum.

 

I AM going to talk to you about why SEO is not a great topic to rank for. I AM going to talk in depth about why you should think carefully about whether you should use it as one or part of your keywords when writing an article.

 

In the beginning came adverts…

 

Getting traffic has been the preserve of many eager corporations, small businesses and general public for years. It all started because the Search Engines discovered the benefits of being able to use advertisements and take the cream from them. It has devolved into a slippery mess since this capitalist decision.

Okay, that’s my opinion. I threw the capitalist bit in but what is Google if it isn’t a capitalist company? I’m not saying that from a communist perspective. I’m just calling an onion an onion.

 

Then came the rules…

 

Google started a driven strategy to push the right results to the right people and satisfy their inquiry. The results were optimised so those that were most relevant rose to the top. Marketeers realised that they now had competition and couldn’t pump out any old rhubarb for the general masses to lap up anymore. They’d have to put a bit more effort in to make it useful. Getting to the first page of the search engine results was and is crucial.

Relevance and competition prevent me rising to the top as much as they do for you! I may be entirely relevant but social net worth graded by the engine marks me down as a less relevant voice. I am marked down because I have NOT been shouting for as long and haven’t had as many people sitting around me listening.

 

Then came the bubble…

 

Search engines had the capability to shape the search to the searcher so that results were generated based on what the searcher historically found useful. This meant that the search results for each individual would vary for the exact same keyword search.

 

If you want to read more about the filter bubble phenomenon, follow this link: Living in a Google Filter Bubble?

 

Reasons why you should think twice about using SEO as a keyword:

 

  1. SEO is an over popular phrase. It’s like wearing denim. Very common.
  2. It’s a money phrase. This means that people spend money to compete and earn more money.
  3. People are employed specifically for SEO in large corporations. Therefore, they know better strategies and use better tools, have more knowledge about the subject and kick ass.

 

A lot of people are talking about Search Engine Optimisation. You should consider if joining the conversation is really a good idea. Do you have that gold to talk about? Would your time be better served writing about something else with less competition?

 

Here is a task for you!

 

  • Open a new tab or window.

 

  • Go to Google.

 

  • Search for SEO.

 

My results generated 204,000,000 results. How many did your’s generate?

 

The SEO result

Try this test yourself. See what you get!

 

I can guarantee that everyone on that first page of results, has done something special or underhand to get there.

 

In the face of such numbers you will not rise to the top with ease unless you invest serious money or social attention.

 

Extending the tail

 

A newer trick to find lower competition is to find a long tail to a keyword phrase. Adding a series of words to the keyword phrase lowers the overall competition.

 

Unfortunately the depth of SEO has gone quite deep with long tails so you may struggle here too. The fact is that millions of people before you tried to think of ways to rank that were a little more inventive.

 

So what’s the best thing to do if you really have to rank for SEO?

 

  • Make sure the content delivers a knockout punch.
  • Make sure you’ve got the traffic and the interest.
  • Be inventive.

 

Obviously there’s more to it than that. I hazard a guess to what:

 

  • Paying.
  • Hacking.
  • Other.

 

Sometimes it is just a matter of:

 

Who you know

 

and…

 

Time

 

So the one big reason Not to use SEO as a common Keyword is that you will fail if you are a maverick. As a maverick, you have better subjects to spend your time on.

The Social Path to Blogging

That dreaded red button

Don’t press it!

This article will cover the social path to blogging but it wasn’t originally intended that way…

Do you ever have periods where you are inspired to write something quite spectacular and yet by the time you reflect on it you can’t push the button? There may be something contentious in that piece that breaks one of your principles. A character assassination perhaps or some descending spiral of darkness, a depth that should not be plumbed.

I’ve written a piece along that line recently and I have to step back and reshape it because it can’t see the light of day. So I’m going to carve the good parts from that post and bring you a warmer plate of goodness, mostly because in my olden days of writing, I’d be stupid and blast it out without a thought.

Whether you feel I have succumbed to the shackles of a “Politically Correct” restriction then fear not. I do speak out about things I don’t like from time to time. My calamitous Apple purchase of an iPhone 5C this year in a post entitled The Apple Based Disaster provided by Herman was one such outburst. I also took on Candy Crush and my thoughts on how they introduce at risk addictive personalities to the ills of gambling at an early age with this post. Finally I observed SEOClerks and an upsurge in underhand black hat techniques with this post. I don’t mind courting with danger every so often because even though those rant posts don’t quite get the mileage they deserve, it feels liberating writing on the subjects that bug me the most.

Leading me to my gripe…

I had written something about a site I follow and about a person on that site who I both like and hate in equal measure. Something about their ego has exploded over the months and they have become a monster. There’s a saying that goes;

First impressions count

I was handed the rough end after my excitement at being given the opportunity to ask a question and that has shaped my thoughts ever since. I take what I can from this person but I do so with a mild contempt nowadays. This person took a mild interest in my site but has never offered true “support” in the dictionary definition. Not even a friendly comment. Rubbish.

But I digress….

Sweet Cherry Pie

Sweet Cherry Pie!!

To add the cherry to the pie I’m going to be talking about social interaction. Being social is where you should be at if you want to expand your audience with blogging. There’s no big secret in that and no secret formula.

 

 

More social = more views + more engagement

A way to socialise

My social skills need improvement whether they be online or offline. In this age of information, being able to “present” and “represent” are two important skills. I’ve had social problems in my life, I’m not afraid to admit. I’ve always been awkward with my fellow man and woman alike. Maybe its a lack of confidence or just being a quiet person, happy with my own thoughts.

With blogging I’m forced to write for others whilst trying to remove myself from self-indulgence and egocentric musings.

This leads me to..

What are the goals of being social?

  • Being seen as an equal.
  • Having some of our ideas (but not all) shared or respected.
  •  Teaching others some tips or shortcuts that might help them to a small (or great) extent.
  • A collective identity, being viewed as part of the club, part of the matrix.
  • Fighting for a cause (even if we look stupid) and defending a principle.
  • Telling a story.
  • Having a good laugh (preferably not at someone else’s expense).
  • Leaning on others for some sympathy.

Being goal orientated we are forced to think about what goals we can shape from how we go about our daily business. Being social is an intrinsic part of most jobs even if only a few words are said.

Being social comes with positives and negatives..

What are some of the side effects of being social?

  1. Idiots – the people who say dumb things. A welling anger fills our proud bellies, raises an eyebrow or just makes us throw a shoe at the screen.
  2. A feeling of growing ineptitude, one that grows from looking at those doing better than us, measuring the shortfall and declaring despair.
  3. A growing paranoia that whilst some people are watching us with no agenda there are some watching us waiting to post a dead pigeon through our inbox at any given time.
  4. A dull ache from an unhealthy sparring with someone who has taken exception to something we wrote, our general demeanour or at complete random. This is the dreaded “backlash” we dislike receiving. We like to be diplomatic in the information age, try to come out on top whilst pacifying the situation but with some people we just can’t win. The back foot will always feel like the back foot.

These concerns leave an imprint and often may make you go about your daily business in different ways with different agents and environments. You become more cautious about what you do and what you say. You become a “pleaser”, that maggot you hoped you’d never become.

So what does being social have to do with blogging?

Most of the jobs to do on the Internet involve a conversation with someone at some point whether that be a customer, peer, employer, employee, friends, family or strangers. Being social is essential as it is in any normal job. In fact it is more important because there are a number of ways to be social which drives a demand for a mixed skill set.

  • Blogging – Blogging differs to normal writing by being broken up more with a high move towards readability over depth. Often it is stuffed with graphics, links and other media content. Sometimes it is designed to incorporate a sell.
  • Videos – The ultimate media tool now more accessible to all. You are being asked to become a presenter, maybe write a script and more.
  • Email – Always important, often needing to be tempered by a cautious hand and a restrained heart.
  • Web chat – rapid but open to wasting time.
  • Copy – the staple of marketeers and now something an entrepreneur has to contend with. Copy is perhaps less easy to write, shorter in form but important to make a sale, it has to be pinpoint accurate and dance hard. Copy doesn’t have to be for monetary gain, it can be for campaigns of other forms as well.
  • Video chat/conference – a very intimate way of making person to person contact. All the benefits of chat with the addition of seeing whether someone is lying or not.
  • Documentation – because sometimes a guide needs to be written or a report needs to be drafted.

Building skill to handle all of these elements “professionally” takes time and perseverance. Everybody has a different personal method of expression and favour some methods over others. It doesn’t really matter how we get to the end zone as long as those skills we prefer are strong.

So why is quality blogging hard to achieve?

  • Pure numbers and critical mass.

Why are pure numbers important to achieve?

Some key ratings are decided upon by the search engines. Mass computations determine the most relevant data often by weight of number. Invariably writing skill has nothing to do with it, often it’s how many people you know, if you know enough people who will look at your output and do something social with it, the search engines will reward you.

Critical mass on the other hand is the point of convergence required to be doing well enough to attract those big audiences. It is the tipping point where you go from Average Joe to Super Hero.

Why is Critical mass important to me as a blogger?

Critical mass as a scientific concept is as follows:

The amount of fissile material needed to sustain nuclear fission.Fissile Reactor

Equating that theory to blogging we could look at the amount of effort required to rise above the hyper competition. Hyper competition in the Internet is growing, thus such a level is difficult to attain. You are in a market where new entrants have no barrier to entry and where organisations such as Google add a layer of complexity to how you are graded.

Your Net Worth – Boom boom!

What paths of blogging affect our eventual success?

The Social Path to Blogging vs the Introverted Path

There are two paths to take with blogging. I deem one to be the Social Path where you actively seek to share your work with a community and interact with others. This doesn’t have to be for money, it could just be for making friends with similar viewpoints, or shouting about a cause close to your heart that you think others can take something from.  You could be an Artist, Musician or Author trying to broaden your audience. In essence what you do is built to share.

  • This path involves a community.
  • It is not just for your indulgence.
  • What you produce has enriching value to someone other than yourself.

In contrast the Introverted Path serves a different purpose. Some people use blogs as ways of keeping a journal and they may do so privately or in public. You may be keeping a scientific record or notes to your studies. The introverted path is self-sustaining, you don’t care if people view your stuff or not, this is something for you and if it inadvertently helps someone else out then that’s a bonus. You may have intended for it to be public once upon a time but it no longer serves the public. If it is privately retained nobody will see it and you are okay with that (but are you?).

  • This path doesn’t involve a community. (but may become available to the wider public)
  • It is entirely for self-indulgence.
  • You only serve yourself.

But is it all clear-cut?

Are there shades of grey in the paths of Blogging?

There has proved to be sliding scales between the level of male and female that a person can be. This is why androgynous (barely any signs of gender) and hermaphrodite males and females (with both organs) exist. A lot of this is down to hormones, specifically Testosterone and Oestrogen, which shape the gender of a foetus in early development.

This scale exists for the level of social or introverted blogger you can be.

Q: Is it possible to be Social and Introverted?

A: Of course it is!

If you want to do well in blogging, to reach audiences and share knowledge, you have to be social. If you don’t care you will stay introverted. With Blogging normally the decision gets made for you. People don’t read your content because your are not being social and before long you are writing for yourself.  Eventually you will stop.

So…

Be Social!

End of Month Traffic Report: November 2013

Barbados Sunset from Dover 2013

I miss those sunsets

November basked in a little warmth from October’s numbers and I too basked in the warmth of the lovely Barbados sun with my girlfriend for 7 days and 6 nights during this month. I had a great time out in the Caribbean and met some very cheerful people. As for blogging during November I am particularly impressed with the numbers even though my mantra is not to get to caught up in them.

 

A classic in the making

Without being cocky I’ve started to improve my publishing techniques to an extent to get some better viewing but my SEO mojo is still weak. There is also a phenomenon I can’t ignore with one of my posts that is outperforming all of my others. I wrote it in July and it is generating fresh hits every month but especially since last month. This month the article received the sort of views I am used to getting from new post releases. I have to take notice of how this article is laid out because it is generating search engine hits and keeps on resurfacing. The post is One month on: What’s happening. I believe that some of my success rests in the picture use so I will looking further into incorporating more pictures in all things where they work.

OMOWH

It’s alive!! One Month On: What’s happening

I am working on the sequel to One month on: What’s happening entitled Six months on: What’s happening, it’s going to be epic but we’ll see if it jostles the crown from the original.

I’ve made some adjustment to the end of month report this month because I felt it was time to mix things up a little. It is dangerous sometimes getting stuck in a particular groove with writing because the essence of what you write loses its edge if you put it out the same way over and over again. My last months EoMTR for October was a bit of damp squib as was August.

traffic-jam-blur

The figures

EoMTR GAF

I feel that the most important metric which determines those who truly read and took something from my writing is the following:

Average time on site:

6 Minutes  23 Seconds taken from the GA filtered results. Last month 8 Minutes 28 Seconds. Difference of -2 Minutes 5 seconds.

NovEoMTR - AVGTOS -2013

Unfortunately this is the lowest it has been on record which is a cause for concern. If I put my hand on heart I can’t say that I have produced something super awe-inspiring this month so I need to do better.

Bounce Rate:

Something else that I take note of, but don’t have a huge amount of positive reinforcement on, is Bounce Rate.

73.53% from unfiltered GA results.

It’s the figure you see first every time you log in to Google  Analytics and something that Google rank your site on.  The average for October was 71.08% so it has crept up a little.

NovEoMTR - Bounce Rate -2013

Next is Visitors and I use two data sources to compare and contrast.

  • WordPress Stats = 51 (last month 61) -10 adverse, -16.39%
  • Google Analytics filtered = 14 (last month 12) +2 inverse, +16.67%

Pageviews is a gauge of how things are going but I wouldn’t say that it is the most important metric in understanding events. It does aid as an ego boost but beyond that it is just another number.

  • WordPress Stats = 104 (last month 174) -70 adverse, -40.23%
  • Google Analytics filtered = 50 (last month 128) -78 adverse, -60.94%

My GA numbers are down massively from last month but they are not too bad overall, it’s not a catastrophic slip by any means. October was affected by an unusual occurrence. My visitor from Pune in October provided a shock result and has skewed the figures somewhat.  My GAF views for last month were 128 and I suspect that this figure may be hard to beat for a while.

How does your data compare?

Conclusion

I have a lot to work on in order to grow but am up for the challenge. December is going to be a unique month as I am going to be doing a bit more in the way of help for fellow bloggers rather than for myself. I will have time to tweak some of my crucial pages and hopefully revisit some of my past content to make it a bit more snappy in the mean time.

I’m happy that after a bit of tweaking my author link is now working on all of my posts. You can now see my name below:

Author in the title bar

It is interesting how some basics can still haunt you later, even though to others, the settings might have seemed obvious.

In January I plan to change the Theme in earnest just prior to returning to my University Studies in February. Time is most definitely my enemy and my recent edit to Blog Post Time Management reminded me of the challenges involved.

Seasons greetings to you all and may you have a happy new year!

Related Articles

Fear of going first

On my wanderings on the internet and specifically on observation of certain blogs I have noticed that there is this a psychological fear of going first. Many people are like this in real life, avoiding going first because they feel they can learn from those who’ve gone before or are just crippled by not taking action.

Call to action: I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below. This time I’m asking.

Image from Wikkicommons

Make that first step, break the virgin sands.

Somebody always has to go first. It’s a universal fact!

  • Someone decided to eat an oyster
  • Someone decided to beat someone to death with a tree branch or the business end of a rock
  • Someone decided to start singing for social enjoyment

There was always someone who went first, took that important first step. They are the courageous person that is willing to take a chance. What was bizarre becomes commonplace.

 

Ways of managing people who go first.

There are a lot of situations where you may really need someone to go first.

  • The white player on the chessboard
  • A pitcher in baseball
  • The bowler in cricket
  • The fencer who strikes first in fencing

Without the initiation of the person to go first, you have no game. Someone has to make the first move.

Asking isn’t always enough, sometimes you have to incentivise by other means, find some way to capture commentary or social acceptance.

Comments emerge on subjects that evoke some form of personal connection, something that the audience can relate to. In my short time blog writing those articles that do best are the ones that help.

 

Situation in terms of blogging involve the following:

  • Being the first to comment on a blog post
  • Being the first to like a blog post
  • Being the first to +1
  • Being the first to comment
  • Being the first to re-share or re-blog
  • Being the first to like

Numbers symbolise trust and a collective of like minds. People become drawn to surging numbers. Notoriety drives more notoriety (good or bad).

 

Comments are needed for credibility and trust.

Comments help expand the content beyond the original conversation, they allow others to share views and opinions on the topic and comments allow the reader to ask questions of the author.

Likes and +1s are needed for signs of shared approval. The crowd always looked to the Emperor for a sign of approval at the Colosseum. His thumb was often the decider when it came to a Gladiator’s survival. Perhaps one of the failings of some of the big social media sites is the lack of opportunity to dislike or show disapproval apart from reporting a post.

In YouTube there are positive and negative thumbs and I can’t help but feel that these would be of use on Facebook and Google+. Of course, you can always report people for abuse but there should be some form of balance.

 

Google Ranks your post on how your content has been viewed.

Besides backlinks, Google ranks posts on how many comments, plusses, shares, re-shares, likes and tweets it has. They are called social signals.

The image below is an excerpt from Neil Patel’s Quicksprout.com blog and refers particularly to what is classed an “In-depth article” algorithm. Google have many complex algorithms to calculate search engine results based on readable content.

This excerpt came from “How I increased My Search results by 13.15% in Just 30 days through Google’s in depth articles” dated 14th November 2013

Qsprout quote NP 001

 

I term this factor as social reckoning.

Comments are important for other reasons.

Comments allow the audience to provide you with objective, and sometimes biased, feedback. The audience can provide critical information that can be rectified quickly by means of the comments.

Comments allow others to share links to similar topics which may help broaden the discussion and help the audience further. You’ll be known as the person who in part helped to provide the answer. Whilst it may seem counter-productive to allow these links, Google will like you more but you have to be careful of spam creeping in, moderation is key.

Debate can take the contents of the original post beyond its original horizon and chart new depths. These new branches of ideas may lead you to be inspired to write more future posts along these lines and this will help stave off writer’s block. Review these comments to see if you can spin them further.

You can identify interested parties and if you are a marketer; “leads”. Some audience members often ask questions from lack of knowledge or an expressed need. You might be the person to provide that help whether it be free or not.

High fives may follow. There’s nothing like the exhilaration of being congratulated on your work, especially if many praise you, all is graciously received.

If you receive a stream of negative comments, this is a warning sign that something is wrong. The root cause could be technology failing, the product or service you are selling, the content and nature surrounding the article, a troll or something else. Investigate these comments to learn more.

Most importantly, visitors may follow. If you are setup with a Gravatar, which can be acquired from WordPress pretty quickly, you are universally recognised with all blogs (well almost, those people who use Disqus or one of the Social Media comments may be different, because, you know, some people want to be different). From one site I have consistently tried to comment and I’ve received numerous visits just from my Gravatar profile on the comment sections.

Permission

I spent some time in thought over permission whilst away on my vacation in November 2013. I feel that there is a psychological imperative to wait for permission especially on subjects that require you to invest a small amount of time in something. Expanding this theory, most people of decent upbringing like to be polite, have manners, carry themselves in a socially delicate way. They are respectful.

In the situation of leaving a comment you should leave all of those ideas behind. Ideally the author would have disabled the comments if they didn’t want you to comment. There are many videos on Youtube that trump this fact because trolls live out there.

When considering whether to comment ask yourself a question:

What’s the worst that can happen?

I believe that a lot of people are wrapped up in being self-conscious over how people may take the comments. Obviously you’ve got to try to be on topic but in most cases you should be free to fire and forget. If the moderator doesn’t approve your comment, what’s the problem? As long as you didn’t invest too much time in writing your comment it shouldn’t mean too much time.

Paranoia

Part of the psychology behind making a complex decision can equate to paranoid delusions.

It’s okay to be afraid!

But you shouldn’t let it stop you from living your life the way you want to!

Paranoia in leaving a comment can spring from many concerns. I’ve listed a few below but you might be able to think of more.

  • Releasing your details to randoms
  • Fear of being out of your depth with the topic
  • Fear of offending the author of the article
  • Fear of the moderator not approving your submission

In those rare cases maybe something bad might happen. Driving a car in the modern world is statistically dangerous yet millions of us do it every day. I’ve had 3 incidents in 15 years so on average 1 every 5 years. Think of how many days there are in a year and think of how many hours you spend driving every year. 3 bad events doesn’t mean a whole lot in the scheme of things. Just think about the thousands of times we got to the place we were going.

To Conclude

I reiterate my call to arms; my call for your duty, the CTA, the business end of the rifle.

I ask for you to make a comment in my comment section below, it doesn’t matter if you are first or last, make a comment below.

But just one thing before you do, consider some guidance before writing if you have no sense. Step back and Think: Social engagement is a post I wrote to cover the basics.

Best wishes to you all!

This post was submitted to the Daily Prompt writing challenge.

 

Shout outs!

A Personal thank you to Michelle Huang at Michellebikeandbuild.wordpress.com for being the first to comment.