Search Engine Optimization
I’m horrible at many things in life, primarily due to the fact that I can’t focus on one thing for long. In fact, I bounce around from project to project so often that I’m surprised that I get anything done, much less actually earn a living.
But back to the topic at hand, if there is one thing that I know I really suck at, it’s SEO.
I started selling stuff online back in 2003, specifically a little “info product” I created with the intent of helping people get through a divorce without losing everything (to include their mind). In 2003, it was easy to rank a page, and it was even easier to drive paying customers using Google AdWords, but since it was so easy to rank organically (it just seemed to “happen”), I didn’t bother paying for traffic.
I don’t think Search Engine Optimization was even a thing back then, but then again I’m no historian. I “created content” meaning that I just wrote stories in static HTML pages and ftp’d them up to my server.
I wrote about the amazing amount of shit that I was going through at the time. The sleepless nights worrying that I was going to lose custody of my son, worrying about how I was going to buy food much less make the house payment, worrying about being a single Dad and raising a child. My life seemed like it was a disaster. But the writing was therapeutic, like talking to the world, and the world was listening by visiting my site. Some visitors bought my product, and eventually it appeared all was not lost.
Over the years I really got good at selling stuff online. There really isn’t any magic to it, in spite of what the thousands of online hucksters will have you believe. You know, the guys that want to sell you courses and coaching about making money online, but only make money online by selling you products about making money online? Meh.
Content is key. Always has been, always will be. If you are real, provide value, and can connect with people, you will gain an audience. But it is harder today than it ever has been because there is just so much useless shit clogging up the SERPs.
But once again, here is the primary reason why I will never be good at SEO: I’m horrible at link building, which seems simple enough, but kicks my ass every time.
- Reach out to other site owners and ask for a link. Why would I spend time doing competitor research to find sites that might host a link back to me, then send the site owner an email asking if he would provide a link back to my site? Why would someone give me any of their juice? There would have to be a fucking incredible value proposition for that to happen. On my blog posts, I only link to sites that I totally love and think that my readers will enjoy or find useful. I don’t care about passing along some of my juice with an actual “do follow” link to a great site.
- Create posts and pages on shitty “Web 2.0” sites with links to a page you own on a highly trusted and trafficked site with a links back to my money page. I used to do this quite a bit with my blogs, but I stopped for a variety of reasons. If the Google algorithms pick up clues that you are gaming by creating links back to your money pages, your site could get clobbered. This is some of the bullshit I was talking about that are clogging the SERPs. Use a VPN if you want to play this game a little.
Not being able to get a ton of inbound links definitely hurts my ability to rank, and it shows in my traffic stats.
So I just plod along, creating blog posts and longer content pages on topics that some people find interesting. I hide in the corners of SERP land, usually down on page two or three, you know, the page below the first page of sponsored ads and Google snippets. I get some highly targeted traffic to my sites from these pages. Traffic from people that want to consume the information I provide, and if I’m selling something they sometimes buy what I’m selling.
I don’t have to SPAM anyone, I don’t have to buy traffic, I don’t have to make false claims, or keyword stuff a page to dupe people into clicking through to a pop-under laden, slow to load, fuck show of internet garbage.
I’m old school, I guess partially because I’m kinda old. I still like to create value, and I will always suck at SEO.