It’s been 2 years since I started posting one blog post every day on this blog.
On January 25 2018, just one day before turning 35, I started my blogging journey.
In this blog post I am going to tell you 5 things I learned about SEO that you might not be familiar with.
SEO trick number 1: do not worry about SEO
If you read the internet for ways to get more readers to your blog, you will find that SEO is one of the things often mentioned.
Most of the time you will see people talking about keywords, and keywords tools.
We like tools, so we start using them, spending days to get the maximum value out of the free ones, spending a lot of time.
I have a confession to make: I never used a keyword tool. I do not currently use one, and I find that just thinking about it bores me.
The last thing I want to do is to be bored, and having to treat my blog as a job.
The idea of having to research keywords before writing a blog post makes my blog feel like a job. And I don’t like jobs.
SEO trick number 2: link building is optional
In addition to keyword research, one thing that often comes up in SEO circles is link building.
I do receive a good amount of emails asking me to link to so-and-so site, to link to a special infographic someone created about something I talked about, and it’s all kind of annoying.
I am sure this is something that works, because links are still one of the key metric used by search engines, but do you really want to spend time annoying people?
I never added any link by request. Not for free, not paid. And I never asked for links.
And if you think, as a developer, about creating networks of sites all linked together, that’s been done and Google took measures against that. And even if you don’t get caught, it’s a dirty game.
And links must come from relevant, authoritative sites in the specific niche you want to rank. You can create a kitchen recipes blog and then add links from a programming blog, but what really works is a big recipes blog linking to the small recipes blog.
Initially, creating content for other sites is one way to do that. Big sites always need fresh content, and by doubling down on creating content (for your site, and for other sites) you can create the foundation for the years to come.
I did that, and the good thing is that I was able to serve an existing audience with relevant content I’m passionate about. Very different than spamming people inboxes or sites with requests for links.
SEO trick number 3: write things that help people
Instead of thinking about keywords and link building, I usually think about problems.
What problems do people have? You can think about possible problems all day, but the best way is to have people tell you.
I now ask my email subscribers what are their top problems or things they are struggling with, but you can also find this in other places. One place I like, in my space, is Twitter.
Other spaces might have the same information in blog post comments, or YouTube videos comments. You just need to observe to find good ideas for your niche.
Then write a post that solves that problem.
One way I really like is to talk about the problems I had, and how I solved them.
For example I am writing an app and I need to work with dates. I have to search some particular topic on Google, which leads me to checking out 10 sites for the correct and up to date answer. I spent 30 minutes and now I can spend 10 minutes more to write the answer in a blog post.
A quick one.
SEO trick number 4: length does not matter. What matters is solving problems.
What matters is solving people problems. Google and the SEO wizards call this user intent.
I see that SEO people like to suggest you to write 3000+ words posts to rank on Google. That’s a great tip to if their goal is to discourage you from writing more. They call it long-form content. Once you finish a couple 3000 words posts, you’ll have a hard time finding the motivation to start writing another one.
Now, as a non-SEO person, but as a person that does things and observes what works and what doesn’t, I can definitely say that if you solve a problem for a person with a 4-lines blog post Google will thank you by sending you more people with that problem.
They know using their algorithms when a person found the answer they needed. This is Google’s job. Their job is to solve people problems by providing the perfect content they are looking for.
If you can provide that, Google will help you.
Not every post on your blog can solve a problem, of course. That would be boring. But if you have posts that solve problems you’ll notice, as those are the ones that will get the more visitors.
Not every post must be small of course, and if long form content is best for you, do that.
SEO trick number 5: it takes a lot of time, and you must play the long game
By observing a lot of people coming and going into my niche in the last few years, I observed a pattern that might be kind of obvious.
Initially there is a lot of enthusiasm and the content quality and frequency is optimal. After some months, people start to give up. Slowly. There is never a big decision, but content starts to be less frequent, less cool, and without a fixed frequency.
You don’t need to post every day, or every week, but I like blogs/sites that have a clear schedule. Like, every 2 weeks we have a post. Good for me.
But 3 posts in a month and then nothing for 5 months? Not so nice. It must be me, of course, but I like things to have a regular cadence.
I know it’s hard because initially you will not see any result. And I know this because I am creating new blogs on the side, about different topics, and they are very slow to rise above the near-zero levels.
You are tempted to consider it a failure each other day.
How do you solve this? By working on projects you are passionate about.
If you write about your passion, you will never lose enthusiasm because you are creating a little corner of the internet that’s yours, you made it, you made it beautiful, and now it’s also available for everyone else, but even if no one shows up, it stands on its own.
You find it beautiful. Like creating a mushroom out of wood, or carving your own spoon.
And when people will discover that they find your work absolutely great, then it will be a never ending source of joy every day.