I Discovered Something Recently About Blogging
My mind does not think like a Search Engine. All this time I’ve been trying to drive traffic to my blog, I’ve been doing so by trying to write “interesting content” which is blogger speak for “stuff people actually want to read”. Interesting content is what keeps readers coming back, or so the Internet Gods keep telling me.
I question my motives about why I blog practically every day. I don’t want to be just another blogger sending uninteresting, or worse, trite, information into the universe. Writing/blogging is certainly a creative outlet for me, but it’s more than that. I naively thought a “successful blog” would introduce new people to my writing, who in turn would become readers of the book I hope to some day publish. I do believe in my merit as a writer, and I have a story to tell and a particular voice to make it count.
Blogging With The Wrong Focus
If I don’t think like a search engine, no one besides my ten friends who follow my blog and the people at the gym I pimp my blog to will ever discover my interesting content. When I first started blogging, and clearly bungling along, I thought “provocative and interesting” blog titles would drive traffic. In fact titles that let people know what I am delivering to them is what gets readers to my blog in the first place. People don’t have time to read content that doesn’t inform them, and a blog post has to start informing immediately. I was completely focused on what I was delivering, not whether it got there.
What Makes You Want To Read Something?
Provocative titles draw me in and make me want to read further. I want to be in on the private joke, and it makes me happy if I “get” it. I want to be intrigued, which is how many of my blog posts read. They read like a story, whose moral was at the end. Having painstakingly gone back through each and every blog post the last few weeks to improve their Search Engine Optimization (SEO), I realized my lack of appreciation for how the modern world works. Writers have to figure out how to draw readers in amidst the tyranny of choices readers have. But now we have this system with search engines where the only hope blogs/writers have of rising above all the noise out there to be found is to understand how people find you via search engines. To do that, you must figure out how to think like a search engine. I’m not exactly lamenting that. I’m just grateful to finally understand it. I feel like I’ve finally figured out how to think more like a search engine, and I hope that wins me a larger readership. It’s just part of the constantly changing landscape.
SEO Is a Practical Reality
I accept SEO as a practical reality for writers today. There are some hold-out authors who don’t bother with the internet. Their books actually do market themselves because they are either so good or very popular. There is a fine line between writing honestly, but also writing so search engines, and readers, will find you. The logic seems to be that if you can get search engines to notice you, then followers, and of course fame and fortune will be next. I’m ready.