Search Engine Optimization? SEO What?

seoThis is post #5 in the WBB Guest Posting Contest! If you like it, please leave a comment and share this post :)

What’s all the fuss about? Why are so many bloggers writing about SEO this and SEO that? How can anyone dwell so intently on search engine optimization techniques without their eyes glazing over?

Maybe I’m being naïve, but it seems to me that if you write unique, high quality content that search engine users are seeking, you are optimizing your blog for the search engines. Instead of looking for clever tricks to make money online, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?

The foremost goal of SEO copywriting is to produce succinct, effectively persuasive text for a well-written web page. Writing that “optimizes” a search but offers little useful information or only weak persuasion is frowned upon in the profession as ineffective. At its worst, it becomes a costly resource inducing potential buyers to turn away from the site rather than generating sales. (From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Search_engine_optimization_copywriting)

I’m not going to get into a “white hat” vs. “black hat” discussion and debate. I think most users – most buyers – want to deal with ethical people. If you came here looking for “black hat” SEO techniques, look elsewhere.

It’s not enough for the search engines to love your site, either – you can write great copy for SEO, place highly in the search rankings for your chosen keywords, but if it doesn’t engage readers, if it doesn’t inspire them to act, then it’s just not working.

Passion – readers can tell if you care about your subject or if you’re just “phoning it in.”

Tone – blogs are informal; readers don’t come to be preached at, and they’ve worked too hard and read too much, most days, to decode dry, boring, academic prose.

Keywords – make it clear what your post is about. Include all the relevant keywords – think “index.” If you were searching for just this post, what would you enter into Google’s search box? “People need to like your content before Google will.” (From How to Create Compelling Content – an excellent and free PDF that explains, in very simple terms, how to write for both people and search engines.)

It’s important to be specific – there’s little point getting buried under too-common keywords, such as “writer” or “lawyer” or “doctor” or “dentist.” The latter might want to explore phrases like “pain free dentistry” or “we cater to chickens” or “dentist gives nitrous oxide.” A writer might want to use “children’s picture books” or “kidlit” instead of “writer” or “author.”

The new version of StatCounter, still in beta test, provides quick insight on pages that rank highly in Google for certain search terms. My site, for instance, ranks #1 for “It’s all a matter of perspective.” Obviously, the blog title and meta tags help. It’s a common phrase, so it’s likely to be searched – ranking well is probably worth something. It also ranks highly for similar phrases, such as: “a matter of,” “it’s all perspective,” “its all about perspective,” and “religion matter of perspective.”

Disturbingly, my blog also ranks highly for “swim in warm water young boys up the nose.” Now, this phrase may be a bit too specific to be useful; however, I have noticed similar terms over the past couple of weeks. Combined with searches for “Naegleria fowleri US cases ,” it’s a little disturbing. Death by brain-munching amoeba is fairly easily prevented by wearing noseplugs and discouraging cannonballs into warm lake water.

Mind you, I haven’t been making any particular effort to employ SEO techniques – whatever “search engine optimization” I’ve got going, here, it’s 100% “organic” or natural. What phrases do you think would stand out here, in this article?

What if I really set out to rank well in the search engines?

Searchers are focused, motivated, and – if they’re looking for a product or service – odds are good they’re in the market to buy.  Your job is to make it easy for them to find your site, and then to convince them that out of all the competitors in the world, you’re the best.

Once you’ve written great content for users and search engines alike, you have to get out there and promote it. You have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for searchers to follow, or to give them a little push to go to your site and not someone else’s.  That’s where social media comes in. It’s not enough to publish great content – if no one can find it, it might as well be shoved into the back of a drawer.

 


If you found this post useful, entertaining, educational, please help me to win the We Blog Better Guest Posting Contest by joining in the discussion, leaving your comments below, then sharing it on Blokube, Blog Interact, Facebook, and Twitter – you’ll find the buttons just above the comment box. Thank you!

About Melanie Kissell

Teaching, writing, online marketing consulting, and public speaking are my biggest passions in life. Get me in front of an audience and I shine! By definition, however, I'm an introvert. Go figure.
Come and knock on my door over at the Solo Mompreneur blog. The coffee pot is always brewing and my loyal readers are a lovely bunch of coconuts!

Comments

  1. “Passion – readers can tell if you care about your subject or if you’re just “phoning it in.””
    thanks for that i am abegginer at this matter and i need that truth . we live in a world full of people the best thing is to be get connected to them.. :-)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, nella!

      I think connectedness may be the fastest way to understanding, peace, and collaboration between people all over the world. Another topic for another time, perhaps!

      No one will hang out with, act on advice from, or buy products from someone they don’t trust; SEO techniques that are calculated – as opposed to the sort of SEO that occurs naturally and is “tweaked” a bit once the content is there – are not necessarily effective at convincing anyone to take action. Ultimately, bloggers ought to be aiming for action – whether it’s “read me” or “buy this” or “champion this cause with me.”

      I’m not saying SEO is a useless waste of time – far from it. I’m just saying focus on better, more sincere, more personal writing first. That’s what brings readers BACK.

  2. Hi Jahangiri,
    You are absolutely right about SEO. Great content is more powerful than SEO tricks and tips so we should focus on content.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I think so, nazimwarriach. I can usually tell when a blogger is more concerned about how Google thinks of him than of what he thinks of his readers or how much he cares what they think of him. I’m not likely to spend more than a few seconds on such a blog; I’m not likely to explore it, or see the ads on it, or buy the products he recommends. It’s kind of funny, sometimes, to watch people and search engines talking to one another.

  3. I don’t agree to optimize a post up to the extreme that its no longer useful to readers. But you can’t sit creating great content and waiting for visitors who never come. It would be more difficult if the topic is even higher competitive. What if your competitor is SEOing posts and getting good positions on search pages when your content though far better is not ranked yet.

    SEO is not not only an interest and hobby, but it compels sometimes.

    I agree with you the way we need to target for longer and more specific keywords and thanks a lot for this inspiring post.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Maybe your competitor is writing more compelling articles without specifically working at SEO. I guess, Suresh, that it depends on what you mean by “great content.” To me, truly great content is optimized – but that optimization is more of a natural outgrowth of the usefulness of the content to readers than of SEO techniques applied before the fact. I hope that makes sense – I’ve had about 4 hours’ sleep and I’m on my first cup of coffee. :) Thanks for your comment.

      • My teacher used to tell that the true tragedy lies not when ‘good’ is defeated by ‘bad’ but the struggle between two ‘good’s (teaching us literary criticism of Aristotle).

        I wonder how you’d suggest if there are two worthy posts (lets suppose equally) and one is search engine optimized?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          To me, SEO is similar to editing; done well, obviously, it gives the optimized post the edge over an equally well-written non-optimized post. (Done poorly, it could be akin to putting one too many brush strokes on a painting – it only takes one too many.)

          No matter how well-written anything is, it can USUALLY benefit greatly from the services of an excellent editor. In my experience, that’s not the original writer nor is it a writer whose grammar skills are so good they fancy themselves an editor, too. The best editors – in my experience – don’t even like writing, much. They want to edit, period. So maybe it’s the same with SEO – a writer CAN wear two hats, and out of financial necessity often does. And some MAY be very good at both roles, but most will be much stronger in one or the other, and could benefit from partnering up with someone who prefers to focus on SEO and knows how to leave great writing alone. I really hadn’t thought of it in these terms, much, but I think a good SEO professional must be much like a good editor.

          Sounds like your teacher was wise. It’s an interesting viewpoint, but I think we see it in action every day. Two goods battle it out while the bad goes chortling along virtually unnoticed, letting them do its dirty work.

          • “no matter how well written can usually benefit from the services of an excellent editor”

            Amen. Too often I seem to come across writers who feel they do not need editors. And believe me, it shows in their writing ;)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Silly writers. ;) Bet they’re the same ones who don’t think it’s necessary to READ widely in order to write well.

  4. For a long time now I kept scratching my head over this SEO thing….what the hell was it? Did it matter? Maybe I should have waited for this all along!
    I loved your closing line! Good Luck for the contest, I am sharing this as often as I can :)
    Have a great day!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You’re good, Hajra. You almost make me want you to win First Place in this contest, with all your kind words and your retweets and your comments on my blog…

      See, folks? This woman knows how to do it right. She totally gets it. If you haven’t read her post, “15 Reasons I am Breaking Up (with your blog!)” you ought to. Great tips, there.

  5. Hi, Holly
    You have written a great post – I see your understanding of SEO and its role in our success. But I think that – unfortunately – your great content without any optimization will be lost on the Internet. Maybe one day somebody finds it and then tells others about it but – who knows – how much time will we wait for it. I guess a bit of optimization is necessary.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Anna. Plenty of people are finding my content with little or no specific effort at SEO on my part – my point is that if more time is spent focused on writing the content readers want, and less time is spent courting only the search engines, the SEO will follow naturally, for the most part, and the posts will be more effective at converting views to action (e.g., sales).

  6. Hi Holly,

    Thanks for providing some good insight on a hot topic. SEO is glamorous to blogger per se and much efforts are taken to ensure it is done properly.

    While it is not bad to put ample effort on it, concentrating on optimizing content for search engines with no value to real people won’t be worth the salt.

    Good post and I am sharing it. Good luck with the contest.

    Cheers,
    Jane.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Exactly, Jane! Thank you. Nothing wrong with applying SEO techniques to well-written content, but it’s a lot easier to do it – and more effective – if the content is excellent on its own. And an “excellent” blog post will have some organic optimization, making it easy to further optimize (if necessary).

  7. splitsvilla says:

    nice post ..to optimize your blog always use unique quality content instead of using any seo clever tips..

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Maybe that’s the cleverest SEO technique of all, splitsvilla. ;) I don’t think my tips are going to threaten SEO professionals everywhere, any more than self-editing tips have driven real, professional editors out of a job. It really just makes their job easier, if they can start with killer content readers might actually be LOOKING for in a search engine.

  8. DiTesco says:

    Hi Holly. I agree with you and the fact that writing great content in itself is already optimizing for search engines is what I think many people fail to understand. Optimized content but with little or no value will just get your blog or website quickly marked by users to never visit again. Sometimes, it only takes seconds to convince an “organic visitor” to stay on your blog. That is an opportunity that must be taken advantage of and the only way to that is by providing great content that translate to nothing but adding value. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, DiTesco. You remember how we met? LOL – if your blog hadn’t had great content, in spite of my initial wariness of ALL things “MMO” and “SEO,” guess which list it would be on? Guess which list it’s NOT on? You may be the first blogger in your niche to convince me that not all were snake-oil salesmen, and that wasn’t due to anything but solid, sincere, helpful posts and your own trustworthiness.

      • DiTesco says:

        Oh yeah, I do remember and since, well you already know what I wanted to say right? One of my best memories is when you staged a “coup d’etat” against WOT, haha. Thanks for the kind words.. Really glad our paths came across :)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          ROFL!! Yep. Don’t remind…THEM. I’m glad, too. I’ve learned a great deal from you and at iblogzone.com

  9. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Please keep the comments and questions coming. I am interested in all viewpoints – not just those that agree with me. My replies may be slow, during the day – I can’t always reply from the office. :D But I will reply. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

  10. Amir Arsiwala says:

    But I guess the only form of of SEO that still would be useful is optimizing the permalinks; although, I’m not sure that search engines rely that much on url’s anymore. Still, I agree with you, if for no other reason than to give myself a good excuse to not work on SEO (I hate it).

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      From what I’ve seen of your writing, Amir, any SEO to be done should be minor – the posts hold up well on their own. ;)

      I don’t hate SEO – to me, it’s a little like gaming the system. Fun up to a point; past that point, it just feels like a waste of time. SEO should be like light editing – not the first line of content development. Yes, optimizing the permalinks… dang it, something I forgot to do in this morning’s post on my own blog. Gotta laugh…

      NOTE TO SELF: Never post tired. Never use ellipses in titles. Hug Andy Bailey for fixing my world last time I used quotation marks in titles, and for being smart enough to use the feedproxy URL in the latest version of CommentLuv…

      Hey, I’m human. ;) For the record, though, I’d give the rabbit a bowl of Trix.

      • Amir Arsiwala says:

        I lovingly accept the trix and the praise.

        I totally agree that any SEO should be done *after* writing the original article. It just seems more… elegant.

  11. As a 7 week old Indian blogger who knew nothing about the tech side of blogging a month ago, I agree with you 100%.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You’re only 7 weeks old and your parents let you blog?? :) (Sorry, I’m a mom – I could not resist.) First, congratulations on starting your blog and doing so well with it so far – it looks great! And I agree, the kind of conversation you posted about there is about 90% of the appeal of the Internet for me – bringing together people and views that might never have met, otherwise.

      I wish you great success with your blog, Pundit Commentator! Thanks for reading and chatting with me this morning/evening (I also find the time differences fascinating – talking to people who are already living tomorrow feels a little like time travel. I always tell them not to make tomorrow mad before I get there!)

      • LOL.

        Thank you so much for the kind words of praise and encouragement. By definition, writers who are bloggers crave that instant gratification from our readers. I’m so very glad you and I connected in this manner, at this time. :)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Isn’t that the truth?

          I love blogging. I never submit my writing for publication anymore – it’s not that I mind rejection or constructive criticism in the least, but that whole business of waiting weeks or even months to hear SOMETHING? ANYTHING? OMG. No. I’m far too impatient.

          I know, I know – I’m doomed to come back in my next life as a giant redwood tree with a 300 year lifespan.

          Thanks, Pundit Commentator! (Can I call you PC, or would that not be very PC? :)

  12. I love the phrase … “You have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for searchers to follow…” Even the book of “Harry Potter”…. If the author did nothing to promote it or publish it, it will be just a scribe in a pieces of paper.

    Well done Holly! Wish you all the best!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Jhong! “A scribe in a piece of paper” – that would be the Muse, right? Like a genie in a bottle? ;)

      You should enter this contest, yourself – you have some VERY creative and effective promotional strategies you could share.

      Wait…no, don’t you dare. (I don’t need the competition. *laugh*)

      Y’all search for Jhong and Smart TV – he knows how to make this stuff FUN.

      • I’m no match from you Holly…. that’s why I won’t really dare to enter…:P The scene would have been like …. Dallas vs Lakers Games … You’ll just sweep the best of seven games.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I like to think it’s like the Houston Rockets (back in 1996, that is) – we make a great TEAM! We all have our own unique strengths (and weaknesses – see “ellipses” and “extraneous parenthetical phrases” for mine). How ’bout this – winner buys a round of ice cream when the game’s over?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      P.S. And see that Gravatar? The man already has a camera. (That’s what I’m hoping to buy with my winnings, if I win this contest. Oh – of course I want to win. No one enters to LOSE, right? LOL)

      • You got it right! LOL! We’re here to WIN Whoooot!

        Well, I also agreed with you with writing content for your reader first before writing content for search engine. The rule of the game … “Content is the King!”

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          And Marian Allen’s the Queen! (Or something – she says content is her boyfriend.)

  13. Okay, I do this, I do that, I do the other thing–I get to SEO and I sit paralyzed. I can see the importance of at least flirting with Search Engines, even if Content is my boyfriend, but so far I’m just not into it. :( Maybe one day Cupid’s arrow will strike.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      LOL!! Marian, you are a riot! “Content is my boyfriend” – if content is king, does that put you in line for the throne?

      I love your blog, and you know – you KNOW – you’ve made sales there. (Everyone go read Marian’s books – Eel’s Revenge is particularly original and entertaining. It was a great diversion while I was recovering from surgery. And no, there are no eels in the story!)

  14. Hi Holly,

    I really liked your post as well – one of my favorites so far. I’ll definitely be sharing this post, too. You make some excellent points about the power of good content. Like you mention, though, it’s important not to lose perspective by thinking that content is everything. Because it’s not. If you don’t get out there and ‘socialize’ with other bloggers, promote your site using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, etc., then all of the fabulous content in the world won’t help you.

    -Petra

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Petra! Exactly so… never forget that no matter how obsessed WE may be with search engines, search engines don’t give a rat’s whiskers about US. But other PEOPLE care, or can be convinced to care.

  15. Hi Holly
    No argument from me about writing great content but it would ne naive indeed not to plan things a little.

    Permalink for the page has to be thought about and should contain a few keywords – that’s the only thing that’s difficult to change later on.

    Use the All in one SEO plugin for title tags etc – only takes a few minutes and… make sure you have keywords in your h1 tag.

    I use an eye catching h1 tag and once the comments stop coming in, I change it to a keyword rich title.
    Seems to work for me.

    Having written a great post, add a little SEO and help people find it.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Great tips, Keith – I agree with all of that. (And have already posted my mea culpa regarding permalinks – I need to post a few more posts so I can get rid of the evidence of my own stupidity down there in CommentLuv. ;)

      • Hi Holly
        We’ve all been there Holly.
        Wordpress is fantastic but it takes time to learn.

        I came to WordPress via static html sites so I knew some SEO.

        It’s amazing what results you can get.
        I published a post on 29th April and if you Google “online video technique”, out of 127,000,000 results… I’m number 1!

        Not bad eh.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Excellent!

          Keith, I wish I could claim inexperience as an excuse, but it was purely lack of caffeine and a momentary brain glitch that caused me to leave ellipses in my permalink – never mind a complete LACK of anything remotely resembling SEO technique. I’ve been using WordPress for years.

          I’m a technical writer by day. Many years ago, a colleague (a member of the Professional Society of Indexers, I believe) had heard that everyone thought I came up with GREAT keywords for online help. She stopped by my office to ask my “methodology.” Methodology?? I tried not to panic. I looked at her and said, with utter seriousness, “Why, I just put on my user hat and ask, ‘If I wanted to FIND this information, what words would I enter into search?’” She gave me a look of utter disgust and walked off shaking her head. Still makes me laugh.

          My point, as I said, isn’t that there’s anything wrong with SEO – far from it. But it’s like editing. It’s not the be-all and end-all. It’s one of many means to an end, and the main one should be to write solid content first. Too many writers, thinking too hard about “SEO this” and “SEO that” will end up crafting artificial prose no one really wants to read; whereas, if you give the writer a mission – provide info that someone searching for [topic] will want to read – odds are you’ll end up with something more original, readable, and search engine optimizable.

          • Holly

            ‘If I wanted to FIND this information, what words would I enter into search?’”

            You’ve got it in one.

            And…
            People first, bots second.

  16. I loved this post! Direct to the point! Very hot! and I felt the attack! I asked the same question way back when I was introduced into blogging and the Internet. SEO is a wide context. We can’t say that we’re not doing SEO in our website because some SEO techniques are just common sense, even the naming part of our blogs implies SEO.

    Yeah I strongly agree with you with the known point that SEO readers know when you are passionate with your writing – you hit the bullseye there.

    Anyway, I am learning from you Holly really. Thank you so much.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank YOU for the emphatically kind words!

      Yes – never mince words in blogging. Take a position, take a stand because you believe in it. That doesn’t mean close your mind and refuse to be convinced by a good counterargument – but who wants to read a post that’s full of “maybe” and “on the other hand” and “some people this” or “some people that” – way too academic. Your blog (unless it resembles an ezine more than a real blog) IS personal – people read because they care about YOUR opinion. They’ll stop caring if you don’t have one. :)

      And you’re right – good SEO happens as a matter of common sense. Not everyone is born with that, so there’s always room to learn. People who have it shouldn’t UNlearn it, though, if you know what I mean.

  17. I love the title, Holly. In theory, I agree with you that all of the concentration on SEO techniques are overblown and that it should come naturally from your writing.

    It pays to know the basic rules of the game though. Part of writing to an audience is knowing how to find and attract the audience. When someone writes a best seller, they’ve went through their own type of SEO efforts with book tours, talk shows, other print publications, etc.

    It’s no different with writing for an online audience. The search engines serve the same type of role as many of these traditional marketing outlets. What you have to be leery of is changing your writing style to fit the need of the search engines instead of your readers.

    If done properly, SEO should improve your writing skills and make your content more pleasing to your readers. After all, it’s adapting your writing to what they’re looking for in their own keywords.

    Good luck with the contest.

    • Hi Brad
      “What you have to be leery of is changing your writing style to fit the need of the search engines instead of your readers.”

      Agree 100% with that.

      BTW – not heard the word “leery” for ages. LOL

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Brad. There’s a fine balance between writing only to please yourself, writing for a particular audience, and falling right off that tightrope to either alienate your intended audience or play it so safe you’re not using your natural voice or expressing your own opinions and ideas, anymore.

      Odd things can improve your writing skills, sometimes; an understanding of SEO techniques is no exception. One of my favorite exercises, in order to practice more concise writing, is to craft complete, grammatically correct sentences for Twitter in as close to 140 characters as possible. Sometimes I manage an exact 140. :)

  18. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Maybe it just amuses me more to see what the search engines do with me when I try NOT to think of them.

    Laugh of the day:

    http://www.google.co.uk — surgeons pee #4

    Yep, that’s from statcounter.com. Apparently (at least in the UK) I rank number four for the search phrase “surgeons pee.”

    Why? Because a few months ago, I was scheduled for a 12-hour surgery and got a little obsessed with finding out just HOW surgeons pee during a long operation. Was I thinking SEO AT ALL? Nope.

    I’ll bet the makers of Foley catheters and adult diapers want to talk to me about advertising opportunities, now. ;)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You really have to wonder what you’re doing right (or wrong) when you see this:

      http://www.google.com — prostrate bike jerseys #18

      Who are #1 – 17?? I’m picturing bike jerseys lying prostrate on the floor… (really, the word was “prostate” – I don’t know WHAT Google, or this searcher, were thinking!) See the linked post below, and you’ll get it.

  19. I definitely think that things like linkbuilding are useless if your content doesn’t captivate or convert your readers. That’s where “writing content for readers not search engines” comes into play

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I know how I feel, as a reader; I can usually tell when SEO technique takes precedence over content. It leaves me feeling superfluous. It leaves me feeling like the blog owner doesn’t value my time.

      Something that keeps occurring to me, maybe because it’s so common in all types of writing – if bloggers only talk to other bloggers, and don’t get their input from readers, then they are ONLY writing for bloggers. (And in some cases, that’s exactly the niche you want, right? But what about a children’s book author, or someone who wants to sell high-end electronics? You wouldn’t just talk to other authors or other expensive gadget salesmen, would you?) You can’t write for an audience if you don’t know them. And there’s a lot of untapped potential out there, if only you take a moment to think like them – or get to know them.

  20. Dave M says:

    Speaking from a reader’s point of view, I believe content over SEO makes for easier searching Holly. I seldom end up reading the first few selections on google. The content is often so optimized that it is difficult to easily identify the writer’s points of thought. I end up clicking back to the search page to select a different article. I often don’t have a lot of time and I’d rather read a review or description that is clean when I need the info or fun when I’m in the mood.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      And I know where you come to read, Dave! (Dave M. is one of my favorite readers – he’s been reading my blog for several years now, keeping me honest as a writer, making sure I don’t start drinking the Kool-Aid. We should all have a Dave in our lives. Some writers would talk about their Muse, but I have a real live friend who is sometime amused, and that’s even better.)

      • Dave M. says:

        Thanks for the nice words Holly. I’ve enjoyed your blog, it’s like a perfect box of Gump Chocolates. As a writer, you have a talent for talking directly to your readers. I’ve alwaysd appreciate the irony and comedy along with the facts:)

        • Dave M. says:

          My impression and I could be wrong, is that bloggers look at the value of SEO from their own perspective and is exclusive and sometimes selfish to their need: Rank, visits and conversions. As a reader, SEO is just as important to me and I also have a me-centered perspective. I use it daily in hopes of accurate ranking on Google or Bing that are relevant to my needs at that moment.

          A few months ago I needed to purchase a couple all-in-one PC’s for conference rooms and I had previously stopped purchasing Dell product. I read the usual online trade magazine reviews and manufacturer forums but I seldom put much stock in the opinions found there. The most useful and accurate info I found was on blogs. The info I was able to read convinced me to purchase 6 HP Omni 200s and I haven’t been disappointed. I had to wade through maybe six blogs on google where writers had simply repeated published specs or their descriptive prose was so bad due to SEO optimizing that nothing made sense. I finally found two blogs where writers had written useful and considerate reviews about product after having used it.

          I hope more bloggers will err in the direction of content driven SEO in the future, it makes my life as a user of that service so much easier.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            It’s kind of scary to think that BADLY DONE SEO can actually damage all chances of making a sale – and could even harm a brand’s reputation unintentionally.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Well, it helps when you have readers who are easy to “talk” to, through your writing. Most writers would do better to write like they talk (minus the verbal punctuation of “um,” “uh,” “y’know,” and “like”). Knowing you’re reading, Dave – and not judging, not necessarily agreeing, but always giving me feedback (including that time I flirted with Alexa and got the stink-eye from you and Prunebutt) helps.

          Now folks know why I’m so biased in favor of real readers. Google is all about the metrics, but it doesn’t talk BACK.

          • Dave M. says:

            The landing pages off google truly are scary sometimes Holly. When I search blogs I pull down the “More” menu on google and select “blogs” when searching for product reviews. Google’s main search page burps up all of the paid-rank and eCommerce sites first when a user is searching in common or popular shopping categories. Tech-gear is really difficult.

            Bing’s main search page is actually better. If I’m looking for reviews on a specific item I add the word “blog” at the end of my search string and the results returned are more relevant.

            To me, the term “Blogger” is someone writing from a personal perspective and putting effort into their craft as a descriptive writer–I appreciate that. Google exploits this to their advantage, does that cause some to become better meta-writers and less connected with their community?

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Wouldn’t it be fun if we could do a search on Google that says, “EXCLUDE paid search results”?

  21. SEO helps in the long run, there is no question about if. Even if your content if found now by users the traffic to that article will go down within one or two weeks. But if your article ranks in search engines you will get a steady traffic for a long time. Rank one article , then another and in a while your traffic will grow exponentially.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Yes, but the point here isn’t that SEO is valueless – the point is that it may be more effective if it comes naturally in a well written article. If you write with a keen focus on your target READER – a human being, not a machine (because last I checked, machines don’t buy anything or do anything other than crawl around and build search databases) – your post is bound to rank well for what actual readers are looking for.

      If a post gets a million views that don’t convert to action (and note I say action because not all of us are really selling something) – it’s not working for you (unless you’re making a fantastic income off impressions alone, but advertisers eventually tire of that).

      If a post gets 100 views and 90 people act on your message, it’s effective. So you should be thinking “What is my HUMAN reader looking for?”

      Good SEO is bound to occur if your post is primarily HRO (Human Reader Optimized). I can’t even imagine I just coined that term… Interesting, Google returns only 5 hits for it. I predict, though, it’s going to be the next big thing. ;)

  22. im on the learning process right now and this post definitely a must spread and my target everyday view. Thank you.

  23. Hi Holly,

    Wow, this post is an eye-opener. So very true – if you rank the top in Google, what’s the use if your visitors don’t convert? :)

    I don’t know how it happened, but one time, I saw some funny puns in my local newspaper, and posted it to my blog.

    And to my surprise, it got a LOT of traffic from search engines. Why? I found out that it ranks #1 for “clever puns” and #13 (second page) for “funny puns”.

    I never really did anything! And it ranked the first page. Wow.

    So, far, I’ve received 18,943 visits to that page, since 22 April 2009.

    However though, the visitors on that page are not converting since they arrived just to read funny puns and my blog is about social media (bounce rate %91!). I need to make them go to my poetry site or YouTube channel or something. :P

    Anyways, I love your advice. Write passionately and diligently for your readers, and you will automatically get top SEO rankings. =)

    Wish you the best in the contest!

    Best Regards,
    Gloson

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Yes – hey, Gloson, there’s YOUR article. What do you do with accidentally great optimization? If you get a windfall of traffic – but you’re promoting absolutely NOTHING – what’s the cost of lost opportunity?? LOL

      I need to add Amazon links to nose-plugs on my naegleria fowleri posts! It’s not a commercial endeavor – it’s a PUBLIC SERVICE!

      • LOL, Amazon links? Great idea Holly! Yay for public service. :)

        “Accidentally great optimization”. LOL! :D I’m planning to make a funny video using all the puns in that blog post, post it on YouTube, and embed it there; to make it more interesting, of course. :P

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Send me a link to that when you’ve posted it, Gloson! :) I love puns, by the way. They’re often called “the lowest form of humor,” but I disagree. You have to love wordplay to appreciate a good pun.

  24. As far as I understand the process of SEO, it mainly includes three stages: keyword research, onsite optimization and link development.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      And it’s the keywords that so often lead good writers down the path to h***, I think. ;) I’m not talking about splogs and content scrapers, either – I’m talking about posts that might otherwise be reasonably well written, but focused too much on the keywords and key phrases and not enough on the meat and potatoes of the writing.

      It’s like a little kid on the end of a diving board – he’s a competent diver, a good diver, even. But as he gets ready to dive, he waves his arms in the air and screams, “Look at me, look at me!” and ends up doing a belly flop, embarrassing his parents and his diving instructor. ;)

  25. I very recently addressed this topic, and came to similar conclusions as you, Holly. I do think that SEO needs to be a bigger part of SOME blogs, depending upon niche, etc., but in general, most bloggers should cover the basics, and then concentrate on everything else first. These days, it’s relatively easy to technically cover the basics with good software like WP and plugins, and there’s plenty of info, even from the search engines themselves, to help bloggers grasp the basics, so there’s little reason to spend too much time on it. Using the right tools and some common sense based on knowing the basics, is often enough. And more is often too much! Best to not trip over that line.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hi, Donna! (Hope you’re doing well this morning – I’m slowly starting to regain full consciousness, but only because I’m on my SECOND cup of coffee!)

      With a title like your last one, how could anyone interested in SEO NOT click? LOL

      GEEZ, I’m glad you posted that on your own blog, Donna, and didn’t enter it into head-to-head competition with my post. :) Everyone, go read Donna’s post, “Mommas – Don’t Let Your Bloggers Grow Up to Be SEOs”! Go! (Don’t forget to come back and keep this discussion rolling, but go!)

      • Need.more.coffee.

        Nah, girl, no competition from me here, just some support! If I had a t-shirt that said “Team Holly”, I’d be wearing it right now. :) Good luck!

  26. Thanks Holly for sharing this through FB. I think everyone’s talking about SEO and striving hard to be on Google’s top pages for money. Let’s accept it, online business is highly dependent on it. Not solely though. I have also blog entries about SEO.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Liezl!! Good morn–er, evening? Hi! LONG time no chat – trust you’re taking good care of my little monster.

      I wonder if “online business” is that dependent on SEO, or just some types of online business? (Check out Donna’s article, below – the link at the bottom of her comment.) I do think if you focus on human readers and their needs, good SEO will follow on its own, for the most part. It’s not that it’s not important – it’s just that it should be natural, not forced. Incremental improvements with SEO in mind, AFTER the article is written and not before, might be a better approach than some bloggers seem to take.

  27. Argie Monroy says:

    Well. I guess the real purpose of SEO is just to generate traffic to your blog for free and for no hassle at all provided that you do the real thing. But if we really want for our blog to get engaged then SEO is off the hook. You’re definitely right with it. What is a blog gaining lots of traffic it it can’t have any comments or any discussions running around, right? It might just as well be dead, though.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Yep. Word of mouth is one of the best ways to get customers (or just readers). “Traffic” doesn’t speak to anyone and the bounce rate can be measured in nanoseconds, right? But engaged readers are more likely to buy something from your site than from a site that’s strictly focused on traffic. As for “no hassle,” it’s a mistake to think that good writing is “easy” or “hassle free,” or that doing SEO well is “easy” or “hassle free.” And running a business well takes constant work. “Passive income” doesn’t work well long term for many people. Yeah, it’s pretty to think you can make a million dollars while you sleep, but if it were true, we’d all be sleeping the day away.

      • Argie Monroy says:

        Sorry for that “no-hassle” thing though. Actually what I’m trying to point out with the matter is that once SEO has been totally published, then I guess it would be hassle-free right?

  28. Thanks for the post. But let me tell you my story,I have been working on a blog from almost 3 years now. But couldnt able to get much traffic from search engine. I write unique articles with pictures. But it didnt seem to work. Can you please tell me what to do now.. :(

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      A couple of things that immediately stood out to me:

      Site design could be more eye-catching and user friendly, more “fashion-oriented”; navigation could be clearer; ads aren’t all relevant, and that can be confusing (if they’re targeted ads from Google, WHY are you getting ads for http://www.CancerCenter.com on a post for chrome nail designs?)

      Are you really running “the most Popular News website on the Web and an unrivalled resource of authoritative fact and comment”? Really? If not, don’t make the claim – what’s unique, cool, visit-worthy about your site? You’re not up there with CNN and Vogue or Perez Hilton. And that’s really okay, but don’t shoot your credibility down by pretending you think you are. What makes YOUR blog special?

      Writing needs a bit of polish (grammar, spelling, etc.) – but more importantly, even, than that: You need more words! Tell us about the nail polish brands – which ones do you find easiest to work with? Why? Which ones give the best results? (The photos are good – maybe TOO good, in some cases, because you can clearly see the tiny flaws in the manicure, but maybe you can USE that and tell why one brand/color seems to leave more brush strokes visible or something. If you take photos looking into a mirror, be mindful of what’s behind you. The unmade bed doesn’t do much for your post. ;)

      I’m not seeing many articles that are that unique. What would make them really unique is if you put your personal experiences, tips learned first-hand, real opinions, and original photos (some are, some aren’t) in them. Push your writing a little harder.

      Again on the photos – USE alt and title tags. USE them. First of all, imagine you’re visually impaired. Now, what would you want someone to tell you about the photo that would help you accurately visualize this illustration of your post? When you have a post that is almost all graphical, this is vitally important. Again, I’m thinking of real human beings (doesn’t hurt with the search engines, either) – it’s a matter of accessibility. (See http://www.w3.org/WAI/eval/Overview.html)

      Try it. Then, once you’ve made some of these improvements, get someone (feel free to ask me) to review your post (try it on one or two posts to start, make sure you’re on the right track). Once they say “Yeah, that’s much better!” go out there and PROMOTE. Invite readers, ask what they think – ask them to share their ideas on the topic. See how that goes.

  29. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the post Holly; this is a great read and informative. I am new to writing online and I like what you have to say about “organic” SEO, great advice. How important do you think the title of an article or blog is to capture key phrases, or does the total article/blog carry equal relevance? Thanks

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      An excellent question, Anthony! Think like a reader using a search engine (as opposed to a search engine itself). This is likely to lead you to an SEO-correct approach, anyway – but ask yourself, if I got 50 results for my search on “widgets,” which one’s going to catch my eye and stand out as something worth my time to read?

      And then (yes, Donna, I see you smirking over there) make sure to (a) edit your post slug to have appropriate keywords and little else; or (b) at least make sure your title doesn’t have special characters (like ellipses or quotation marks or ampersands). Because (b) will bite you in the butt – search engines may explode in your face and readers will laugh when your escape characters…escape.

      • Happy to see my little lecture wasn’t for nought, Holly. :) Everyone forgets to edit slugs, or makes the occasional mistake of including special characters, but if we at least try to get it right, or recognize that it can actually matter, then we’ve accomplished something. Or not. But it sounds good. :)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Yes, your little lecture did not fall on deaf eyes or closed ears, Donna (oh, @#$% it, I clearly need a refill on the coffee – it’s 4 PM). I’m not REALLY stupid, I just play the part well, some days.

  30. Jena Isle says:

    This is one of the best articles I’ve read about SEO. Holly is a great writer who knows what to say and how to say it properly. Thanks for the added info.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Jena – I’ve learned a lot from all of my blogger friends over the last three years, especially. I’ve been a professional writer for over 25 years, now, and a blogger since about 1994, but honestly never thought of “SEO” until the last few years. It’s useful; it has the POTENTIAL, even, to lead to tighter writing. But when it feels more like “gaming the system” than “helping a motivated searcher find needed info” then I think it’s gone over the edge.

      For those in the U.S., particularly… remember when all the highways were lined with billboards? Where are they now?

    • I was surprised with the selected topic but she’d delivered it perfectly. She convince me that we should blog for our readers not for search engine.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        Like I said, take a stance – no one ever got views and comments and votes with “well…but then again…maybe…” ;) Much as I LOVE search engines (good ones, anyway), I’m very much biased in favor of PEOPLE. Real, living, breathing, READING humans.

        Thanks, Jhong!

  31. It is funny to me, really. I’ve found that I can charge 50–100% more for articles that are “optimized for SEO”. It really only means that the articles are clear and focused, but if clients will pay more, I am happy to call it “optimized for SEO”.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I think you just summed up my whole post in about four lines. :)

      Seriously, “clear and focused” are the real key. And maybe if more bloggers focused on clear writing, they’d become better at reaching both human readers and search engines.

      I know many bloggers who think spelling is unimportant. Now, they may have a point; if you’ve ever seen how people spell things when searching, you’ll know there’s probably a whole art to deliberately misspelling to increase SEO. BUT, for most, it’s not intentional and it’s not effective. The same goes for poor grammar.

      I’m not always “focused,” when it comes to my blog posts, unless I need to be. It’s too much like work, and by 7 PM, some part of my brain rebels and just wants to play. Nevertheless, I try always to be clear. Without clarity, there is no meeting of the minds.

      Make no mistake: We ALL want our readers to DO something. Most days, my wants are simple: I want readers to read and comment. And that costs them nothing. I won’t complain if they decide, while they’re there, to buy one of my books. Readers can’t and won’t ACT if they don’t know what it is you want them to do. If what you want them to do is “click around on my ads” they aren’t personally invested in that – that’s not what they’re there for. But if your words are enticing AND trustworthy, and you just happen to be able to meet some of THEIR needs (for information, entertainment, convenient shopping, best price, etc.) and you put up a nice clear message – they’re much more likely to find you AND to act.

      • Honestly, to me “clear and focused” are simple basics of good writing. I have considered myself a writer at least since the fourth grade when I won an English essay contest, writing an essay about New Orleans and food or some such. I’m positive I had been taught about clear and focused by the fourth grade. But I rarely mention this, because as I said “optimized for SEO” pays oh so much better. It’s like I believe it was P T Barnum said of audiences “give them what they want”.

  32. I am so amazed when I read “write for your reader not for search engine”.

    I was not aware if this and this is something that struck me really.

    From now on I will keep in mind to blog not for the search engine anymore.

    I know it’s hard but this should be the way it goes.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      If you really focus on the human reader, you don’t need to completely ignore the search engines, either. As someone else pointed out, between two equally well-written posts, one that employs GOOD SEO techniques (attention to permalinks, for instance) should do better in search – but try to THINK like a real person who wants the information YOU can provide on the topic. Be reader-friendly. Because between two articles equally loved by a search engine, a motivated reader – one who is ready to do something or buy something – is going to choose the one he can trust, and the one that provides the best info, not the one who has figured out all the tricks of the blogging trade.

      Look for Dave’s comments about product reviews and landing pages. Readers are not stopping at #1 in Google or Bing. They know better.

  33. Writing for your readers will make your website content to be a unique one. This is one of the most important thing for a search engine.
    So, if you write something good, clear and in your own words, you’ll do a lot more SEO than if you write your content especially for search engines.

  34. Great ideas here! My attitude in writing most of my blog posts is that, I make a post that is search engine friendly but at the same time, the keywords inside are arranged how a human searcher would arrange his/her keywords in the search bar. Then I make sure that the contents needed are in place.

    It is like writing for the search engine but not really.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      It can be a fun little challenge…

      One day, I swear, I’m going to pull some actual Google searches and run a contest to see what people can do with the convoluted arrangements of words I often see in there. (What never ceases to amaze me is how many times some of the most bizarrely worded searches are made – you’d think some just HAD to be unique, that no two people could ever come up with that particular arrangement of words, let alone a hundred people.)

      I’m not sure I’d let the arrangement of the keywords dictate the writing unless it makes good sense in the post. This is where some writers make it abundantly clear that they’re writing for the search engines, if they’re not very careful and very skilled.

  35. The beauty of a blog, built on a wordpress or other preexisting canned site is that much of the ‘seo’ is already done. The little things on the backend that help are already done, like pretty URLs, fluid navigation, title tags, etc.

    This is not always the case the custom built, non-blog websites, which may require a lot more effort to get them seo friendly.

    But after those initial things are tweaked and fixed, I think you are right – create good content and stay with it!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Actually, it’s the backend SEO I usually see the most improvement by doing, and not all themes and plug-ins are created equal in terms of their ability to optimize a blog. Don’t assume it’s always been done for you by a canned blog – double-check on those things. One theme I used for a while had to be modified because it was using h1 for post titles or some such.

  36. Another thing to keep in mind about the SEO with your site is using search engine friendly URLs. URLs should be like blogsite.com/my-post-title/15 instead of like blogsite.com/post.php?post_id=15. The first URL, you can have your keywords in your URL instead of the other URL you have nothing, but technical jargon in your URL.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Or blogsite.com/category/my-post-title and skip any articles or conjunctions (and punctuation – get rid of the special characters and spaces).

  37. Dave M. says:

    I have one more SEO comment that is more of a pet peeve. I get annoyed when folks use meta tags other than those that are descriptive regarding their content. Google descriptions show up as something other than the topic I searched. Searches become a drawn out affair and if I’m trying to get back to a site that I’ve visited before but have lost the browser bookmark since my last rebuild. As an example, if I can’t remember how to spell Holly’s last name I’ll google according to what I remember, if I enter “erma bombeck trockle” in google she comes up as every entry from page one through fifty on google.

    I wonder if consistency has a place in SEO? What happens when a person changes meta tags more often than Trump changes party affiliation? Does it help one to have consistent meta descriptions that match content over time?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Dave, the fact that I rank for those search terms has nothing to do with meta tags and everything to do with consistency – I’ve used the same bio blurb EVERYWHERE, with minor tweaks as needed, for about seven years now. And while I’m sure there are folks out there getting tired of seeing the SAME old thing every time, it serves exactly the purpose you describe here. (Of course, searching for holly trockle gets similar results. And I love the fact that a search for channeling the spirits bombeck ranks me up there higher than a site that’s actually devoted to channeling Erma Bombeck.) But yeah – it’s in the repetition of consistent text, not the meta tags.

      Keywords meta tag isn’t used as much as it once was, by most search engines, precisely because of the abuses you describe, Dave. “Though SEO meta tags were developed by web designers as a useful tool for search engine indexing, the overuse and abuse of this piece of code has decreased some of its impact. However, when used as they were intended, with highly focused and concise keywords and descriptions, the meta tags in your website can still add to the effectiveness of your search engine optimization.” (from http://www.seositecheckup.com/articles/5 which also offers some reasonable tips, and the tool http://www.seositecheckup.com/ which can analyze your site and give great suggestions for fixing common problems).

  38. writing “for a search engine” is a good way to come up with invaluable blog posts! You’re not going to captivate your readers with this sort of outlook…! blogs are essentially the same thing as newspaper articles, and you don’t see New York Times articles catering towards advertisers….

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Are you agreeing with me or disagreeing with me? :)

      I think you’re agreeing. And I think you’re right – blogs should be considered more like OpEd sections of the newspaper (or in some cases, headline news – but we’re not often able to scoop the Twitter folks or the AP, for that matter, unless it’s strictly local, eyewitness news). But seriously, no – you’re not going to see a major newspaper (a credible one) writing for the advertisers. The ADVERTISERS want real people who will BUY their products, not just eyeball their ads. Put yourself in their shoes – do you really want to pay per “impression” only to scare customers off with sleazy-looking content no one trusts, or content that’s so bland it leaves readers thinking, “So?” and wandering off. Ideally, they want you to click and even to buy. And when it’s not working for them, they’ll put their ad dollars somewhere else. Rightfully so.

      • I just wanted to say that I loved how you handled this comment, Holly. (I also find myself Really admiring how this site handles comment threading. Very useful.)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Why, thank you, Alan. I agree, this site has a nice, clean, attractive layout and it works smoothly – Kiesha does a great job with it. (I say that as a reader AND a guest poster who’s had a peek under the hood and reported the occasional non-spam in the spam bucket.) It’s a well designed site.

  39. Dave M. says:

    One of the commenters here, Alan, made a good point about writing paid articles I thought. I often read those types of articles and expect them to be SEO optimized but the better paid-missives don’t surrender readability to SEO while remaining discoverable on google and bing. I rely on those articles when researching product and customer service history when making purchases for business or personal use.

    I use a top down approach that seems to work for familiar technology but unfamiliar product. If a person were to view a pyramid that represented influence, segmented in thirds horizontally; from top down I use product specific forums as the top and smallest amount of influence because those tweet-like comments are often jaded and open to manipulation.

    The next tier down for impact is paid or manufacturer sponsored reviews and articles as Alan mentioned. These often have the most meat regarding features, benefits and improvement over current industry standard. They’re usually the most professional of influence articles.

    The last and bottom third of the pyramid has the most clout and leverage for me–bloggers. Their sites often lack the Web-Ritalin that allows everything to appear clean, polished and organized. A blogger’s site-topics might skip daily from an area of expertise to musings about life or a new interest. I’ve found that a committed blogger that doesn’t pray at google’s alter of SEO but simply attends service once a month is usually trustworthy to their site’s objective–I re-visit those bloggers whose goals are sympathetic with my own when I need them. The best bloggers I’ve found are like internet-EMS, they’re trustworthy, skillful, sincere and could easily be a friend living in my community even if they’re posting from the other side of the world.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I think bloggers tend to get caught up in their own little community of bloggers (it’s a big community, but there’s a whole wide WORLD of readers to reach) and forget that they actually do HAVE a different perspective than the non-bloggers who may understand things like SEO but don’t CARE. I don’t know about you, Dave, but I’ll peruse several pages of Google search results and tend to prefer what I find on pp. 3-7, generally speaking.

      Having your comments here is really valuable, and I hope everyone takes a moment to consider that this is real reader feedback – customer feedback, not peer review.

      I love the way you put that: “I’ve found that a committed blogger that doesn’t pray at google’s alter of SEO but simply attends service once a month is usually trustworthy to their site’s objective–I re-visit those bloggers whose goals are sympathetic with my own when I need them.” Once a month services are, for me, getting a site checkup and eliminating some bad links, thinking about whether or not I’m using good titles and communicating clearly, doing a little housecleaning on tags and categories and such – kind of a little reality check. Unless I’m out to conquer the Google Beast or make Alexa love me just for the heck of it, that’s about all I do. I still rank well for what I want to rank well for. ;) And as long as I can keep your trust, Dave, and that of other readers, it’s all golden.

      • Dave M. says:

        I think every writer’s site has a personal goal beyond simple expression Holly–the need to express only goes so far before skill and passion appears and shared goals with readers/bloggers either cements a connection or turns them off forever (conversion). Google is rife with pointers to failed SEO-centric bloggers whom have become a virtual Vince with a slap-chop to sell.

        I try to purchase books locally at a retailer. I enjoy seeing the same face that helped me the last time instead of an avatar or Amazon’s catechized and purified page feedback while purchasing–I just enjoy the banter and interaction with a real person. I don’t always have time or it may be late, so I’ll click on the Amazon link from your page and order the China Study or something from John Sandford hoping you receive a couple pennies for effort.

        You’re the closest thing to that local book seller and have never been Vince-like:)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          We all crave human connections and interaction. That’s why your local bookseller stays in business. That’s why I refuse to use the automated checkout machines at the grocery store. We like the baby monkeys on a wire “mother.” Without touch – without GENUINE contact with others – we die. Or, we might as well be alone. I don’t mind being alone so much. I do mind feeling used, manipulated, cast off the minute someone more important enters a room. Who doesn’t?

          And you know I appreciate those few pennies, Dave. Your local bookseller doesn’t entertain you with his writing and his silliness, now, does he? :) Mind you, I’m not quitting the day job for those few pennies. So you just go ahead and visit the guy – I won’t be jealous of your need to feel and touch those books before buying, when you can.

      • Dave M. says:

        I function the same; I usually find what I need after the second page on google. Nobody mentions bing here but I search them first for some items especially technology.

        Bloggers are different but can turn out to be real people. Like you said Holly, “..bloggers tend to get caught up in their own community.”

        I think the best opinions are from bloggers, most haven’t hit the wall of corporate accountability or have negotiated a settlement that allows them an opinion. If bloggers write to SEO standards, they’ll lose the readers that frequent and can’t find the hidden comment box:)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          You notice some of the surprise at the fact that you – a reader who doesn’t blog – are reading and commenting here at all? Maybe if more non-blogging readers understood that what keeps us all doing what we do is the immediate gratification and feedback inherent in the comments (REAL comments) and, of course, a little extra income (who doesn’t need that, these days?) then there would be fewer tricks and traps and crap out there. Just a thought. ;)

          • That’s a very interesting point– about bloggers being in their own little world. When I think about it I realize there is much truth to this. So I will just add my own thanks to Holly’s– so glad you could join us Dave.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Alan, it’s like those writers who think it’s not necessary to read – if bloggers don’t spend a little time outside their own niche and their own circle of friends, the circles close up and they forget (like engineers and tech writers sometimes do) how their allegedly-intended audience perceives them. When they make the mistake of assuming they know, because of course they’re ordinary people – they know, right? When they make that mistake, they lose sight of real opportunities.

  40. Dave M. says:

    Holly,

    You are your own worst enemy sometimes, seriously. You enter a competition and recommend friends to a competitor so they read a person’s article just because you liked it, what’s up with that? I’ll never choose you as a partner in dodge-ball:) I read Hajra’s entry, I enjoyed it so I posted a comment and thereby gave her a vote.

    You’ve pointed me at several blogs over the years that are at least compelling but not always well written–with the exception of Donna, she’s always perfect.

    This has been a learning experience. I’m not sure that the vaunted google SEO is as important as “Blog recommendations” by individuals and amongst trusted and frequent visitors. I’m thinking I need more touch-stone blogs and fewer searches…

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m happy to be your touchstone, Dave. Maybe I’m just looking out for the long-term karma. Like I said, Donna trounced me in that other contest, but I still placed well enough to meet my goals – and buy my Nook. And made new friends in the process. Like I said, win/win. I can live with it. ;) I’m glad you liked Hajra’s post. I did, too, or I would never have shot my competitive self in the foot like that and said, “Go read it!” :)

      I actually find most of the interesting stuff through CommentLuv and word-of-mouth (which is really kind of the same thing: you leave an intriguing, well-written, HUMAN comment on my blog or someone else’s, I’m likely to want to follow your breadcrumbs, right?). I’m also a sucker for a clever, catchy title – whether it’s really GOOD SEO or not. But then I guess I read more like an editor or publisher – “Just give me ONE good reason to keep reading, or to toss it in the circular file. Could go either way, really – keep pulling me in or risk losing me.” Not because I’m the devil in Prada or anything, but because I have the attention span of a gnat and there are SO many pretty, shiny things out there… ;)

  41. Glynis Jolly says:

    Holly, a wonderful post. Like you, all this talk about SEO sounds a little silly. It may be good to surf the internet for the current buzz words to use as keywords but if I have a word I want to use, I’m not going through it away because it isn’t a ‘keyword.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Good! And thank you. :) Using common keywords and search phrases is good. Contortionistic writing around them is not, nor is sprinkling them randomly through an otherwise comprehensible post like fairy dust.

      I saw an ad yesterday that just infuriated me – it was something along the lines of “write great blog posts in your sleep, about topics you know absolutely nothing about, and because we pull random snippets from a gazillion sources across the Web, it’s all original content that won’t get you in trouble with the copyright checkers!” I hate people some days. ;)

  42. Dave M. says:

    Wooo-Ok then…

    Dere’s dis guy named Rustin, he’s not a blogger but he writes and talks a lot. When you visit his site he doesn’t seem concerned about SEO, he’s kind of a Finlander, I’m a Swede and I used to gang up with Norwegians and dump on Finlanders cuz dey’re dumber dan granite right?

    So dis guy Rustin, he’s maybe a Finlander and a Bird-caller, he starts dis web-site about agrarian Finlander livin in Washingdon but you can’t find it on google, he’s been interviewed locally on public radio and nationally on NPR but you can’t find him on google–He’s da real deal but you can’t find him cuz you rely on a “Sneetch Engine” to fill out the borders in your life, if dey don’t include popular content you’re screwed ey?

    So you can’t find him. He’s a Finlander, he does good works but he’s a searchtrarian, eats reindeer and and flies under de google-radar, so he can hone an axe, raise bees, build a cabin and grow corn, but he can’t market himself other than the sign he wears outside the cheese market in Green Bay. ey? He could give a toot about SEO.

    Seriously, I read–I read this guy’s site and he’ll never ever be a blogger, and you’ll never find his site while querying google, but he’s one of the most interesting and influential people I know on the left coast…

    http://humweb.ucsc.edu/gleaningstories/

    http://www.hogradio.org/CalBirdTalk/rusten.html

    Y’all need to get out of the house and capture some content, google only represents the stuff(shit) it points too:)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Oh, I don’t know, Dave – one look at his home page and I’ll bet he ranks #1 for “gleaning.”

      Whoa. He’s NOT.

      Point taken! Another point you make (rather subtly) is the importance of spelling. This guy you read, his name’s not Rustin, it’s Rusten. Google will sometimes venture a guess, saying, “Did you really mean Rusten?” but it doesn’t always guess correctly.

      Interesting sites, Dave! I had no idea this gleaning was a movement, of sorts – sounds like fun, actually.

      • And one man’s gleaning is another man’s curating. Now curating– that’s a hot word these days and not just in the library and museum crowd. Holly what I heard in Dave’s comment was indeed a reminder about how very important spelling and accurate typing really are.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Yep, but this Rusten’s talking about the real thing! LOL Oh, goodness, Alan – “curating” is about to become the “paradigm” of the decade, isn’t it? It’s already edging out “engagement.”

          • hee hee. Well do let us curate our engagement in this auspicious moment ;)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Man, I’m starting to see Spiggi’s point about the word “engaged.” I’m all for the evolution of language, but that could just be taken SO wrong.

  43. You figured it out…

    OK, yes I was trying to make a point about spelling and dialect. I’m not adept at written irony but you two (Alan and Holly) figured it out. One of the folks I support at work hired a SEO company to send his page ever higher on google. I was at his office Friday and he called me over for an opinion, like a network and systems guy could help him out:) He said: “Watch what happens.” He complained that he used to show up on the first page but is now on page six. I explained that he wasn’t spelling his search terms correctly. He said: “I have to misspell them because it’s mostly Germans that visit my page.” I showed him how to view his tags in the source code and sure enough, he was misspelling the misspelled German/American tags. After correctly entering the misspelled search terms he came up on page one.

    I wasn’t going to tie myself in a knot trying to explain it further and suggested he call the SEO company. I kept thinking of Holly’s guest blog here and wondering how many ways a person can pay good money for the privilege of shooting them self in the foot, I felt so bad for the guy I didn’t want to embarrass him by shaking my head, I stiffly walked away and didn’t look back.

    He was using the word glene in place of discover. His tag was spelled gleen… This reminded me of Rustin’s -er- Rusten’s site:)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m glad you brought this up, because ever since I mentioned the proper spelling, this little voice in my head has been chortling, saying, “Yeah, but what if your ‘motivated human searchers’ can’t spell their own names, most days?” (Okay, this particular little voice in my head is related to the Inner Editor, Edna – neither of them are particularly “nice” characters, and you wouldn’t want to meet them in a dark alley.)

      See http://www.googleguide.com/spelling_corrections.html – now, I wonder if there’s a reverse spelling suggestions app somewhere; you spell a word correctly, and it spits out a list of common misspellings?

      • That’s too weird to think about… so “common misspellings” will likely become an iPhone app. Everyone in SW Florida writes “Fort Meyers” in their tags along with the correct spelling “Fort Myers.” Using the “most searched list” on google gives one a good idea of the terms people may use to find you.

        I had only recently become comfortable with your different personalities. “Edna” is new to me, you keep introducing new characters to the discussion. You should consider giving them their own email addresses:)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Oh, Dave, you don’t know EDNA??? ROFL – you must meet Edna. In fact, anyone who is reading this who has ever been plagued by writer’s block or the nagging, insecure feeling that they are not good enough TOTALLY needs to find their own Edna and beat the snot out of her – figuratively, of course. So, with apologies to all the lovely women out there named Edna, here’s mine:

          http://www.scribd.com/doc/15201079/Eradicating-Edna

          • Edna sounds like…well, she sounds like Sister Edna in the fourth grade–Sister Jean Michael to be exact.

            I only had time to read the prologue but will go back and read in a fortified frame of mind after I watch the Divinchi Code again.

            Bloggers post on natural prozac I think, but they all have a Catholic dark-side :)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Dave, when you write like that I want to ask you what’s your nom de plume? Because I swear, you ARE a writer. ;)

          • My French fav-name would be something like Holly or Vivian if I could write, females seem to dominate the blogisphere–they’re willing to tolerate idiots and conquer risk–they handle it.

            A guy can’t give up his mig-welder and listen to those voices Holly, a guy needs to keep working and be thankful for expressive, talented friends and artists–like New Orleans appreciates Stevie Ray Vaughn and raised cemeteries:)

            We all carve out our own chunk of life along the way and we’re careful whom we share it with. If SEO was perfect we wouldn’t have to work at discovery or feel sheepish like kids at a Prom while approaching a blog and receiving fake compliments on our cheap plastic Orchid, we could simply drop our internet quarter and select our joy with confidence that a blogger might be sincere–in a perfect world:)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Oh, Dave, you know I couldn’t pull off insincere if someone held a gun to my head. If you blogged, I’d read. If you wrote a book, I’d want it.

            Some days, though, I’m secretly glad you don’t – and openly glad that you like to read what I write.

  44. Blogs Are Web-Sites with an Attitude.

    Riddle me this Edna, a co-worker has three web-sites with the exact same content but slightly different meta-tags. She ranked first page on google a few years ago but has steadily worked her way to the fourth page on google in spite of effort, updated and current content. She posts her opinion daily on FaceBook and has much traffic there as opposed to her web-site.

    I believe her separate sites should have unique content if they are to help each other regarding google rank and should be updated like a blog. Didn’t google crack down on gateway-feeders and pages a few years ago?

    Curious in Fort Myers.

    P.S. Can A blog-site date a Web-site date a FaceBook page and Tweet? I’m worried about my kids falling in with wrong crowd.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I believe you’re right, Dave. I’m not sure just how harshly Google penalizes duplicate content – I’m pretty sure a shared post here and there won’t hurt anyone. But if ALL of the content is identical? Yep, to a machine, that just screams “SPLOG!!” And with the PANDA update, Google has really made it harder for the sploggers and scrapers, with legitimate article syndication caught in the cross-fire. Good news for us writers, though, and I don’t apologize for a small, secret glee.

      Then again, I saw some piece of software the other day that sucks up content from all over the web and spits out an article that ALMOST looks like a third grader wrote it. It’s sufficiently good at its job to make me want to pull its plug, but like I said, if you want your content to look like a third grader (a smart one who can generally spell) wrote it, fine. Go for it. If you want something original or creative, find yourself a writer.

      You should worry, Dave – what I alluded to, above, with my cross-posting, auto-linking, bot-tweeting frenzy was nothing short of a social media orgy (there you go, K – link bait! Muahahahaha!) Be careful where you let the kids hang out.

      • Stu Rader says:

        Re: Article “spinning” on multiple blogs, google algorithm’s, and content.

        This is like a topic there are a zillion pages and views about so I’ll try to keep my views short and somewhat concise.

        Firstly I would read up on canonical url’s and make sure your permalink structure is in line with Google’s view of how this affects indexing – via an article by Matt Cutts, http://www.mattcutts.com/blog/canonical-link-tag/ This is, as I’m sure you’re aware a very important area to hit first, if you’re meta tagging and using other forms of SEO that may be rendered pretty useless if your permalink structure sucks. That said, content is still King and Queen.

        Personally, I append my WordPress blogs url’s with the .html extension for reason’s that through exhaustive research has led me. This can be done simply via a plugin.

        Keyword density – shoot for about 6% – of course selection of keywords relative to the topic is another huge study.

        Article Spinning and Multiple blogs with similar content produced via software. The only reason this is done imho is for those that are trying to monetize via click ads. Don’t do it. If you have a centric blog per area of expertise and you index well in it, you can set aside space for ads relevant in each blog/area of expertise and glean a better CTR.

        Pushing people to your blog via Social Networks. I am such a huge believer in owning a single blog for your specific “Thing” you do as a “Subject matter expert” be it an online business, or brick and mortar with an online presence. Do not use Amplify, Posterous, Tumblr to re-publish content, use them to enhance your main businesses visibility. Just as a #fb business page or App (or any of the above for that matter) should be used as a lead-in/teaser for your real content and not just a farm for re-publishing identical or similar content that no one is going to read.

        Google showed earlier this year that with a stroke of their wand, they could take any huge business and throw it under the bus (no biz names here, ahem) from page 1 to page 82 if they and their algorithm deduced you were buying negativity conjured up against your competition via paid articles, automated link bait software or some of the techniques Holly mentioned above.

        I have never monetized a client site with ads, because they are the ad (We do have one coming up however that will).

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Darren R. and Chris B. both agreed, a couple of years ago, that “no niche” WAS my niche, so I stopped sweating it and now focus on one blog and content that’s just all over the place, and trying to use categories and tags effectively.

          I do use an SEO plug-in and I do use canonical URLs. I have redirects from all my old blogs, and try to fix most, if not all, broken links (there’s a plug-in for that, too, but you still have to do all the real work, like figuring out where the darned thing went)

          As a writer, I loathe article spinning software and hope its makers drop off a – never mind, some of them probably read this blog. ::glares:: Never mind, Karma’s a b**ch, and she’s got your number.

          I used to contribute articles to some of the free articles databases, but I originally did it to help someone else promote a business, and realized where my name was going and how I’d completely lost control… and stopped doing that. (It did lead to my humorous – if somewhat “off color” post, “Ten Secrets to Hugely Successful Article Writing (Humor)” at http://jahangiri.us/new/2008/11/25/ten-secrets-to-hugely-successful-article-writing-humor/ ) THAT was meant to be scraper bait, of course – but funny thing – THAT, they never picked up.

          My keyword density needs work. Then again, I laugh out loud each morning over coffee as StatCounter reveals to me some of the oddest things I rank well for. ;) Who knew? But seriously – my advice is to stay out of warm water. Judging by the sustained popularity of naegleria fowleri, I worry. Remind me to get my son nose plugs before summer camp. Maybe I should get them for the whole Scout troop.

          Anyway…

          I appreciate your weighing in here, Stu. Your clients are lucky to have you and your zombie fighting skills. ;)

          • Stu Rader says:

            This, is a super blog and very appealing. I know you understand I wasn’t aiming that it wasn’t doing any of that good stuff, or indicating that I think ads are a no-no. I just get into my own world and fired up about the less than above board crudola that’s rampant on the web. Yikes, nay you say “less than above board”, we didn’t even know . . .

            When the Pie-man sends me off, I’m not generally armed with vanilla and some have even called me random?

            Spicy wings this weekend for all !

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Hahahahahaha…Stu, you do realize this is a guest post, and not “my” blog, right? (And you’re cordially invited to critique MY blog, any time you like! It’s over at http://jahangiri.us/new )

            Only ads I run on mine are hand-chosen, hand-crafted, and stuff I stand behind, either as an author or a consumer who’s used the product. (Of course, I couldn’t sell shrimp boats for Gulf Coast fishermen, so I just don’t run too many ads or write too many product reviews. When I do, you might want to take a look.) All the links, likewise. It makes me really sad to think the snake-oil salesmen have taken all the fun out of embellishing hyperlinks with hidden extra info and jokes. ;) No one wants to hover over them anymore, let alone click.

            Isn’t the pie man great? What kind did he give you? I got some Pi pie on my way to work, and something frothy looking, bordered in cherries. “Random” is my middle name. Welcome, Stu. ;)

    • Dave,

      The problem is Not _can_ a blog date a web site, date a Facebook, date a Tweet. The problem is when they are all dating and a hapless content creator spams the same thing to you in four different places. (See the threads about auto-forwarder shafus.)

      You are absolutely 100% correct that Google penalized duplicate content. When I moved my book review blog from Blogspot to WordPress, some knowledgeable friends helpfully advised me to take down the original blogspot site once all the posts were imported into WordPress because Google Really doesn’t like duplicate content.

  45. You know, I have been publishing my book review site (http://libdrone.info) for almost 4 years now, and for most of that time have been studying almost everything related to web publishing, including of course Google, keywords and SEO/SERP. And it wasn’t until Dave’s comment that the thought of including intentionally mis-spelled keywords to draw inaccurate typists and uncertain spellers to your content. The _blogger_ in me (as I suspect Dave would call it) thinks it’s bloody brilliant, and is kicking the the _writer_ in me who so laboriously learned to spell correctly and take such great pride in always doing so– long before the invading army of squiggly red lines attempted to make knowing how to spell “_SO_ 1 point oh”.

    (Torn between competing urges to add “litarecy”, “raeding”, and “buks” to the http://rawwr.com met tags and to spend the next two hours scrolling through http://wordnik.com reading obscure words and their definitions until the first urge passes.)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      “Resist the Dark Side, Luke. Er, Alan. Feel the Force. Use the Force for good…”

      And remember that the occasional typo may simply be “enhancing the usability of your site.” :)

      My son just told me a literary joke:

      “What happened when Tybalt got a gun?”

      “What?”

      “He popped a Capulet.”

      I’m so proud.

      • Well, I typoed “meta” in the response above. Dunno if it enhances this blog, but I will say I subscribe to the ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ philosophy.

  46. I agree and try my best to follow the advice in the post.

    What strikes me amazed are reading the comments here! I thought I had a tough haul with SEO as a photog, but man, you writers have a huge hill to climb!

    I have long respected writers are artists, mostly because I am neither of the two. But after reading the comments and getting a better understanding of what you all go through, wow, my hats off to you all!

    SEO is a huge ball of techniques. You can’t focus on one area, you most try to touch all the points of the SEO world. The most unique content won’t rank high without proper keywords, and even then won’t rank high without traffic(readers).

    Great post and moreover excellent comments!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Oh, Hank, careful – words like could be mistaken for flirtation by a writer. Don’t tease. (Buy my books, instead!) I’ll never forget one graphic artist I know dismissing us technical writers: “Oh, they’re not creative.” I thought up some real creative things for a while, after hearing that. (As I said to my son, when he worried about his friends teasing him if they recognized him as a character in my first children’s picture book: “I can’t stop selling and writing kids’ books, but I CAN have a little chat with your friends and explain to them how I can make them characters in my NEXT book.” He gave me this surprised, almost betrayed look – until he noticed the evil little smile on my face.

      “Oooooh. Would you really?”

      “You betcha.”

      Hank, do you remember to include good ALT tags on all your photos? :) I mean descriptive ones, not just “tall building” but “Williams Tower, Houston Texas, sunny day, water wall in background”?

      Thanks so much for dropping by and joining in the discussion, Hank! (And for your support of my plans for the future photo blog. ;)

      • lol, I’m not a writer so how would I know that would be flirting?

        Yes, I try to be descriptive in my alt tags as much as possible. That is if I want my photos to turn up in searches, sometimes I do not.

        Not to brag, well maybe a tad, here is a SERP in Google’s image search – http://www.google.com/search?q=Red+Flag+10-4&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi&biw=1024&bih=587

        1st page, 1st photo, 4 out 5 on the first row.

        Granted, it’s a VERY specific search, but that’s what I SEO’d to. Beat out Nellis AFB in the SERP too :)

        Thanks for responding! It’s my #1 pet peeve when commenting on someones blog, they don’t respond! Why have comments enabled if you are going to respond!

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          We writers are suckers for a little appreciation. “Nice turn of phrase” is like, well – never mind. I’m fanning myself just thinking about it.

          Stu, I really like http://www.redbubble.com/people/hankmann/art/everything/tags/red%20flag%2010%204

          Yes, it’s a specific term, but that makes it much more useful to PEOPLE who want THAT photo to come up first on THEIR search.

          On that note, I’m pretty sure there’s a company in Germany that is totally baffled as to why my fictional little monster Trockle beats all heck out of them in the search engines. :)

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Hank.

          I know you’re not Stu. Good thing I was only joking about the flirting. You might be REALLY offended. LOL Sorry.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          P.P.S. I try ALWAYS to respond to comments (I like to encourage people to keep them coming. I sometimes get confused and think I’m back moderating a forum on GEnie or something…) I try always to respond, even if it takes me hours, sometimes days (did I mention that I’m not desperate to monetize the blog because I HAVE a day job, and no intention of leaving it any time soon?) I try always to respond, even if it’s going on midnight, I haven’t had caffeine in about 6 hours, and I’m going on stupid. :)

  47. I find that writing about SEO becomes important because there are so many people who have no concept of it. You’re right, if people write relevant content that’s pretty good, they’ve got it down. But think about how many websites we see that have fallen flat because people haven’t written almost anything on the page to even give themselves a chance to compete online.

    So, I figure we write about it for those people who are just coming into it anew and say “oh, so that’s why my website isn’t getting any hits!” :-)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Mitch, you’re right, of course – it can be helpful to explain a few things to novice bloggers who are discouraged by a lack of visitors. But I think novice bloggers need SEO training wheels. For example:

      Unit 1: Pretty Permalinks and Spelling Counts! (or, What is a Post Slug and How to Use the Dictionary)

      Unit 2: Keywords and Subject-Verb Agreement

      Unit 3: Crafting the Perfect Headline and Editing the Not-So-Perfect Post.
      :)

      Writing skills are a MUST – if you want to DO anything with that “traffic” after you’ve brought it in. If the only traffic you care about is bots and crawlers and people who now feel cheated and deceived or manipulated, it doesn’t much matter.

      • Good stuff, except for the headline stuff. Not that you’re not right, but it’s the one area I know I fail at. Heck, it took me 3 years to figure out a title for my book. lol

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I’m holding back, now, Mitch. I’m thinking up a new post on “How to Craft a Catchy Headline (or Title, for You Writers Out There)”

          Have you guessed, yet, what I need to work on? LOL

  48. Hi Holly,

    There are three parts to the problem. First one is how to get traffic. Next is how to keep that traffic and the last one is how to repeat the same traffic( as in a repeat customer). The only time SEO strategy might work is first part. If the writing skills are so bad that you want to run away as soon as arrived no SEO can help. Only great content and which is relevant to title is going to get the repeat traffic.
    If you promise ice cream on the shop board while serve burgers inside, it is a terrible mistake.

    So in my opinion , good and returning traffic = SEO (10%) + original thoughts and content(90%). What do you say?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I completely agree with you, Ashvini. If you promise more than you deliver, you will drive everyone away, defeating the purpose.

      I could write a book with a great hook – the title and first paragraph make you think, “I really want to read this book!” So you plunk down $22.99 for the book, get it home, curl up for a few hours’ happy reading, and then – what the hell? The book turns out to be boring, insipid, and a complete waste of $22.99. Are you EVER going to buy one of my books again? Are you going to tell all your friends that they really must read my books – BUY them, to support an author you’d like to see continue writing, as opposed to, you know, spending 99% of her time working a second and third job sacking groceries instead of writing?

      • Its fun to see so many “romantic writers” popping up in my city. They write about their own lame love stories and about their friends and their families.

        my wife often takes a book out of a book store shelf, reads the excerpt and with a disgusting look puts it back on the shelf. Till now she has not been able to purchase any local author’s romantic book till recently.
        People do not understand that even though their life experiences may be interesting, if they can not write it well, they are not going to cut much ice with readers.
        Every techie in here wants to be a romantic book writer :)))

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Ashvini, has there been a corresponding up-tick, in your country, of entrepreneurial spirits opening up a new “vanity press,” convincing everyone that their romantic memoirs are a goldmine?

          Writers are shamefully easy prey.

          It’s the same, too, with children’s book authors – too many people think it must be really easy to write for kids, as if young readers were tiny, brain-damaged people with vocabularies consisting of 2- and 3-letter words, only.

          They forget that children have an even lower tolerance for boredom and adult condescension than many adults. :)

          • Hi Holly,

            In India there are three popular things marriage, bollywood and cricket( not the bug ;) ). Each of them can generate thousands of articles. Combine each of the and the do the Permutation and Combinations. For flaovour add “after play party” , politics, girls, cheerleaders, money and there are so much things to write about. So much that one of the top newspaper writes only about them.
            Not a small wonder that they are not getting only those crowds who want to watch pictures and not engage in meaningful discussion.
            Writing great content is an art and I am sure that these artists are not paid well. So why will they generate the content ?

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            I know a bit about marriage and bollywood, and there’s a cricket club that has part of a park near my son’s old elementary school and plays most weekends. I may even have some pictures… Why, you’ve just given me such marvelous ideas for increasing my global audience and upping my international Alexa stats, Ashvini! Smashing!

            On a more serious note… why? Because we don’t do math. Because we’re not likely ever to discover the cure for AIDS, but we stand ready to write about it when someone who’s brilliant in math and science wants to explain – in lay terms – what his latest research means to the world and why they ought to fund more of it. ;) Because it’s more fun than laundry, and can be done in a nice, air-conditioned room?

  49. I like your thoughts on SEO Holly. Organic without making SEO the primary motivation for your content & word choice (if I understood you correctly). Writing in your own voice, showing who you are, about subjects of keen interest to your target audience, being engaging & trying to stimulate engagement in return is what I would like to do.

    I’ve been thinking about blogging, thinking about what my niche should be, and how to factor SEO into a blog without making it the be-all end-all.

    I think your insight may help guide me and appreciate the chance to participate in this exercise.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You absolutely did understand me correctly, Ira. What makes your blog stand out among the thousands in whatever niche you choose is YOU, and YOU ALONE. Solid information plus personality will keep people reading. “SEO techniques” are good to know – great to give a good post an edge. But focus on the human reader first and foremost, and don’t mess up a good post kowtowing to the search engines.

  50. I tend to think number 1 is most important, but then I’m one of those grouches to think the internet is too full of recycled content of little to no value on any level :)

    You, however, bring the goods.

    Used to see a lot of conversations about how SEO and optimizing keywords to get the ads you want and so forth, and unfortunately a lot of people get along by churning out websites that are just collections of articles about whatever’s popular on Google at that moment. Real bloggers write about things they care about – even if it *is* the trending topic of the moment, lord knows I hit enough of them with my interests – and like you said: the readers can tell.

    If you phone it in…just don’t.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      That’s something I’ve never known you to do – ever – just “phone it in.” You write about things that are interesting and relevant, and you make them interesting to others – or they can just take their eyeballs elsewhere. I like your analytical, no B.S. style – the way you can cut through all the crap and make sense of a complex and thorny topic.

      I used to tell people when I critiqued their writing that poorly edited work was a sign of disrespect towards readers and their precious time. Some writers don’t get that. It’s the humble writers who don’t really imagine that there isn’t someone out there who’s already said it better – the brave writers who try to approach the topic with their own original thoughts, with that knowledge firmly in mind at all times – they’re the ones who are likely to succeed.

      • Holly,

        Allow me to butt in? This phrase made me squirm,
        “…that poorly edited work was a sign of disrespect towards readers and their precious time.”
        I hope writers who use English as their second language should be given more leeway to improve?! LOL…we’re trying our best, and establishing our own style the best method that we know of. But we still have to perfect the language itself. That is the challenge that I keep overcoming. It is totally different when you speak the language anywhere you go. When you don’t, it is harder to write impeccable sentences, that readers would admire. But we mean no disrespect to them..lol…

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Oh, Jena, I’m SO glad you chimed in!! I think you know me well enough to know the answer to that. EFFORT generally shows, doesn’t it? I was referring (primarily, but no, not exclusively) to native speakers of English. People have actually said to me, “Grammar and spelling don’t matter. My ideas matter. If you don’t get it, you’re not the person I’m writing for.” Well, shoot, they could’ve said that in the first sentence and saved me a lot of time spent trying to decipher their muddled thoughts to discern the kernel of an “idea.” Know what I mean?

          You know what I mean. :)

          And lest we forget, YOU were the FIRST (and one of an elite handful) of readers to spot the typo in “A Puppy, Not a Guppy.” So I would NEVER include you with this “disrespectful” bunch! You write very clearly; the occasional error is forgiven without your having to ask. As is the case with all writers who make an effort to improve with each post, native speakers or not.

          • English Grammar and Composition have so much
            rules to follow. I think that’s the reason why
            I could not be a writer. By the way, will SEO
            even notice wrong word usage?

  51. Bill Hicks says:

    In the beginning was THE WORD…..but if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it really make the sound of one hand clapping?

    Of course content is KEY – but if a site isn’t architected for search engine visibility, no one will know about the content. Today no one would know about the bible, much less quote it to their heart’s content, if Google couldn’t find it.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Bill, I agree with you – about all of that, except for the part about the Bible. That one’s the ultimate example of “word-of-mouth Marketing,” that is. But it’s had a head start on all other social media, and in a sense, invented its own form of social media – church.
      :)

      • Bill Hicks says:

        What I’m saying is if the Bible were written now and the site it was on was not searchable by google, who would read it ;)

        Is a crusade really considered word of mouth marketing?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          If it gets picked up in the pulpit, or by the town crier, or by FOX News…

          Yeah. ;) Maybe.

          Do you think people who gathered converts at the point of a sword might’ve been the spammers of their day?

          • Bill Hicks says:

            Spam may be too nice, but definitely malware!

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            This discussion deserves a whole new thread, I think. It’s far too weighty for this tiny, narrow column.

  52. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Bill Hicks, I’m starting a new thread – not sure what you mean by “spam may be too nice, but definitely malware”?

    Do you mean compared to the crusaders, or in general? Do you think their flattery techniques might be compared to a Trojan horse (the real one, not necessarily the malware kind), wherein you are duped by the compliment into opening the door – and thereby notifying all other spammers that you are a pushover?

    This religion metaphor gets more and more intriguing, the more I think about it.

    • If you two wear out the religion metaphor you might try Zombies. All the really cool people are talking about them, I can see a likeness to spammers.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        That would be the robospammers, right? Or would that be the trolls? Trolls are also a good topic (for another post, perhaps). And then there are zombie processes – nothing worse than finding out you ARE one. (Or that there’s one masquerading as you.)

        • So Dave M. since you mentioned about Zombies, when do you think “zombie apocalypse is due to start?”

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            That would be a Level 4 Zombie Attack, wouldn’t it, Nur? It’s hard to predict, but it’s a sure bet the zombies won’t be warning us with their excellent use of SEO techniques OR good, focused writing.

            How DO you spell “Grrruuuuugggghhh” anyway? Or the sound of brain-slurpin? (Which ought to bring us back to the whole niglaeria fowleri thing, which disturbingly enough, continues to cause my blog to rank well in the search engines. I say “disturbingly enough,” because really, I do wish there were no such thing as brain-eating amoebae (or zombies) to terrorize our children as they head off to summer camp and freshwater sports.

    • Bill Hicks says:

      Spam is relatively “harmless”….Crusades were anything but harmless….they kicked butt and took names…err, I mean souls….they were a virus with shoes.

  53. What is the difference between being authoritative and opinionated?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You can be both. But I think “authoritative” generally means knowledgeable and respected with regard to a particular body of knowledge – someone people quote as “that blogger really knows this subject, you should pay attention!” (Not that it’s always the case, mind you…)

      Opinionated is not always right (or wrong), but takes one side and argues it with passion. Opinionated is colorful, interesting, thought-provoking, debatable – the cons, of course, is that TOO opinionated gets a reputation for being a bully or a blowhard. (Which, as we see in the media, still works for increasing ratings – or, for blogs, traffic and discussion.)

      I think it’s better to be both, if you can swing it – but not to be mean-spirited or a bully. Have strong opinions and back them with solid information. That’s a winning combination.

  54. Not sure what in the world is going on, but you know I will support you anyway I can.

    I feel as if you are are speaking a completely different language than I am. However, you know that I always ask you for translation as it is.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      We’re talking about ways to get your business, your web site, and your blog ranked higher in the search engines, Vivian, so that everyone can find you.

      Now, you have the whole “clear writing” down already, so despite what I said in this post, you might want to peruse some of the other posts on this site under the topic “SEO.” :) Your blogs are well focused, topical, human, and well written. A few SEO techniques, carefully applied, may bring you more business.

      And thanks – I don’t know what I’d have done without your support and encouragement all these years. :)

  55. Holly Jahangiri says:

    So, Nur asked, “will SEO even notice wrong word usage?” I think this goes back to the whole discussion of whether we ought to misspell words on purpose, if that’s how people are typing them when they search.

    On the one hand, I think there’s SOME value in doing that, when you know it’s a common misspelling – or a common grammatical error or colloquialism (and frankly, there’s an even stronger argument for it if you’re a business aiming to reach a regional or local target market – you want to write like your community talks and writes). But again, I’d focus on the human searcher, not the search ENGINE – don’t try to hit all possible misspellings in the HOPE that someone’s going to make a typo and fall into your snare. Y’know? Are you doing it to trap or to help?

    • I’ve actually given the mis-spelled words question considerable thought since the shocking revelation earlier in these threads that mis-spelled key words are an actual SEO technique. It seems to me it kind of depends on your target audience, no? If the people you are trying to reach are unlikely to be adept at spelling, it seems reasonable to me to include some common mis-spellings in your keywords. But honestly, I would draw the line against mis-spelling anything in the article itself, unless you put quotes around it and have fun acknowledging that you are intentionally mis-spelling a word.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        What if your fingers just accidentally slipped – would you correcte the mis-spelling, or leave it as “organic”? (I never used to type “teh” but I think the Internet is contagious.)

        • Like most bloggers, I haven’t the budget for a copy-editor and I know that despite my best efforts at proof-reading that I sometimes miss small typos like teh one you mention. Though most of the time the squiggly red line monsters speak up and let me know. I’m also sure that some errors in grammar and usage slip by me as well. But I think that in blogging, there is a somewhat higher level of understanding and acceptance of occasional errors.

          It’s a slippery slope though. As I had to tell a self-published author on my books blog this week (http://libdrone.info/2011/05/24/non-gatekept-it-does-not-elminate-the-need-for-editing/) if you skip the editor and the proof-reader you may well turn out an unreadable book. (By page 5 I desperately wanted a copy editor’s red pencil; by page 25 I simply had to set the book aside and stop trying to read it due to all of the spelling and usage errors a good copy editing would have caught and some style problems that any decent editor would have fixed.

          Sometimes at least, it seems to me, spelling Does still Count.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            Your post reminded me of the time I bought a self-published book as a way of saying “thank you” for a wonderful review an author wrote of mine. It turned out to be a tepid paraphrasing of common urban legends, and halfway through, we went from a comfortable “large print” to an “OMG, your font is going to walk off the page and eat Manhattan!” huge print. Seriously. Like, five words per page. I really, really wanted to like this book – I’d hoped I could leave a great review in return for the one this writer had given me. In the end, I heard my mother’s voice in my head: “If you can’t say something nice, just keep your mouth shut.” I chalked the cover price up to “sufficient thanks,” and moved on.

            It does no one any good not to have a gate-keeper. Frankly, I LIKE having editors who will keep me from making a complete fool of myself in public. If you cannot afford one, find a very literate friend who either loves you enough to put “keep you from making a fool of yourself” higher on the priorities than “build up a friend’s fragile ego at all costs” or doesn’t love you much at all, but can be induced to work for food, or something. Learn to LOVE the red pen – it has saved my bacon more than once. It’s the typos that slip through that haunt me in my sleep.

  56. Apart from what words are used in a specific page’s title and the headline, the most effective thing I’ve found are alt-tags on photos, graphics, etc. Not to be confused with a caption, which is also important.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      John, I have more fun with alt tags. I write them for humans. I don’t always use them strictly as the W3C intended, but I have fun with them.

      It makes me sad to know that unscrupulous marketers have made readers wary of all links, and 99% of people won’t even hover over them anymore, let alone click them.

      Mine are always hand-crafted for usefulness and/or humor. And so rarely ever noticed.

      I’m going off to have a good cry now. Thank you for commenting! Great suggestions – I really do think alt tags are one of those things people don’t want to spend time on, so they either skip them altogether or let something autogenerate them (and end up with something like “image1″, which is beyond useless). They’re not only good for SEO, but good for accessibility.

  57. Zombie Logic VS SEO and Social Media.

    This post probably belongs on Holly’s other thread also: “Failure to Plan, Planning to Fail: Why You Need a Social Media Plan” as well. Discussing SEO without the other is like talking about Laurel without Hardy. I have this aversion to following the herd–herd mentality is what I call Zombie Logic because it’s all about current buzzwords. Qualifier: I’ve read every entry on this thread as I’ve found it interesting and sensible… well, maybe I’ve missed reading a couple entries. I don’t think anyone here applies Zombie Logic in their endeavors but even the best of us can come close to fading in that direction if we’re not diligent.

    At my place of business I run into at least one person per week that has created a web-site, proudly edited meta-tags, alt tags and matched content with title and tag but can’t figure out why they receive almost zero traffic and inquiries from that site after investing real dollars and time in their creation–their google stats show about 3 milliseconds average for time on site.

    When I ask why they chose to create a site rather than use the free site that is offered by our company with expensive captive features and SEO taken care of for them, they tell me “I heard that you need your own site and URL to be successful.” I ask “How many prospects or clients have you friended on FaceBook, how many folks follow you on Twitter (although that’s not a fair question) and “Do you have textual conversations with prospects beyond your product offering?” , “Do you maintain a Blog?” They almost always answer negatively. The next question of course is…”So…how do you meet and interact with people?” You probably get my drift…

    That is what I call Zombie Logic. Focusing on a single set of processes via rumor, treating it as a plug and forget event and hoping for positive results. Just because a person designs and completes the structure of a plan, doesn’t mean that plan will succeed on its own without nurturing and tweaks. I haven’t read a zombie on this thread yet but, if you’ve ever watched Dawn of the Dead you understand that diligence is a must if we wish to avoid waking up with different appetites and abandoning personal ambition for primal need!

    I’m the IT Director for the largest independently owned Real Estate company in Southwest Florida–sounds impressive but it ain’t much when the Real Estate industry caves-in. I find it hard to determine who the biggest suckers in life are sometimes, Realtors or Bloggers–they share so much psychology:)

    P.S. Nur: The Zombie Apocalypse will occur on the third Sunday in June, 2052. I’ve given it much thought and I’m sure I am right.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You heard it here, first, folks – I trust Dave M. completely. In May, 2052, if I’m still here (which I very much doubt), I will sell all my worldly possessions and arm my minions with asbestos catsuits, silver knives, .45 caliber weapons, and lots of Bacardi 151 and Bic lighters (those will be standard issue Zombie defense equipment). Till then… ;)

      Never mind thinking “outside the box.” Think outside your own head. Think INSIDE your own head, for that matter. Oh, hell, just THINK. Brainstorm. Ask questions. Try something new and don’t be afraid to fail – best way I know of to learn things. Never gamble more than you can afford to lose, but don’t play it too safe, either.

      Dave, not everyone is so lucky as to have their very own Jimminy Cricket who occasionally reaches inside their head, grabs Prunebutt, and shames them into feeding what’s left of their Muse – or inspiration, or authenticity, or whatever you want to call it. Zombie behavior tends to kick in when you play it TOO safe, too conventional, and way too drab. Keep it up too long, and your head falls off.

  58. On the question of whether or not things that can not be quantified can have value to a business:

    I suppose I should mention that to an extent in this argument I am playing devil’s advocate. I think we agree, Holly, that quantifying friendship is “soul-less” but I am going to dispute your contention that all value is necessarily quantifiable in business.

    You mentioned goodwill. In accounting, “goodwill” is definitely a line item Most often the dollar figured assigned to goodwill is the premium an acquiring company paid for a business over and above it’s assets and revenues. Companies that have not been sold do sometimes maintain a “goodwill” asset account, although there is no generally accepted accounting principle for calculating goodwill– except for the acquisition premium as described above.

    If you’ve built a strong reputation for honesty, for example, your customers may be far more understanding if a snafu in your billing system causes everyone to be double-billed one month. If your customers believe you are honest and honorable, you would be far less likely to lose future business and generate way less bad word of mouth. And yet “reputation for honesty” will never appear on a balance sheet.

    Does that make senese?

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Absolutely makes sense – it’s that “reputation for honesty” that’s hard to measure, but it really does have a tangible value, as you say, when there’s a snafu. There’s got to be a huge cost, too, to reacquire it if lost.

      • mmmmmm. Is it “hard to measure” or is it _possible_ to measure that “reputation for honesty”?

        It actually took me a couple of tries to come up with this particular hypothetical case. I started to use a manager who is not especially efficient nor especially a genius but whose bubbly, cheerful personality and no non-sense matter of fact problem solving skills make her much loved by her team, even though their unit’s sales are nothing out of the ordinary. But it occurred to me that a human resources professional could quantify savings in turnover, absenteeism, shrink etc.

        I know you are very much correct that in the corporate world if it can’t be quantified it will probably Never be a consideration. And yet my gut insists that many important things quite defy quantification.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          That’s what I’m really asking here – is it POSSIBLE to measure, and is there anything of BUSINESS value that is not POSSIBLE to measure?

          It’s mental gymnastics. Intriguing to me, this morning – in that “If God is all-powerful, can God create a rock He can’t lift” sort of way.

  59. I’ve not eaten any Wheaties this morning, but I _am_ on my 4th or 5th cup of (e)COMMUNITYCO Community Coffee and Chicory. So I suppose I am up to a vigorous round of mental gymnastics.

    Honestly, I find myself wearied by all of the metrics obsessed chatter I have been hearing from Empire Avenue players lately. When I think about it, it seems to me that a “reputation for honesty” might possibly meet a CPA’s tests for an “intangible asset”, although most accountants Really don’t like assigning dollar values to intangible assets.

    And yet, I think most reasonable business people would agree there is real value in having a reputation for honesty. Many companies these days like to talk about “Core Values and Beliefs” and in many corporate cultures the CVB’s get almost as much play as profit and loss statements. And it does seem to me that by and large CVB’s defy quantification.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m not talking about $$, necessarily. Obviously, the accountants will want to translate any other metrics into $$. But on a more basic level, how would you measure “reputation for trust” so that you could determine what constituted an “increase” or a “decrease”?

      Say you sell widget A. Okay, maybe I don’t trust you – I don’t KNOW you. Or maybe I distrust you a bit on past purchases, but you happen to sell widget A for a really good price, and I need it, and I’m willing to gamble that widget A is pretty industry-standard and not likely to fail.

      How can you figure out if I trust you or not? How can you figure out if my experience with this purchase made me happier and increased my trust level – or at least didn’t damage it more?

  60. For every blogger that stays up late, there’s an understanding spouse or a blogger that is soon to be single. That’s my best guess as a reader without a google-metric-measurment. Most of us readers could care less about SEO metrics and we’re sick of hearing about LiLo but we respond to sincere online relationships between people.

    Nobody has mentioned relationships compared to how much time they spend online. I follow three blogs constantly and others when I remember, they’re eclectic blogs and the writers are fun–like a kegger back in the 70′s. Five nights out of seven I end up in bed with my Border Collie watching O’Reilly y 8:00pm and waiting for my wife, I can’t imagine a blogger’s schedule.

    My Favorite blogs are written by people that are not so much concerned with SEO, they’re just fun and interesting people:)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      What’s really fun is IM’ing your spouse who’s sitting at a desk in the same room as you, Dave. Googling for details and first-person video on news items while said spouse watches CNN. Married people and their kids all computing at the same time, in the same room, with the headphones on – occasionally looking up to grin and nod when one of them lets out a laugh.

      You need to read my blog in bed on your smartphone with the border collie while waiting on your wife. If I win this thing and buy the camera, I’ll take some photos of bacon and bones for your dog.

      • You’re a crack up Holly:) We were sitting around the pool tonight with iPads and laptops waiting for the spa to heat up and listening to 70′s music because hey–it’s Friday. Nobody acknowledged my excellent tacos but we were happy the wireless connection remained solid and we could chat on FB while 5 feet from one another as well as real time–this isn’t anything like the 80′s…

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Aww, Dave, I’m sure your tacos were fabulous! You’re a great cook. Only Scoutmaster I know with a convection oven in the glove compartment and a refrigerator in the console.

          What 70s music? And am I the only one who MISSES legwarmers?

          • The youngins are in bed…I kinda like leg warmers, I’m fixin to que up “Aerobicise” with Jane Fonda:)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            LOL!! Wouldn’t Flashdance be more fun?

  61. It still boils down to knowing why you are blogging to begin with. Blogging for business (to make money). Is a very different mindset than blogging in a “dear diary” context, or blogging as therapy, or as a way to keep in touch with friends, or blogging in hopes of “being discovered.”. None are wrong, and they are not mutually exclusive. But understanding why you blog is the fundamental question.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Seems like that should be obvious, doesn’t it? It’s actually harder for some of us to articulate than it should be. But that’s part of the goal setting and planning I talked about in my other entry, too.

      Maybe every blog should start with a sort of “mission statement.” Mine has evolved, though, over the years. It has never been a “dear diary” sort of thing (that’s what the pen and paper blank books are for, and maybe those should be kept under lock and key); it has never been about “making money online,” although, as an author, I’d love to sell some books that way (you know, come sample the wares – if my blog posts are entertaining, maybe you’ll take a chance on the books); it isn’t about “getting discovered,” although if I didn’t care about readers reading it, I’d just focus on the “dear diary” and the published books; and finally, it isn’t about therapy – although it is occasionally therapeutic.

      I started blogging before there was this concept of “blogging for money,” and before there was a burning need to have a purpose in it – let alone define it, state the mission, and make a plan. But the Internet has evolved and so do we, too.

    • Speaking just from my own experience, I can say that it can take years of hard blogging to figure out Why one is blogging in the first place. Sometimes it seems to me that people do too much “meta” thinking and worry too much about what it all means, when they could make a good deal more progress by diving in and trying to swim.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        So true. Now it feels like you, Dave, and Prunebutt are ganging up on me. ;)

        I’ve always said that writing about writing (or writing about writing about writing, if you really want to send your brain into an endless loop reminiscent of a dog chasing its own tail) is what writers do when they haven’t got a penworthy thought in their heads. It’s like the easy out for writer’s block. You wake up one morning and you go, “Oh, yeah!! Proper use of the semicolon!! Nobody gets that. We could write another sixteen thousand articles on proper comma usage and placement of the semicolon, and still they’d be asking for more. We can’t go wrong with this bestselling strategy!” And people usually prove them right on that. Because, you know, reading about writing about writing about writing is so much easier than actually writing about SOMETHING. And after a while of sitting around on your a** reading about writing and reading about writing about writing about writing, you really DON’T have an original thought left in your head to write about. So you pull out the old comma and semicolon, knowing that there are umpteen gazillion folks out there hungry to read about them…

        It’s enough to make an honest writer apply for a job at McDonald’s.

  62. I’ve always said that one should always write with the reader in mind rather than stacking the post with choice keywords for SEO purposes. There is no reason though why you can’t reach a happy medium having just the right amount of keywords without overdoing it so your readers will still enjoy your post.

    Rather than overdoing the keywords you’re a lot better off increasing your backlinks and using other ways of marketing your post, like social media ;)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      And commenting. Let’s not forget that. :)

      But seriously, I think we’re in violent agreement – it’s always going to be the reader first, for me. Now, if it serves the reader for me to help the search engine along, I’m fine with that.

      • Especially commenting Holly, you know how that is my favourite method of SEO.

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          It’s more fun for everyone when the comments are rolling in. I know. I need to make the rounds – I’ve had a rough year, and now things are picking up and getting exciting at work, so there just never seems time to be everywhere I want to be. But I’m going to make more of an effort, because it’s that real dialogue that makes any of it mean anything.

          • Yep. Sort of makes you wonder why so many bloggers don’t bother to interact with their readers or not bothering to socialise with other bloggers by joining in with others by leaving good comments on their blogs?

            Still, it does seem that more and more people are starting to realise the benefits of commenting and I reckon we’re helping them to discover that.

  63. Dearest Holly,

    You’ll always be the serf-like and dirty-haired girl catering to an imagined Fairy Godmother of your own creation.

    Your friends and readers could care less about your Alexa-Rank and Google-Enslavement. We just love you and reading your posts because it was you that wrote them.

    You could simply ask each of us to contribute a dollar towards your new camera and you’d never have to write about anything provocative or contestational (is that a word?), you could rely on friends for happy electronic presents:)

    …just trying to think outside the stats:)

    Dave

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You make me laugh. Even as you make me happily envision pitching a banana cream pie at you for calling me “smarmy,” “serf-like,” and “dirty-haired.” Prunebutt put you up to that? :)

      Gosh, asking for cash from friends would be gauche and ordinary and … cliche. And all of that is far, far worse than “smarmy,” “serf-like,” and “dirty-haired,” and only slightly up from “terminally boring.” God forbid.

      Just a couple more weeks, Dave. I swear there will be serious atonement…

      • …if someone actually kept a metirc on descriptive bad-girl terms, I’d have the large “L” emboidered on my cap for having mentioned three bad stereotypes.

        I miss your usual blogs–that’s Ms. Prunebutt talking:)

        SEO=0–Bloggers=1!

        That’s my enlightened opinion:)

      • “gauche, ordinary and cliche”

        Well, yeah. But it would put you in the company of pretty much all of the copy/paste social media experts ;)

  64. Holly Jahangiri says:

    My blog now ranks #1 for “feral lobsters.” Just thought y’all would want to know that.

    And I still find this obsession with “brain eating amoeba” disturbing (maybe only slightly MORE disturbing than the fact that my blog ranks so highly for that, too). They’re real, folks – beware, and wear noseplugs. No cannonballs and underwater somersaults in warm lake water, okay? Be safe this summer.

    • Feral lobsters?? Brain-eating amoebas?? Man, this SEO stuff begins to sound…dangerous.

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        …but interesting. You cannot deny that brain eating amoeba and feral lobsters are anything but boring.

        • Amoeba cysts are my specialty. Are we talking about the cystic stage or the trophozoite stages? Because honestly I think the amoeba belongs to the intestines and not the brain…LOL….

          I was just wondering how an amoeba can “eat” a brain…

          An amoeba of diverse ideas, so many you could not decide on what to write about, could “eat” your brain.

          Or perhaps a trophozoite of contrasting thoughts could also “eat” the last vestiges of an organized thought process and eschew it to oblivion.

          That is how I understand the concept of the brain-eating amoeba.

          Care to react on my comment?

        • I don’t know, Holly. (Inclined to think that maybe “interesting” is in the eye of the beholder.)

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            I have a morbid curiosity and sense of humor. I find them “interesting.” Until I’m out swimming in the lake with my kids…

  65. Holly Jahangiri says:

    Ah, you laugh, Jena, but N. Fowleri is a nasty little zombie, a brain-munching trophozoite, that crosses through nasal mucosa and into the brain by way of the olfactory nerve, wherein it basically digests the brain. Well, it causes primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Which is pretty much untreatable and leads to death within 1-12 days.

    http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/faqs.html
    http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/naegleria/biology.html

    Fortunately, it’s also quite rare – there have been 30 cases confirmed in the past 10 years. Still… eww. We’re having hot weather and a drought (risks are higher when the water’s over 80 degrees F and water levels are low). And school’s just let out – kids are heading to the lakes, the rivers, the pools, and summer camp.

    Remind me to get noseplugs for W.

    • I’m impressed Holly, you’re so well informed for a person in “Technology”.

      And I was thinking you were talking in metaphors and similes.

      I stand corrected and humbled…lol…and I thought I knew it all…he he he…

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        LOL!! None of us truly know it ALL, Jena. I take it you never read this post? http://jahangiri.us/new/2011/03/11/eve-to-adam-i-was-just-borrowing-the-rib-baby-honest/
        ;)

        For the rest of you, read http://jahangiri.us/new/health-fitness/perky-pincushions/ first – don’t ask me for the password. You can find it, if you WANT to.

        • I’m going there now, Holly. Just chilling out, before getting back to work, Because when I do, I can’t even sit down for a meal.

          Oh by the way. I have also some SEO pointers. Like select a good keyword (from adwords or do some research) It can be one word , but two or more words are recommended.

          The use the keyword/s in the title, at least 1% to 2% in the article. Use it in the first paragraph and the concluding paragraph to optimize it. This helped me get some readers to my post which I meant to be read. Lol…but sometimes, when the muse is raring to go, I don’t care much about keyword density.

          Hope this helps too.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            You work so hard, Jena. Take care of yourself, too. And yes, your tips are helpful. I actually have a couple of posts (no, Dave, probably not the ones you think are obvious) that are what I’d call deliberately and overly focused on SEO, just to see if they’d pass for my “normal” writing and as an experiment to see if they actually WORK to bring in more traffic, get more comments, keep more readers. (My bet is that the results will be mixed, and I wish I had a way of doing a survey without tipping people off.)

  66. Jena says “bloggers don’t need social media,” Alan says they do. Others say a person should have better content than the nightly news.

    Personally, I think the vaunted experts in our decade are a broken hallelujah–talented bloggers are filling the void nicely:)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      And I just say, “Use noseplugs.” :)

      Great content first. Not necessarily “better than the nightly news,” but full of personality and something to set it apart from all the rest.

      SEO techniques to help the search engines better serve the human searchers.

      And social media to let people know you’re real – to give that personal touch to the engraved invitation.

      Because great content is only great if there are readers to think it so. Or to hand out the noseplugs when it stinks or gets so hot and so deep that N. Fowleri smacks its little trophozoic lips in anticipation of munching what’s left of our brains.

      • I watched a missive on CNN today about cell phones causing cancer and they were all “use Bluetooth and don’t carry it on your belt, use a briefcase, OMG!” I flipped over to Fox and Dr. Manny was saying, “Relax, there’s no proven link by a large population yet.”

        If bloggers had a hair on their back they’d research and report about this–it’s a void and nobody is reporting the science–just the hype. Most bloggers don’t have the temerity to do so.

        So…pick a safe art subject because your opinion won’t matter a hundred years from now…

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Playing “choose your expert,” Dave? I’m surprised Faux doesn’t have you thinking the socialists caused the errant hair to sprout. All part of a plot to get national healthcare.

          I didn’t think bluetooth made it safer. I thought that just gave you cauliflower ear and blue teeth.

          What would constitute a “safe art subject”? I mean, seriously, it doesn’t get much scarier and unsafe than the art world. See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/3671180/Duchamps-Fountain-The-practical-joke-that-launched-an-artistic-revolution.html if you doubt me.

          Or maybe you meant we ought to blog about safe art – really – who knew?? http://www.securityproducts1.com/Safes/Safe%20Art.htm

          I know, I’m like that stupid Bing commercial where everyone’s talking gibberish from their search results rabbit hole.

          • Wow, that’s kinda harsh Holly. I’ve always read different folks and I’ve never pounded on anyone for their ideology.

            I’m just saying many bloggers tackle safe subjects for fear of controversy and become part of the miasma that has no opinion.

          • Holly Jahangiri says:

            :) I’m just teasing, Dave. Did you click the links? Seriously, who knew? Makes me want to run out and get a safe, just so I can decorate it. (Actually, I’m NOT teasing about that – the idea appeals to me the way hand-painting computer cases appealed to me 15 years ago.)

  67. I am amazed of the interaction in your post Holly. It’s a learning experience. I was thinking you could write a book about it. Just like what you did with your books, one I personally read “A Puppy is not a Guppy.” That book you wrote was one of the most interesting children’s books I have read for quite some time now. My grand kid still reads it now and then.

    Perhaps you could also write a book about “SEO for Dummies” like me? lol.

    I would love to read your book on short stories and poems. TC.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Surely someone’s written that title already, Jena?

      Someone needs to write on how to ask your doctor questions you haven’t even thought of, yet. ;)

      If my curiosity had more focused intensity, it might have led to some remarkable discovery or invention. As it is, I just know some incredibly appalling bits of trivia on lots of subjects.

    • “should make this into a book”. I think that’s a fantastic idea!

      • Holly Jahangiri says:

        But then, if I wrote the book, it would mean I’d thought of the questions… or maybe it’s just a book on doctor-patient syntax?

  68. This article gives me a new perspective about SEO. Great article Holly. More articles comming.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Raymund! And…thank you for the heads’ up? :) How many more? LOL

      Glad I could give you a new perspective on SEO. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision and forget there’s a world outside the tunnel.

  69. i think this is a great article – and useful as well! you always bring up new ideas about it!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thank you, Sapir. Which “new ideas” most appealed to you?

      • hi Holly, you said after we have written great content we have to get out there and promote it, “You have to leave a trail of breadcrumbs for searchers to follow, or to give them a little push to go to your site and not someone else’s.”
        most of the time i focus about the content only and forgot to promote it… – this is only one of the “new ideas” – so thank you!

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          Thank you, Sapir! I have a real need, sometimes, to get down to specifics – I guess so I know exactly what it is in what I write that appeals to readers, so I can do more of it. :) Thanks SO much for coming back to elaborate. That’s helpful to ME, too!

  70. Thanks for this awesome writeup. I am going to put them it practice and hope to see the results as soon as possible.
    Thanks once again.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      I’m not sure how to respond to that – but I’m glad you think it’s awesome. Seriously, though, do I look like Gloson? Or are you just giving me credit for having a tenth of that boy’s awesome brain-power? Did he send you here to read this? Gloson’s got social media talent coming out of his ears – and I can’t even tell if he’s trying or it just comes completely naturally to him, he’s that good.

  71. There are some tools that can be used for keyword research. I guess that’s where we have to focus and then the unique contents.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Well, I’d focus first on the unique contents – be sure you have something to say, and say it. Then tweak it to include some of those keywords, but don’t shove them in just for SEO’s sake.

  72. I don’t know what it is about SEO, Holly, that makes me want to grab my bottle of Tums!

    I get it but I don’t get it. What’s more, I don’t even focus on SEO in the least when I’m writing. I just write! :)

    Maybe I’m a weirdo and that’s okay. I focus more on writing clear (and hopefully helpful, entertaining, and enriching) content for my readers. Works for me!

    Melanie

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      When I was 16, my parents gave me a keychain that said, “I like you, you’re weird.” So, if you’re a weirdo, Melanie, you’re the best kind of weirdo. Your writing is informative AND entertaining, and you are genuine in your interactions with people – not at all smarmy or superficial. Maybe we really can “build it, and they will come,” but they won’t STAY and they won’t come BACK without what you do and make look so easy and natural. :)

      Yes – it does work for you.

      • Thanks for putting the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval on my weirdness, Holly — I love you for that!

        Talk about “informative”, “entertaining”, and “genuine” …

        That pretty much sums up this post! :)

        Write On!
        Melanie

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I can’t speak for Good Housekeeping (no, really, I can’t – my house is a mess!) but you have MY seal of approval, for what it’s worth!

          Thanks for the fun and laughs last night. I had to conk out early! If there were a prize for “night owl blog writer/commenter” you’d win it – hands down! ;)

          • I usually don’t “conk out” till around 3:00 A.M.

            It was tons of fun laughing up a storm with you last night! The later the hour, the sillier I get — you can count on that. :)

            Many of my blogging buddies have tried to award me the “night owl blog writer/commenter” award. Good to know there’s SOMETHING I can win. LOL!

  73. Sage advice.

    And you’re not weird; you’re gifted.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Why, thank you Thom! What a kind thing to say. Speaking of gifted, I think I could do with a little more presents of mind today…
      :)

      • If you had more, that would be like that “omnipresent” brain JC Superstar sang about?

        • Holly Jahangiri says:

          I’m going to have to look that one up. ;)

          But I can hum a few bars from BlogSpell… (Oh, don’t blame me – remember, Thom here made me think this up!)

          Readers, We Beseech Thee
          (to the tune of We Beseech Thee from Godspell – http://youtu.be/8CtevwhuPtE )

          Readers, hear thy bloggers’ call
          Come, we’ll fling our words to all
          Desperately confessing all 
          We beseech thee, read us! 
          Dreaming of our fortunes made 
          Into SEO have strayed 
          And repentence have delayed 

          We beseech thee, read us! 

          Come read about 
          Thoughts! 
          That brought our blogs to be 
          Come read about 
          Dreams! 
          Of dollar signs we see
          Come read about Caaaaaash! 
          That draws us lovingly 

          We beseech thee, read us! 

          Read! 
          And come to us for more.

          Comment! 
          We seek engagement, sure… 

          Sploggers! 
          We long to be made rich! 

          We beseech thee, click this! 

          Rate us! 
          Just click upon those stars!

          Share! 
          Tweet, share, and Digg us – see?

          Google! 
          We pray for PageRank, too 

          We beseech thee, hear us! 

          Come read about 
          Thoughts! 
          That brought our blogs to be 
          Come read about 
          Dreams! 
          Of dollar signs we see
          Come read about Cash! Cash!
          That draws us lovingly 

          We beseech thee, hear us! 

  74. Holly,
    Looks like I came late to the table, but I have to agree with you that content, relevant and readable, is what matters. Love your Blogspell bars under a comment. Those could make a great blog post, Never read anything like them.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      You’re not too late, Penelope! Thanks! Oh, I had fun writing that “Blogspell” satire – I may have to post them on my own blog, one of these days. Did you know the song, or click the link? You can even sing along! Bloggy Karaoke!

  75. I enjoyed this post, Holly. Very to the point, and makes sense in most areas. A lot of attention are given to various site promotion techniques yet one critical aspect is often overlooked, passion. I find that most of the blogs I enjoyed are the ones that strike a chord with me, ones that hit home rather than those populated with generic ‘heard that before’ lines. Tone is also a valid point, and it plays a key role in writing. Applying the appropriate tone in your blogs gives it personality and makes it distinctly your own. By the way, I 100% agree with Jena Isle, write a book!

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Hi, Roro!

      Jena’s teasing – she knows I’ve written books, but the books I write on my own time are mostly fiction and children’s books. In fact, I’m working on a new one now.

      Well…

      I’ll think about it. I do appreciate your encouragement! Thanks!

  76. I enjoyed this post, Holly. Very to the point, and makes sense in most areas. A lot of attention are given to various site promotion techniques yet one critical aspect is often overlooked, passion. I find that most of the blogs I enjoyed are the ones that strike a chord with me, ones that hit home rather than those populated with generic ‘heard that before’ lines. Tone is also a valid point, and it plays a key role in writing. Applying the appropriate tone in your blogs gives it personality and makes it distinctly your own. By the way, I 100% agree with Jena Isle, write a book!

  77. Hope a lot will follow your advice Holly. A lot of people aim on impressing Google first than the visitors. Though Google would accept their site, their sites doesn’t attract return visitors. You are right that people could feel if you put an effort in making your site’s content. A not properly made content would definitely discourage your visitors. I notice that most aim on quantity rather than quality. I’m trying to be different and your article has added to my reasons why.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Great, Steven – I’m glad to hear I could reinforce the idea that quality should come before quantity! :) I can’t really imagine that it does anyone much good in the long term to have huge traffic numbers but also huge bounce and no click-throughs or conversions.

  78. I’m happy to see advice about good SEO techniques instead of tips that seem more like how to trick your way into better SEO. It really does come down to the content. You want content that people will share. Plus crawlers can tell when there’s spammy or not so good content and they could dock you for it.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Exactly! You can obviously have both; I just see too much focus on the SEO (which ideally does include clear, interesting, relevant content) and not enough on creating that clear, interesting, relevant content. And I’m really sick of ads for things that scrape the entire web, look for keywords, swizzle other people’s work, and spit out “unique articles.”

  79. SEO is definitely not a waste of time… in fact the traffic quality is very good (say, compared to Facebook ads). I’ll be doing this for the long term. :)

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Oh, it’s not a waste of time, but it’s like editing. It should be the polish, not the furniture. Just as a good edit is no fix for bad writing, good SEO techniques are no fix for uninteresting writing that was clearly done to court a search engine rather than a human reader. Search engines don’t read, they don’t browse other posts, they don’t click on anything, and they never buy stuff.

  80. I’ve seen and read how SEO works for some and not for others. I think it depends on what you’re looking for out of your blog and your writing. Do you want to just spread useful knowledge? Or make money out of the blog? Nice article to get writers thinking.

  81. Being a newbie in WordPress, I need to know which SEO plugins can help me comprehensively or is it all the same??

  82. I use default Thesis Seo, to reduce plugins count.

  83. Helen Chris says:

    Now, I am more familiar with SEO and how important it is…Great post!!

  84. Wow! This article has a long comment thread. Have you won your contest already? Anyways, thanks for the keyword tip I love it

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Adelaine, I came in third – and yes, I won enough to get the camera I wanted, in time for vacation! :) Hajra and Melanie rightfully beat me for first and second place, but it was a worthy competition!

      You’re welcome for the keyword tip. :) Hope it works well for you!

  85. Well i really got to learn more about blogging hope you could be my mentor. Thanks for a very precise tips. Hope to hear from you soon.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Why not? C’mon over to my blog and send me an email, Annagirl – let me know what your biggest challenges are. Your blog is great – took me a minute to FIND it, but it’s a must for Angry Birds fanatics.

  86. Right, we just have to focus on the content of our website if we really want o optimize. It’s the most effective way to bring traffic.

  87. Most bloggers indeed use the right keywords for SEO purposes. But somehow quality content is REALLY BEING COMPROMISED, isn’t Holly? I’ve been searching for good blogs and some just write contents that are so general (even plagiarized). This post is really being straightforward to the most troublesome concern in the blogosphere — worthy content. I hope most bloggers were like you. I’m not bluffing.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      Thanks, Samuel. I think most HUMAN readers feel that way. Who wants to read the same ol’ stuff everywhere? Who wants to read unoriginal fluff? One thing people don’t realize about some of the “respun” content is that if there’s sufficient recognizable phrasing in it, without proper permissions and citations, it could still be a copyright violation (look up “derivative work”). I’ve had web sites shut down for complete gobbledygook that contained bits that were obviously lifted from my writing and others’. (Iit’s really bad when it contains your name, or is respun from someone’s account of, say, the death of their child and the grieving process – you want to look like pond scum? Respin THAT for profits on a splog.)

  88. Great addition to those “how to” SEO blogs that give tricks of the trade but don’t encourage a solid foundation of sincere content. There is a healthy balance of quality and optimization for any page.

  89. Great advice for building a social media campaign too!

  90. Optimizing blogs is really worth it. Out of all the millions of blogs out there, only few have the right content which can really entertain readers on different marketing levels.

  91. Very informative and straightforward Holli. It is really true that SEO is needed to get more readers and eventually get more profit out of the blog. But only few blogs right really good content though. Like this blog.

  92. As what I’ve observed, most blogs are falling of the PR ladder once they don’t make updates on their blogs for more than a month or so. I’ve been checking on my favorite blog sites that aren’t updated and I found this out.

  93. Nice post Holly. Keeping the PR high of a blog is really tasking but rewarding too. it opens up to new business opportunities. It is always good to make new good content at least once a week.

  94. Before, I really don’t know the importance of SEO in online marketing until I read post like this.But there are still great factors underlying the effectiveness of SEO . Since reading blog like this, it slowly dawned on me that net marketing is not an overnight success, it takes a constant SEO, updating and innovations of ides, but if you are settled with this things then go on and furnish what you got. This is a great business in todays era.

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      SEO is important, but it is like accessorizing – it’s not the whole outfit. It cannot make an ugly outfit attractive, but it can make an attractive outfit outstanding.

  95. The publish is designed in very a great manner also it entails many helpful information for me personally. I’m pleased to find your distinguished way with words the publish. You now allow me to comprehend and implement the idea. Appreciate the publish.

  96. wow…thanks for this great idea, instead of looking for clever SEO tricks, i think it would easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills…

  97. Hotels in Edinburgh says:

    Great advise, I hate SEO

  98. If you’ve built a strong reputation for honesty, for example, your customers may be far more understanding if a snafu in your billing system causes everyone to be double-billed one month. If your customers believe you are honest and honorable, you would be far less likely to lose future business and generate way less bad word of mouth. And yet “reputation for honesty” will never appear on a balance sheet. | :P

    • Holly Jahangiri says:

      That is SO true!!

      Recently, I’ve been involved in several discussions on “How to build trust” and I’m convinced there really is only one way: Be trustworthy. Trust is built on consistent, trustworthy ACTIONS over time. You can stand there and say “trust me” until you turn purple and your head explodes – it has no effect on smart people. But if you consistently build a strong reputation for doing what you say you’ll do and dealing honestly with people, THEY will tell others.

      Paying people to tell others you’re trustworthy is the opposite of that behavior, by the way. :)

  99. conan0506 says:

    While it is not bad to put ample effort on it, concentrating on optimizing content for search engines with no value to real people won’t be worth the salt. | :P

  100. Wow! that’s really great Holly! :) I’ve always read different folks and I’ve never pounded on anyone for their ideology. I’m just saying many bloggers tackle safe subjects for fear of controversy and become part of the miasma that has no opinion.

    • And that really adds nothing new to the conversation – just “playing it safe” rarely lets much personality shine through. It rarely gives readers a real chance to connect. I’m lucky – when I am tempted to play it safe, I have readers who will pound on ME until I inject a bit more of myself into the work. ;) Until a blogger puts his own touch on the subject – and it needn’t be OFFENSIVE or anything, just needs to be real and personal – it’s just more noise in the noise:signal ratio, isn’t it?

  101. Thanks for sharing. Now, I am more familiar with SEO and how important it is…Very nice blog post.

  102. Holly Jahangiri, aloha!

    I’m glad that you made a blog about SEO, you made me had a clear overview about Search Engine Optimization. Thanks for your knowledge and kind words.

  103. Uttam Gomez says:

    I was not sure about which website to confirm and then I saw your blog and it really
    proved to be helpful to me. The content is great and easy to apply. Please post some more
    topics related to it.

  104. Holly, wow this post is really interesting and just look at all the threads! amazing…great job!

  105. Daisy Laborda says:

    In the beginning was the word .but if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it really make the sound of one hand clapping? Of course content is key but if a site isn’t architect for search engine visibility, no one will know about the content. Today no one would know about the bible, much less quote it to their heart’s content, if Google couldn’t find it.

  106. Delwar Hosain says:

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

    • Delwar, I’m not sure what’s unclear about that paragraph – what I’m saying is that good content most likely has good, natural SEO attributes without being contorted by artificial attempts at SEO. I don’t mean to imply that GOOD SEO techniques are useless – quite the contrary. But if more bloggers would spend more time simply writing interesting, engaging posts, traffic should flow their way. If they write primarily for Google, eventually Google’s the only reader they’ll manage to hang onto – that’s my OPINION. ;)

  107. I just put on my user hat and ask, if I wanted to FIND this information, what words would I enter into search. She gave me a look of utter disgust and walked off shaking her head. Still makes me laugh.

  108. I don’t think my tips are going to threaten SEO professionals everywhere, any more than self-editing tips have driven real, professional editors out of a job. It really just makes their job easier

  109. Hello. I wanted to give you a note to verbalize my thankfulness. I have been watching your blog posts for a month and have got a ton of excellent tips and appreciated the way you have built your web site. I’m going to make my blog however I feel it is too general and I need to concentrate more on particular issues.

  110. Jass marie says:

    I agree with you and the fact that writing great content in itself is already optimizing for search engines is what I think many people fail to understand. Optimized content but with little or no value will just get your blog or website quickly marked by users to never visit again.

  111. Somiron Nesa says:

    Good and very informative post. I will come back to your blog regularly. One thing: I do
    not exactly know what do you mean in the second paragraph. Could you please explain
    your opinion?

  112. What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over
    on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of
    emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young
    people today we have grown up with computers, but it’s easy to forget that even people
    just a few years older have not! Really good post! :)

    • Oh, Mish Dish, how sweet of you to lump me in with “young people today.” Technically, I’m a baby boomer, but my middle school had a PDP-11 and I was probably among the first to play with a TRS-80. I’ve been “online” since before the Internet was public. It just depends on your interest level; I know plenty of young people today who have grown up with computers, but have little interest in them and don’t know how to do much more than type a term paper and Google “wikipedia.” Like you, though, I tend to underestimate the power and popularity of the “simple” posts.

      • Really? How you were online before Internet was public? Yeah, I got computer and Internet before it was common here, in INDIA. Till that time, you might be one of the top bloggers. Isn’t it?

        • You’re depressing me, now.

          I started to comment, and realized I was online long before you were BORN, Abhi. Have you ever heard of Compuserve (I was online there in 1981); GEnie (I was a SysOp there from about 1989-1994); or NVN (Forum Manager and PM from 1993-1994)? How about AOL or Prodigy? I remember when they were started. And I hung out on any number of local Bulletin Boards (BBS’s) in between. My use of the Internet predates graphical browsers – ever used Lynx? Telnet? :)

          Okay, I need more coffee now. Thanks for making me feel so OLD.

  113. I think connectedness may be the fastest way to understanding, peace, and collaboration between people all over the world. Another topic for another time, perhaps!

  114. Rajesh Pande says:

    What a brilliant post. You should do a series! :)I did a sort of blogging for dummies over
    on one of the craft forums and I thought it was too simple for them, but the amount of
    emails I got asking questions just like what you addressed was unbelievable. As young
    people today we have grown up with computers, but it’s easy to forget that even people
    just a few years older have not! Really good post! :)

    • Mish Dish – you changed your name!! Are tatts now considered a “craft”? (I could see that, if you were referring to temporary tatts.)

      You know, seriously, if you’re going to comment TWICE on the same blog post, you might want to copy/paste a different comment. This is just too obvious, coming right on the heels of the other, don’t you think?

  115. Jagir Hosain says:

    Pretty good post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be coming back and I hope you post again soon.

  116. Search Engine optimization is a great technique for online business. It will increase your site traffic and will have a bigger chance of getting a sale online. It is difficult especially for starters however in the long run, you will learn the workaround and everything will come easy.

  117. brianna jane says:

    wow… i love it your content..i enjoyed reading this… and i can’t imagine the thread look like this… you’re a great writter Jahangiri. thanks to you.

  118. Roosevelt Rusley says:

    Internet is not stable so different SEO techniques must be shown and applied! I know how SEO works and it’s the only way to make your business be successful!

  119. Julie Bell says:

    I really loved this post. You write about this topic very well. I really like your blog and I
    will definitely bookmark it! Keep up the super posts!

  120. oohh i like this post, the topic is very interesting. i need to know more about SEO and this answers my questions. thanks for posting!

  121. Pretty good post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed
    reading your blog posts. Any way I’ll be coming back and I hope you post again soon.

  122. For Google is now the most important for the quality content get better search results.

  123. This is really one of the good posts here. SEO what? Well, it is simply just a process of making websites a search engine friendly.

    And how we do it? use advance SEO techniques. Thanks Holly for this wonderful post from you. Keisha you are great! Wish you more success.

  124. The BEST line in this article was – “Instead of looking for clever tricks to make money online, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?”
    That really makes sense. I’m doing this only, you know. As you always say, there are much easier ways to earn money than ads on a blog. But in latest dictionary of blogosphere, new meaning of blogging is “Earning money online”, I think.

    Awesome pdf you shared.

    I don’t worry much about SEO, but it doesn’t mean I don’t care.

    Finally, after a long, I got an article about SEO which is different from previously written SEO article.

    Thanks for sharing, Holly.

  125. nikkilao says:

    I am new with seo things. Because of this article i am blessed to be informed on some certain thing i need i know. thanks for the info.

  126. Awesome article and well explained. I always prefer to maintain keyword density in between 2% and 4%. It works well for me

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  14. BizSugar.com says:

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    Instead of looking for clever SEO tricks, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?…

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    Search Engine Optimization? SEO What?…

    Instead of looking for clever SEO tricks, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?…

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    Search Engine Optimization? SEO What?…

    Instead of looking for clever SEO tricks, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?…

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    Search Engine Optimization? SEO What?…

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    Search Engine Optimization? SEO What?…

    Instead of looking for clever SEO tricks, wouldn’t it be easier and better to concentrate on developing clear writing and communications skills?…

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