SEO has become something of a buzz word in recent years, with small business owners and amateur bloggers alike agonizing over the minutiae of how to appeal to search engines’ complex and ever-changing algorithms. But is it really necessary? All over the world, bloggers who write on a huge variety of subjects increasingly find that they have one thing in common… The fun is slowly draining out of writing. Not because they’ve lost their passion for their chosen subject, nor has their writing talent diminished… It’s because they’ve had to teach themselves to write in a whole new way, tweaking their content using plugins like Yoast to make their content more appealing to search engine crawlers, sometimes at the expense of how appealing it is to their loyal readers.
That’s not to say that SEO plugins are necessarily a bad thing; Yoast, in particular, is good for helping us to make our content easier on the eye, and mend bad habits like overly long sentences or over-reliance on passive voice. But the truth is that while we all may want to expand our reach, gain more loyal followers and ultimately make more money from our blogs, SEO really isn’t all that important for bloggers. Here’s why…
Most of your reach comes from direct traffic and social shares
Reach is important, sure but if you’ve been blogging for some time it’s likely that most of your following didn’t come from search engine queries. Go ahead and ask some of your most loyal followers? Most of the time, a blog’s following comes either from social media shares or direct traffic from those who check it regularly for updates. Meaningful engagement tends to come from within a community of fellow bloggers and/ or enthusiasts of your chosen subject.
This is the kind of engagement that bloggers need. It’s quality engagement and means that people actually read, enjoy and engage with what you write. You’re not writing content just to appease capricious search engines.
It can do your blog more harm than good
If you choose to write from an SEO perspective, it can end up doing more harm than good, especially if you’re unaccustomed to writing for SEO. You may find yourself engaging in bad habits like keyword stuffing which can make your content flow less naturally and seem less like it was written by a passionate human being and more like it was written by a robot. You may alienate yourself from other blogs and websites with your endless requests for backlinks.
All this leads to your blog becoming, well, not your blog any more. Your loyal and dedicated following checks in with your blog every day because they enjoy your unique perspective and your idiosyncratic writing style. You wouldn’t want to rob them of that, would you?
If you are familiar with SEO and blogging as a collective, you’re probably also familiar with the concept of DA (domain authority) and how increasing it is seen as the ultimate goal amongst bloggers. MOZ actually wrote an insightful blog post on how to increase your domain authority which gives some insider tips on what to do, and more importantly, what not to do.
It makes writing WAY less fun!
Let’s not forget what brought us all to blogging in the first place… the sheer and unadulterated pleasure of writing. Whether we’re writing lengthy online essays on our favourite books, films or video games, whether we’re blogging to gain traction as social media influencers or whether we’re blogging simply to share our witty and insightful day-to-day musings blogging is supposed to be fun. And there’s absolutely nothing fun about picking your blog posts apart, slowly sapping all of the character and charm out of your work just to make it more appealing to search engines.
Trying to SEO-ize your blog can not only make blogging seem dull and arduous, it can also make writing a single post a whole lot more time consuming.
SEO was never the domain of bloggers anyway
There’s a universe of difference between blogging for business and blogging because that’s where your true passion lies. The line between business and blog is admittedly a blurry one, especially when one starts to monetize and draw income from one’s blog. But business people who blog as a means of content marketing need to worry about SEO while bloggers who hope to make money from their blogs need not.
Your average small business has legions of competitors in their locality all trying to reach the same customers. For them, SEO means the difference between a would-be customer choosing their business or their competitors’. Bloggers are rarely in such direct competition with one another.
So, if you’ve spent months or even years second guessing your every sentence because you’re worried that it’s not SEO friendly enough, let all of your worries melt away. SEO is not important for your blog. What is important is ensuring that you remain in love with writing and bringing your readers the content they enjoy!