SEO is Not a Magic Bullet: Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy

July 9, 2007

SEO – search engine optimization – has been a hot topic in the blogosphere for quite a while, and while I’ve addressed the topic in reasonable detail on my other blog, I feel the need to share (read: rant about) a few things here.  A caveat – I’m not discounting the value of SEO when it comes to setting up your site/blog (wordpress tends to be fairly well optimized, actually), and using keywords in the titles of posts can be very helpful too.

However, some bloggers and people who set up a website seem think that SEO is some kind of magic bullet that will get them millions of hits and tons of business overnight.  I think we can all agree that it is not that.  There is no secret google juice that all SEO consultants have the recipe for.  Also, writing a good blog is tough work that requires some serious commitment and follow-through.

The quantity and quality of incoming links matters the most – in that sense, the web is a meritocracy.  Search engines like the sites that other people like.  Of course, there are plenty of black hat SEO techniques that you could learn and use to trick the engines if you were so inclined, but that could result in being banned and hey, there’s always that whole karma thing.  Besides, don’t you want readers to come to your site because it benefits them in some way? 

Not all SEO is evil and sneaky, though.  SEOmoz, one of the leading SEO sites, has a list of 21 tactics to increase blog traffic for those of you who are interested in learning more about the myriad ways to promote your blog/website and get your name out there.

Which brings me right around to my main point – popular sites generally get that way because they provide their readers with value in some way, whether is it a useful how-to, something that improves their lives, or simply by making them smile with a funny post or some beautiful images.  Even a list of valuable links can get people bookmarking your page and linking back.

Pardon my language here, but all the SEO tricks in the world can’t help you if your content sucks.  Using SEO techniques on bad content, particularly on a blog, is like gilding a turd.  No matter much effort and money you put into optimizing your content – your product – if your product sucks, people won’t buy it in a big way no matter how much effort you put into it.  You might get some readers, but they won’t stick around or subscribe – and aren’t repeat visitors generally the point?

Also, linking out matters, essentially because you have to give some to get some.  You’ll have a hard time making other bloggers and site owners aware of you without linking out all (the bloggers you link to can then find you through their trackbacks, technorati or google’s blogsearch tool too).  Search engines measure a site’s popularity and the quantity and quality of incoming links – basically, if other sites like you the search engines will like you too. 

Still not buying it?  I’ll give you a direct example of how a good post got me a high quality incoming link.  Two days ago, I wrote a response to Shel Israel’s interview with Doc Searls for his SAP Global Survey project (which he has since made open source, so everyone can take the survey and share their results), and then Doc linked to my post on his blog.  Granted, one link is not going to make you an A-lister overnight, but who said blogging was easy?


13 Responses to “SEO is Not a Magic Bullet: Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy”

  1. […] SEO – search engine optimization -has been a hot topic in the blogosphere for quite a while, and while I’ve Read full story… […]

  2. Paris Parfait said

    Such an interesting post. I’d never thought much about the search engine optimization issue. But I know from experience that getting a post linked on a big news website can bring a hit per minute for two to three days. Thanks for the nod!

  3. Thank you so much for citing my blog as one that has beautiful images. I am passionate about beauty in all its forms and love to share that on my blog:-)

  4. […] Search Optimization – Search Optimization Blog Write for Your Visitors, Not for Google – SEO Only SEO is Not a Magic Bullet: Bloggin’ Ain’t Easy – […]

  5. Jacqueline Zenn said

    Maryam and ParisParfait, thanks for having such great blogs with beautiful images – yours were the first two that popped into my head when I thought “okay, now which blogs always have great visuals”.

  6. You’re so sweet. And Tara and I are friends and have met in the real as well as cyber-world!

  7. […] alone will not result in success (no matter what some search engine marketers will tell you).  It’s not a magic bullet.  Yes, SEO will help get readers to your website, but if you don’t provide […]

  8. […] mainstream media is saying?  Do you disagree with the blogging majority?  For instance, I think SEO is a bit overrated and that sometimes, personal branding misses the point entirely – and those are two of my more […]

  9. […] See this post for more of my thoughts on the subject (and tons of interesting links).  Posted by Jacqueline Zenn Filed in Blogging, General, Style, Writers ·Tags: Blogging, copyblogger, google, linking, search engine optimization, SEO, traffic […]

  10. Steve said

    I think the visuals are key when you are blogging. I like to embed videos too.

  11. seo is definitely one of the hottest topic and is used everywhere in the internet marketing.All these seo strategies provide finally potential links to our site consequently quality to our web page.

  12. […] equivalent of the people who make irrelevant comments on popular blogs just to drop their link.  Like I’ve said before, focus on adding value or creating something interesting first – because it doesn’t matter […]

  13. Mark said

    Blooging is a day job, lots of work to push to the forefront your labor of love. Thanks for the great stories

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