I Threw SEO to the Wind

Editor’s Note: I discovered Kiesha somewhere on the social web and was really impressed with her writing ability – I emailed her asking for a guest post and she emailed me back, correcting one of my spelling mistakes. I was sold. Listen carefully!…

seo-1999Could my Christian blog really make it?

I’m sure SEO experts all around will surely sneer and turn their noses up at this one. Let them, it will only make those nose crumbs more visible. (Will someone please hand that guy a tissue already?)

When I started my Christian Blog eleven months ago, I did all the research I could and learned all I could learn about blogging and how to get readers and what not. I downloaded and read every ebook I could get my mouse to click on, and when I finally got to a point where the information became repetitive, I realized that I had a firm enough grasp to dive in, set up my blog and start writing.

I knew the rules, use your keywords, keywords, blah blah blah… but when I started writing I found the rules too constricting; too creativity sapping; too paralyzing. I didn’t feel like writing a post about the least competitve keywords with the highest search volume – so I didn’t. I tried, but it was so uninspiring. It made writing feel like a drag. Oh well, I guess the search engines wouldn’t be stopping by my spot.

Call it naivete, ignorance or flatout stupidity – whichever you like best (it won’t hurt my feelings, I promise), but this time last year, I couldn’t tell blogging from a whole in the ozone layer – but as I began to navigate through the blogosphere, I learned some very valuable lessons about blogging (and life).

Truthfully, what I’ve learned from blogging has far out weighed my feeble earnings. I’ve learned that persistence and perseverence pays off in the long run and I’ve learned a valuable life lesson – to make real connections with people, you’ve got to be willing to help and offer something of value. I learned that part the hard way – it really didn’t make any sense, that’s how things work in the offline world – why did I think it would be any different online?

That part of what I learned didn’t come from any of the hundreds of ebooks and reports I had read about blogging – it came from actual experience. It came from two very kind and loving people who decided to reach out to me and help me for no apparent reason. I didn’t have anything to give them in return, yet they went out of their way to Tweet my posts, to comment, to follow me on Twitter and become great inspirations to me.

Blogging also taught me to believe in my writing gift and utilize all the other talents God has given me to the fullest.

Blogging taught me that, while it does take a deep passion to undertake, the reward possiblities are infinite.

So I just decided to write the best content I could, in spite of the search engines – and somehow (Divine intervention, I believe), people from all corners of the world began to trickle on to my site. Even if Google wasn’t going to cooperate, there were infinite ways to get traffic.

This is what I did:

I started following and posting authentic comments on some high traffic/high ranking blogs.
I increased my following and began engaging others on Twitter.
I wrote guest posts.
I helped others by retweeting and promoting their blog posts.
I set some goals for everyday, and I don’t quit until I at least get close.
I wrote and wrote some more…every day, even if only a little.

But the greatest thing I did for my blog, was this: I began to allow others to see me in my writing. I often reluctantly reveal my flaws and share my unpleasant experiences with others so that they might benefit from what I’ve gone through.

Blogging has taught me to take what I learn and share it with others. I’ve come to realize that is my responsbility to do so. Just like you – I have countless of unique experiences that have taught me things that would benefit others to know as well. It makes those hard-learned lessons really mean something – I didn’t go through those trials for nothing – I went through them so that someone else might have an opportunity to change their life for the better. Use your unique experiences to your advantage to create valuable content.

That’s what valuable content is – content that makes life better for others in some way. It’s the kind that uplifts and encourages; that teaches and inspires; that provokes thoughts and shapes thinking. It’s the kind that can break through search engine barriers.

To wrap this up and to clarify things – I do take steps to optimize my site for search engines – I use the All-in-Seo plug-in for Wordpress – but optimization is what I do last – after I’ve already written my content. I use Google’s keyword tool, enter my title or potential tags, and then I search to find a keyword phrase that best fits with what I’ve already written. I look for keywords that have at least 500 Global Monthly Search Volume. If I find something that won’t ruin what I’m going for – I use it, if I don’t find anything, then I go with what I had originally. The point is, I write quality content first, then I go back and optimize whenever possible. SEO shouldn’t rule what I write – benefiting people should.

Kiesha is the author of WeBlogBetter and Christian Blog: Highly Favored. She’s a writing instructor, writer/editor, and blog consultant for small business owners. If you’d like to know more, read her extended bio. Connect with her on Twitter and subscribe to Weblogbetter for blogging tips & tricks.

 

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