A fellow blogger who is taking a digital marketing course was recently told that she needs to write more ‘how to’ posts for SEO purposes. That’s the sort of content that does well in search results, the teachers argued, so that’s what bloggers should be writing.
So, as a digital marketing professional and fellow blogger, I figured I’d write a how to post about how to not give a shit about SEO.
Write like a human
Don’t write for Yoast or any other SEO plugin. Yoast isn’t going to be reading your post – people are.
If you use common sense, your post will probably be pretty SEO-friendly anyway. Choose a descriptive title. Write a good meta description. Use keywords that are relevant to your topic. Link to other relevant content on your own site and other sites. Name your images sensibly and add alt tags.
Most importantly, write content that is engaging. If your content is good, people will want to share it and link to it, which will naturally help your search engine ranking.
Not all traffic is created equal
Getting traffic to your site doesn’t mean much if it’s the wrong sort of traffic.
Unicorns are cool now, right? Apparently you can even get a unicorn burger now. I could have stuck ‘unicorn’ in the title of this post and littered the body text with more ‘unicorns’ in order to try to capitalise on this trend of making things look like a 6-year-old’s fairy princess fantasy has vomited all over them.
That might have brought some unicorn-mad people to this post, but they wouldn’t read it. They would leave immediately once they realised that there’s no unicorn fun to be had here and never come back. Those extra page views would essentially be meaningless.
Don’t waste your time writing posts that might bring in a high volume of traffic but generate little engagement. Focus on writing content that people will actually want to read – the kind of stuff that encourages them to share your posts and keeps coming back for more.
Search traffic isn’t everything
How much of your traffic comes from organic search anyway? For me, it’s about 20%. Most of my traffic comes from social media, even though I’m really crap at it. I imagine it’s even higher for bloggers who actually put a bit of effort into their social strategy, rather than saying, “Oh yeah, it’s been about three weeks since I’ve posted on Instagram. Maybe I should put up a picture of the back of my kid’s head again or something.”
Write about what you love
None of us got into blogging because we wanted to rank on the first page of Google search results. We started because we had something to say about something we care about.
If you love how to posts and you know how to do lots of useful things, then by all means, publish as many as you want. There’s nothing wrong with how to guides. I could actually use one on how to remind your almost two-year-old that sleeping in their own bed is super fun, if you’ve got one.
But if you find them boring and prefer to write less-than-useful posts about things like toddler parodies of folk songs and robot babies, then publish your weird content to heart’s content. Who needs another ‘how to pack your hospital bag’ post anyway?