In search of the holy grail of blogging (search engine optimization), I employed techniques suggested by the experts and, voila! I:
- Decreased my bounce rate
- Increased my stickiness
- Increased my unique page visits
- Achieved a better goal conversation rate (more on that later since I'm not converting anything to sales)
- Got more subscribers
- Got a higher Google Page ranking
- moved up in the Google search results
So what's the problem?
Sigh. I killed my joy of writing, I left my own goals (not Googles) in the dust.
First, I narrowed my focus. My analysis showed most visitors were coming to read technical articles on accounting and compliance. I added more paths:
- from these frequently visited pages to other similar articles
- from the home page to a directory of similar articles
- from the home page to specific follow-up pieces
Second, I changed my headlines. I saw this coming back in April 2006 (ironically the month I wrote my first post) when I read a New York Times article "This Boring Article is Written for Google". As a writer (or wannabe), the crafting of a punchy headline is half of the fun or writing the story. SEO killed that. The NYT article defined the difference as witty vs. literal. Who wants to read literal? For that matter, who wants to write literal. Witty was always my writing goal, but no more. What was the title I wanted to use? "What if you gave a blog and nobody came?".
Apparently the heading wasn't enough, the search engines scan the first line for similar keywords, to avoid false leads. Thus my unaesthetic "double headline". The more the keywords appeared in the subsequent text the better. Enter redundancy. For example it would be good to mention here that SEO is killing my nonprofit blogging (sigh).
Oh, what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to...
Third, links were a problem. external links send readers away. I can't have that! Remove the links to your favs? Enter the exchange of friendship and community for self-interest. I changed my links from my friends in the blogosphere to internal links to my own posts. Whoo hooo. Way to encourage a dialog.
Then again, how do you have a dialog if you have no readers?
Conclusion? The jury's still out. The challenge is clear. We can't let little bots of code define our agenda, we can't let the limitations of programming reduce our writing to the lowest common denominator... We can't. But what's the alternative?
Read more on frustrations with SEO: I will not blog about blogging
Technorati Tags: NPTech, Blogging, SEO,Search Engine Optimization,Nonprofit