If I were you, I wouldn’t even be reading this post. It’s about Search Engine Optimization—a topic that makes my eyes glaze over, makes my mind wander. I’d just move on to the next blogpost appearing in my reader.
Blogging is my hobby—a multistage hobby that leaves me satisfied when I complete each part. I enjoy the writing: fitting words and stories together in ways that compel others to keep reading. Often, I don’t know what I’m writing about until I’m done. The topic morphs as the words flow out. Usually I’m surprised by the finished product. Writing helps me learn about myself.
I enjoy posting to my blog: I get a rush of satisfaction from completing a task, finishing something. I never get this feeling at work; financial management is an endless series of monthly cycles. As I close a month, I’m already deep into the next month. I’m never done. I don’t get closure from home-chores either. Whenever I start the dishwasher, one of my kids inevitably brings a water glass from their bedroom, and the unwashed dish pile begins to grow anew.
And I love watching my blog stats. The likes, the comments, the follows. This, for me, is validation. Proof that I’ve created something worthwhile. It’s a chance to meet new people, a chance to learn about the lives of readers all over the world.
I blog for fun. Thinking about Search Engine Optimization makes it seem like a job. I try to avoid the topic altogether. I don’t even understand how it works. Sure, I include tags in my posts, but there must be more to SEO than that. People make money as SEO consultants. Every few months, Brian from Seamalt sends me an email offering to help me get the most out of my blog. But I’ve never read the emails, I just hit delete.
Regardless, I’m doing something right. Someone Googles their way into my blog every day. The WordPress stats page shows how readers arrive, and daily, three or four visitors link in via a web search. Almost always, what they’ve searched is “The Hair Wiz.”
The Hair Wiz is an As Seen on TV product from the seventies. It’s a plastic comb that splits apart and harbors a razor blade inside. The blade extends halfway down the comb’s teeth. Once assembled, you simply comb your hair, and the Wiz cuts it to the desired length.
I wrote about the Hair Wiz almost a year ago. My father is a Wizzer, and after some serious self-reflection, I realized that I’m not so different from him.
I assume people Googling the Hair Wiz are looking to buy one, or at least to buy replacement blades. But what their search returns is my blog. So they click the link. Because the only Hair Wizzer I know is my father, I assume the entire Hair Wiz market is comprised of men in their eighties. When I envision someone like my father surfing into my blog, the reaction is always the same: “What the hell is this?”
In my fantasy world, they reluctantly, but curiously start reading my story, and by the third paragraph they’re hooked. Because they can’t figure out how to follow my blog, they bookmark the page and come back daily to read the rest of my one hundred forty-three posts. In the actual world, I’m sure they just hit that back button and search for a link that doesn’t bring up such self-aggrandizing drivel.
I’m constantly trying to google my way into other people’s blogs, and I never have any success. When I search a topic on the internet, I want unique opinion. But what I get is shopping sites and media networks. I never get personal websites. If I stumbled into a blog like mine, I’d feel like a treasure hunter who dug a hole at the X on the map and actually hit something solid beneath the sand. Maybe I’d be digging up garbage, but at least I’m digging up something.
I know effective SEO is really just a waste of time. No one’s going to “discover” my blog and follow it. No one’s going to offer me a job writing for their magazine or website. No one’s even going to read my posts. The purpose of my blog-tags is to connect with other WordPress bloggers with similar interests. Because you never know when a fellow blogger will want to read about the Hair Wiz.
Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that you read this post!