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Ahhh SEO. If you’ve been in the blogging community for any amount of time, you know that it’s a HOT topic.

There are hundreds of Google & Pinterest SEO “experts” out there telling you exactly how to increase your rankings and pageviews.

So, this blog post may be kind of a hot take. Because, to be honest, I think a lot of it is a waste of time.

And the proof is in the pudding, because my blog averages over 100,000 pageviews per month and I rarely listen to the ultra-specific advice of gurus when it comes to SEO. Not to mention, my blog has not been affected at all by the latest Google updates that have many blogs losing tons of traffic overnight.

In this blog post, I’m going to reveal the compelling reasons I tend to ignore SEO advice (and why I think you should too!).

SEO strategies that actually work

Let’s be clear, I don’t deny the value of SEO as a whole. Some form of SEO and keyword research is pretty important for anyone with a blog. The main forms of SEO I rely on are the following:

I do keyword research on Pinterest and Google before I write posts

The most important thing I do SEO-wise for my blog is research keywords before I write content. If nobody is looking for the content I’m writing, then it’s not going to get any views.

So I won’t write content unless I have some sort of evidence that people want to read about that topic. I rely on various keyword tools & Pinterest trends for this research.

Keyword research is SEO 101, and I highly recommend it!

I incorporate keywords in my blog post as they fit naturally

When I write a blog post about a keyword I have researched, I’ll try to include the key word or phrase in the title and content of that post.

But only if it fits in naturally.

One of the most popular SEO tips that I see is to put your keyword as much as possible in your blog post. And guess what? This just reads like spam!

Google is way smarter than to just rank content based on how many time certain words show up.

I’m mindful of the fact that Google can tell what my content is about and as long as I’ve included my keywords a bit, I’m doing my part.

…and that’s about it! There may be some other small things that I do like using short permalinks, properly tagging posts, using alt text on images, etc. But I don’t buy into all the hyper-specific advice that seems to change every few months.

Here’s why:

Why I ignore most SEO trends

Here is some of the crazy SEO advice I’ve heard over the years:

  • Include the keyword you are targeting in every heading in the blog post

This is annoying and leads to a poor user experience. You should include your keyword a few times throughout your post at least, and when it fits naturally into your headings and content.

  • Remove all affiliate links because Google will not give you traffic

This doesn’t make sense. If your readers are looking for products to buy, affiliate links can be helpful to readers.

  • Write at least 2,000 in every blog post regardless of the topic

Not all articles on the first page of google are 2,000 words. Go check for yourself. Do you really need to write 2,000 words about your apple pie recipe? Probably not.

  • Buy backlinks to your website

Any time an SEO expert suggests doing something “hacky” like buying links to your site, you should think twice. Don’t you think Google, one of the tech companies in the world, is smarter than that?

Here’s the common theme…

All of these SEO “trends” and advice circle around the internet for people desperately looking for ways to make more people view their content.

The experts that make these rules rely on branding gimmicky techniques like these as “valuable information” so that you will trust them, follow them, or even buy something from them.

And I’m not saying theres no truth behind these techniques. There may be some, to varying degrees.

But here’s the problem:

With these techniques, you’re chasing the wrong thing.

These SEO hacks tell you to create content for an algorithm.

You are creating content for a human.

And the goal of the algorithm is to provide the most valuable content to the human that is searching for it.

Let me say it another way:

If you are creating content to please an algorithm, you will always be chasing updates to that algorithm. You will always be lagging behind what the algorithm is actually trying to do— find the content that readers want.

What you should do instead:

Is it obvious? Focus on your reader. Focus on what they want to learn or read about when they search for a certain topic. Try to fulfill that desire better than the competition.

Make your ideal reader your number 1 priority, and the algorithm will help you find them.

Am I being too optimistic?

Some might say I am being optimistic! And maybe I am.

But this is what has worked for me.

While the majority of my blog traffic comes from Pinterest, I do get some visitors from Google, and this is continuing to grow in 2024 (even after the “Helpful Content Updates.”

I also learned this the hard way. I’ve recently changed my seo strategy to focus on creating helpful content that is better than the competition, and I’ve learned that my gut is often right when it comes to what will perform well.

Sometimes, when I’m working on a blog post, I’ll think to myself, “I can tell this is gonna be a good one. There’s nothing else like it out there and it’s exactly what I would want to see if I searched for X.”

Other times, I think more-so, “There’s a lot of blog posts about this topic, but I’m following all the SEO rules and I’m trying to make mine slightly different and better, so maybe some people will find it.”

The former is definitely a better sign for how the content will perform. Some of this comes with knowing when to choose my battles— I’m now much more selective on what keywords I will target and what content I will right.

Sometimes, just knowing that you won’t be able to beat the quality on page 1 of Google is a perfect use of SEO.

So what is your recommendation?

In summary, here’s what I would recommend:

  • Follow basic SEO advice and “rules” like keyword research and including your keyword in your post
  • More importantly, focus on creating the best and most helpful content for your readers
  • Study “user intent” and try to match it to the best of your ability.
  • Only tackle content you feel confident you can out-do other sites in terms of quality.

That’s it! What are your thoughts on SEO “hacks” and trends like these? Do you agree or disagree?

I hope I wasn’t too harsh in this article, I just think it’s so important to be realistic about what is actually going to make your blog successful and what might not.