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Focusing (Or Not) On Google

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#1 Jill


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Posted 09 August 2014 - 09:05 AM

In another thread, someone asked how anyone could do SEO and not focus on Google. I thought I'd share my recent experiences below:


As you probably know, I am not in the SEO industry anymore. I basically hang out all day practicing yoga, cooking up super healthy meals, hiking, running and learning all I can about various forms of spirituality.


In doing that, I created a blog to share my experiences along the way. At the moment I have no particular goal of making any money with the blog, I just hope that in the telling of my experiences I might inspire some others. 


For quite some time, my blog had pretty much no traffic from Google. But it did have traffic. I promoted my posts over at Facebook to those people who are friends with me, as well as my other social networks. While many who follow me were more interested in my old thoughts about SEO rather than my new path, some did find my words inspirational. 


At the same time, I started to find some Facebook groups where like-minded individuals hung out. Both on the healthy eating side of things as well as the spirituality side. When I had written a post (not because I thought it would bring me traffic but because it was simply something I had to say on a certain topic) that would appeal to any of those groups, I would post a link to it. And I'd get a few visitors.


For many months, I'd have maybe 50 visitors for the entire month. (Mostly relatives!) And yeah, that's pretty discouraging.  Discouraging not because Google didn't like my site, but discouraging because I felt that there were likely so many others in the world who might be inspired by what I had to say who I wasn't reaching.


Enter whatever Google's latest update was a few months ago. (I think it was a new Panda update.) On that exact date, suddenly Google liked my site and I went from almost no Google traffic to Google being the largest referrer. Still, my social media efforts are a very close second. 


In essence, my traffic doubled. Plus I'm reaching a much wider audience.


But what did I do in terms of SEO? 

  • I made sure that my site was crawler friendly.
  • I set up an easy to use navigation based on a few main categories each with their own few sub-categories (based on my interests and what I was writing about).
  • I created descriptive Title tags for each post by searching at Google to learn the ways that other people might search on the topic I was writing about.
  • I created 1-2 sentence Meta descriptions that described the article and would entice social media users to hopefully click to my articles.
  • I try to write at least once a week, more if I'm inspired.
  • I have a newsletter list of about 400 people or so (down from my 25,000 HRA readers!) who I send out a monthly recap of what I'm up to and the posts I've made.

That's about it! Traffic, while nowhere near what this 15 year old highrankings.com website receives, is growing every day as is my newsletter list and my social media contacts. (Currently receiving an avg. of about 60 visitors a day all together.)


And more than that, I've made a lot of great friends in the communities I hang out at. I was even offered a guest author gig at a new spirituality site


While none of this happened over night, it did happen since Oct. 2013 when I made my leaving SEO announcement. 


Bottom line is there was no "focus on Google."  There was just creating good, interesting stuff that nobody else was creating. Sure, there are plenty of others who write on the same topics I write about, but nobody comes at it from the same angle that I do, because I, and everyone else are unique. I don't try to copy anyone, I just write from my heart about what's happening in my life and people respond accordingly.


Happy to respond to any questions about this!

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#2 japanprint


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Posted 07 April 2015 - 11:33 AM

Thanks so much for this post! It was very insightful and I love that you approached it as not worrying about Google and just creating good quality content. I'm still new to SEO, but this gives me confidence that as long as I write great content and optimize it to the best I can, I shouldn't have any worries about rankings. 

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#3 torka


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 09:28 AM

It's not just about creating great content (although that is the foundation that everything else is built on). You do still need links, both to signal to the search engines that your content is worth paying attention to, and (more importantly) to bring in referral traffic outside of the search engines. "If you build it, they will come" only works in the movies. :)


But notice how Jill didn't mention anything about "link building." Instead, Jill built relationships with like-minded people, not because it was "something Google might like" but because these were her target audience. Which is absolutely the right thing to do. (Marketing 101, people.) It's going to be a whole lot more useful in the long run -- both for generating traffic and (as it happens) for earning links -- than any "link building" scheme promoted by so many so-called "SEO gurus."


--Torka :oldfogey:

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#4 japanprint


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Posted 08 April 2015 - 09:45 AM

@torka, That's very true, you can never forget about building links to do some signaling to the search engines. It has taken me a while to realize I have to build relationships, through forums, social media etc. so that there are more chances of people linking to my content. Before, I was just creating content and not understanding why no one wanted to link to me. 


I'm so glad I stumbled upon this site, I had been reading different posts and topics on here for a few days and noticed how much you all try and engage with people, I love it!

#5 Jill


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 10:42 AM

That's very true, you can never forget about building links to do some signaling to the search engines.


Still not quite getting it. We're not talking about building links. And I wasn't talking about signaling search engines. (Even though Torka mentioned that). 


The signaling part is simply a result of just making the relationships and letting people who are interested no about my content. The signaling just happens. 

#6 japanprint


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Posted 09 April 2015 - 11:14 AM

There's a reason people come to this site, it may be because they are not "quite getting it". Either way, thanks for the great post and thanks Torka for the input as well.  :victory:

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