Editorial Note: I originally wrote this post for the LogEntries blog. You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, check out the features of their offering.
I write blog posts on a number of different sites that are not my own, and that is an exercise in pure writing joy. I compose the posts, I submit them, and viola! They’re published on nice-looking sites, promoted by people with reach, and read by many (hopefully) interested readers. Life is good.
By way of comparison, when it comes to my own blog, life is not quite so simple. On my own blog, I have to write the posts and manage all of the details that are abstracted away when I write for other sites. So many things distract from content.
There are the major ancillary concerns like the site’s look and feel and following up on any downtime or outages. There are minor ancillary concerns, like checking for typos, promoting the posts, and making sure no one is inappropriate in the comments. And then there are enigmatic ancillary concerns, like search engine optimization (SEO). My primary concern is content generation, however, so, even with my own site, I seek to abstract as much of this away as possible.
The Weird World of SEO
Let me start off by saying, emphatically, that I am not an SEO expert. Frankly, it’s not a topic that particularly interests me in and of itself… at least not until I had to be interested in it.
I have a blog as part of my website, but from that same website, I offer information about my consulting practice and about books and products that I offer. More readers translates into more engagement, which, in turn, translates into a better living for me. And it was against this backdrop that I became interested in SEO by default.
SEO actually reminds me of the credit score concept, in which a mysterious agency uses a mysterious algorithm to compute a score that has a serious effect on your life. The mystery and complexity of the algorithm and proprietary nature of the score, in turn, create a cottage industry of advice and services aimed at helping you get just a little bit better.
As a blogger and entrepreneur, this is the SEO world for me. Google (and nominally other search providers) have secret sauce algorithms that figure out how to rank content based on its likelihood of being valuable to people using the search engine. I don’t care much about these for their own sake, but I do wind up having to learn enough about how the whole thing works in order to make (what I hope are) informed decisions on how to position myself. Oh, and I have to do that while not wasting a whole lot of time on it and veering into the land of diminishing returns.