writing

Ditching SEO

SEO search engine optimization

Quality and quantity over search queries

The Minimalist is in flux.

I recently did a massive audit of the content I’ve published to the Minimalist over the past two years. Some of it I kept. About 23% I scrapped; hit unpublish; removed from the interwebs. This might hurt my SEO efforts. Frankly, I doubt my audience of Russian spambots will particularly mind.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a somewhat simple, somewhat complex, never ending process of making your content more findable. It’s the big and little cues you give Google crawlers to let them know you wrote X about Y. If people are searching for Y, then Google should show them X. Traditionally, that’s meant peppering your pieces with keywords (although, that seems to be changing).

So, you stuff your content with keywords and use alt tags on images. You make your content useful and informative. And you wait for the views to roll in and the bounce rates to drop.

Here’s the problem: SEO is a carrot I’ve chased without thought for where it was actually taking me.

When I first learned about SEO, it was like a whole new world had opened up to me. Aha! So this is good writing! This is how you get people to appreciate the hours you’ve dedicated to writing, rewriting, and debating word choice.

But I misunderstood the point of SEO. I became consumed with writing “useful” content. Listicles. Boring articles full of advice on the few things I understand. It’s how I ended up publishing such gems as “how to work from home,” “how to brush up on your skills,” and, rather horrendously, “toast three ways.”

SEO search engine optimization

I’m 23 going on 24. I’m young. I’m still learning. I don’t have much advice to give, because I’m still busy taking it. I wrote a lot of pieces that weren’t true to myself or my place in life. I tried to be older, wiser, and more informative. I tried to write the sort of content Google crawlers and bots would want to read. I ended up with a lot of content that I don’t even want to read.

So, I’m stepping away from search engine optimization. Or rather, from writing content for search engine optimization. Of course, SEO is necessary to exist on the Internet. My alt tags and meta descriptions will still be slotted in. But I’m focusing more on content I want to write. I’m focusing on developing the Minimalist’s identity, and my own as a writer. I’m not meandering through posts about toast anymore. After all, my mom’s probably the most loyal reader I have, and she doesn’t Google the Minimalist. She’s 60. She taught me how to make toast.

If you want to stick around, look forward to a lot less advice. Less dry content imparting the woefully wee bit of wisdom I have. Less listicle, keyword-stuffed writing. Less bullshit.

More me. 

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