Caring About SEO

Written By: Jake Bauer | Posted: 2020-05-01 | Last Updated: 2020-05-01

A few days ago, Kev Quirk wrote a blog post in response to Desmond Rivet about how he follows basic SEO hygiene even though it’s not something at the top of his mind when writing.

For those unfamiliar with the abominable world of SEO, it stands for “Search Engine Optimization” and is something that many sites to do appear higher up in search results on sites like Google and Bing. The algorithms which decide what is good SEO and what is bad SEO are constantly changing and we just have to guess, based on the guidance of what corporations like Google say and what their SEO reports tell us about our sites, if we’re doing a good job or not.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if one focuses on or optimizes for SEO that they’re a bad person or anything like that. I call it abominable because there are many sites which abuse SEO to appear higher in search rankings despite having less useful information or unsubstantial content compared to sites which don’t focus on it. It’s not enough to just be a good website or blog, if one wants to appear very high up one must optimize the way one structures their site and writes their content. There is a danger that if one focuses too much on SEO, one can fall down the rabbit hole of writing SEO-optimized drivel to appeal to the algorithm and therefore drive more visitors to their site at the expense of the quality of their writing. They cease to be themselves and instead write to appease an algorithm.

Now, all that being said, my site scores quite well in SEO tests!

The
    results page from a webpagetest lighthouse report showing an SEO score of
    100 for a recent blog post of mine.
Test performed using WebPageTest.org

I don’t actually focus on SEO at all. It’s just a coincidence that my site happens to do quite well and I’m honestly not sure why. Perhaps it’s the blog post being focused on one topic, the number of words on the page, or the lack of dynamic media content which would cause problems if improperly implemented. No idea.

It’s not that I don’t care if people read my content; in a previous post I explained that I enjoy it when others read what I write. I do, however, not really have much interest in putting in a lot of work or worrying much about optimizing things to appear higher in search rankings. I do post about my content on Mastodon, though, and I will happily link someone to something I’ve written if I think it will be useful to them. I don’t make any money off of this site and I’m not writing for fame or to be recognized so I don’t feel it worth it to put in so much effort to appease an ever-changing, black-box algorithm; I’m fine with the more “organic” traffic my site receives.

Today on Mastodon, someone posted a link to an article entitled 41 SEO quick wins you can do within an hour which I may read to learn a bit more about what affects a site’s SEO score. After all, it’s not bad to make sure one’s site is following generally good practises so long as one makes sure they’re not falling down that rabbit hole of tailoring their content for SEO.

This is my seventh post for the #100DaysToOffload challenge. You can learn more about this challenge over at https://100daystooffload.com.