As lifestyles defined matured past its 2nd year of existence, I’ve come to change my stance on more than a few things. Not only on how to run a business, curate content and keeping the movement motivates, but more importantly, SEO.
I had enjoyed plenty of joyous moments at the helm of LD, watching the site and the brand grow into its own. But when I was offered the challenge of not only running Mobility Digest, but to leading the site back to glory days, it was time to get to work.
Search Engine Optimization had become my new obsession. Late nights, early mornings, all in the name of at attracting more traffic to both sites. Lost in a whirlwind of keyword research, meticulous formatting and speedy delivery of trending topics was the name of the game.
And then, Panda! Mostly cute in their infancy, and less cute as adults, but still cute enough to fool you into doing something silly, this was not the Panda we all knew. This was no Panda Bear, this was Panda Google. I noticed a sharp decrease in traffic to LD, even though productivity was at an all-time high. And over at MD, the same exact occurrence, only MD was slipping much slower, but still slipping.
Nights on end I stayed up researching what could be the cause, the more I dug, the deeper the hole became. My search to find a solution pretty much ended up in the same song and dance with SEO, which was, “best practices” and “how-to’s.” So, I switched my search criteria, I started to seek out other bloggers with traffic woes, and much to my surprise, I was not alone. It was all too easy to convince myself the decline in traffic on both LD and MD has one very strong thing in common, me. But once I hit my mark, it was even easier to see there was one thing in common across the blog community that ailed us all, that was Google’s Panda Update.
Despite the all mighty slap, I still carried on my efforts in SEO. The magical world of SOE is pretty much theory as none of these companies every said a word on exactly how things work, and truthfully, why would they? Revealing exactly how to “game” the system would be a tragedy to the internet at large. After all, the morals I clung to for dare life was “content in king.” The more I matured as a writer and content curator, exactly what content is king was redefined.
I tried a different approach, I tried to play to the strengths of the teams. I over analyzed what made each writer strong and how they meshed together as a group, and seriously focused efforts on trying to mash out content from that. Probably one of the more rewarding tasks I undertook in a while, I was super happy to see the content quality increase tenfold. Sure, quantity took a hit, but personality and humanity were up front and center in writing, it was a thing to behold.
But still, numbers slipped on both sites. As of the date I am writing this, for a period of two months now, the numbers seemed to have bottomed out. I believe we are at the lowest we could possible go, and we even enjoy a spike here and there. So what was my next move? It was surely time to be on the attack, I had a firm understanding on what content was supposed to be like and our numbers had his a base. But, I was unsure of my next move.
Then came the on going silliness between Google and Microsoft. As a content creator for Youtube this would have been the 3rd time Google has burned me (Google Reader anyone?) This was my wakeup call, it wasn’t a ping as to how Google can make or break you, it was a ping as to why I shouldn’t place the likelihood of anything I give my all into the hands of others. And so, I pivot.
Bluntly put, I just don’t give a shit any more. I will no longer be producing and curating content to seem attractive to search engines, instead, I will be doing doing just that to appease our core audience. Between both LD and MD, there is a wealth of knowledge, character and potential, these factors are enough to afford us the target audience we deserve. Lets be clear, this does not mean I stop doing things the “right” way. After all, at the basis of the SEO magic show, I still believe there are some very core journalism morals that still must be respected.
Interestingly enough, there is an argument to be had with social media presenting my current stance on SEO. This is currently something I struggle with as well, the Twitters and Facebooks in the world. But the key here is, I have not been burned by Social Media as yet.
So, in short, cheers to doing it my way, to doing it different, to handing over the keys to true creative freedom and to the ability to pivot! Wish us luck good friends!