SEO Isn't A Formula, And Doesn't Work 100% Of The Time
I remember one of the first "SEO Guides" I bought back in 2011 was pretty intense. They had a graph of various types of link bulding schemes you were supposed to run side by side, plus things like keyword density, page rank calculations, and whatever else I can't really remember. Looking back, it was crazy.
Things aren't too differnet these days. There are still plenty of SEO guides you can buy that talk about things like KGR (keyword golden ratio), PBN (private blog networks), and analyzation tools like Surfer SEO.
The thing that I've learned over the years, at least how I see it based on my experience, is that SEO is not a guaranteed formula. I've never seen a strategy that works 100% of the time.
SEO Is A Guideline. A Starting Point.
SEO stands for "search engine optimization". At its root, it just means optimizing content for search engines. "Optimization" doesn't mean "guaranteed to rank".
As I go through my search engine optimization process each time I publish, I think about exactly that. Is this page "optimized"?
- is it clear what my topic is?
- is this a topic someone would search for online?
- am I answering a specific question?
- did I write content in a clear and precise way?
- did I format the content in a way which is easy to read?
- did I include relevant images and video to help with understanding?
- are the videos and images described properly?
- did I link to helpful resources on-site and off-site?
- are there too many words, or not enough words?
- is my article interesting to humans?
Those are just some of the questions I ask myself, but they are all under the larger umbrella of being clear about what I'm writing about, who I'm writing for, and why I'm writing it.
Sometimes Articles Just Don't Rank
You can use any SEO formula and hit all the marks precisely and still not rank. Google's exact algorithm is not known to 99.999% of bloggers out there, so we're all pretty much guessing and just following what seems to work best for us.
There are many times where I write an article which I'm sure should rank, but it doesn't.
I'm not saying that's a good reason too just give up and no pay attention to what you write. I just mean that even the pros get it wrong sometimes, so don't beat yourself up if you arren't ranking.
Reasons Articles Don't Rank
When looking at newbie websites, there are a few recurring mistakes I see which are causing articles to not rank.
- not enough content (1000-1200 words minimum)
- no relevant images or video
- topic too broad
- not a "searchable" topic
- no internal links with proper anchor text
- no formatting like h2/h3/h4
Though I normally don't pay too much to "competition" because I work under the assumption that I can be the best at anything if I put in enough effort, actually, competition can definitely be a reason you aren't ranking.
The way I deal with competition is to simply try to "be better", even if it means striving to be better over a matter of months or even years. Even then, doing that may not be enough. Google may just favor your competition for some unknown reason.
There's a lot of things you can do to improve your content and SEO. I'm not going to go over everything this post, but it's definitely worth looking at what your competition is doing (assumign they're ranking above you!) to see if you can learn from their tactics and improve your own stuff.
#4 Not A "Searchable" Topic
Something worth discussing is the idea of a "searchable" topic. This is harder to explain in precise langauge, but I mean that when you write about something on your website, you should imagine WHO would be searching this topic and WHY.
A great example comes from an email exchange I had with someone last week.
If you had a blog about self help, and wanted to teach someone self-confidence, should you write an article titled, "How to Have Self Confidence"? In my opinion, no. That's not a topic worth writing about.
In my mind, I can't imagine who would want to generally "have self confidence" with no goal in mind. Could you envision someone searching for "how to have self confidence?".
How I see it, they'd most likely want to use that self confidence for something. So better replacement topics could be
- how to ask a girl on a date and not be nervous
- how to confidently ask for a raise at work
- how to talk to your husband about his spending habits
- michael jordan 3-point shot visualization techniques
These are specific things people want to do. The answer has something to do with self confidence, but it's not just about being self confident in general. My imaginary searches are written in a way I think someone would search in Google.
There are many ways to approach SEO. Lots of them work sometimes. None of them work all the time. The longer you produce content and blog on your affiliate site, the more you'll be able to develop your own style and figure out what works for you.