Who doesn’t love a little search engine traffic, right? It’s free, it’s targeted, and if you rank high enough for a good keyword it can be the reason you get thousands of visitors a day. But maybe this free traffic source is actually killing your creativity. Think about what would happen if your website or blog were suddenly dropped from the search engines. How would this new world of being deindexed treat you? Would your traffic drop to zero? If so, you are relying too much on Google and here are some indicators to help prove the point:
- Your title selection is keyword heavy. You choose titles that have high traffic keywords rather than titles that grab your reader’s attention. You know you are focusing too much on search engines when you write every word with them in mind. But what about those readers? Don’t they matter too? Maybe if you start writing titles with THEM in mind you will get traffic from other sources like blogs, social media outlets, and forums, without having to lift a finger (except to type a few awesome posts of course).
- You focus on backlinks that will NEVER be seen or clicked. So we all want backlinks. But why? Because we heard that Google likes those little underscored words and it can increase our rankings in the search engine, right? But what’s the point if the link is on some blog network that will never be seen by a real person? Building backlinks solely for search engines to think you are important is just building a house of cards. Sooner or later it will all come crashing down and you will only be left with the traffic from the REAL that point to your site. Does anyone actually click on those profile backlinks or blog comments that have 1,000 spammy comments on them? Nope. So don’t waste your time.
- Google updates give you panic attacks. Google is constantly tweaking their algorithm and every once in a while it’s a big one and thousands of websites are effected. And if 90% of your traffic comes from Google you might be in big trouble when the next tremor hits. Getting your traffic from other sources means you can rest easy when another update comes into town, and you can just see any search engine traffic as a bonus.
- You actually pay for links. Google has already told us that it goes against their terms of service to pay for links that are not nofollow, but people still do it anyway if they feel they can get away with it. But these paid links are usually on junk sites that happen to have a high page rank. They offer little to no direct traffic and if you buy these links you risk being slapped and pummelled by the great search beast.
- You treat keyword density like a chemistry technician. Keyword density is how much your targeted keyword shows up in your article or blog post. Some say it should be 2%, some say 10%, and there is everything in between. But this just shows how much you are focusing on Google rather than your readers that will have to actually put up with your post full of the same keywords thrown in there without rhyme or reason. Besides, Google is smart enough to know synonyms, so you don’t have to worry about keyword density. Just write good stuff that people like.
- SEO is more important to you than your readers. This might sound like heresy but what if something was really good for your blog and your readers, but it went against the terms of service for Google. Remember, the giant search engine is not the FTC and it is not the police of the internet. They are a company and you don’t have to do everything they recommend and not do everything they don’t recommend. Do what’s best for your blog and your readers and let the search engines figure out what to do with you. You shouldn’t be relying on them for traffic anyway.
- You obsess over every rank change. I get it. The difference between being ranked #1 and #5 for a keyword can make or break your online business. But that’s only if Google is your daddy. Is it really worth losing sleep over losing your rankings in a search engine you can’t control? Focus on networking with other bloggers in your niche and build a solid foundation of traffic. After all, this is what Google wants to see anyway. Not that you should care.
Image: Official Google Blog