Common Sense and Websites
Common sense… wow, it’s in danger of extinction in many areas of the Internet, including (and perhaps especially) IM, aka Internet Marketing.
Until recently, I went along with many concepts promoted by IM-ers, figuring, “Hey, why not…?” Generally, they claim to be making a whole lot more money than I do, and I figure they might know something I don’t. Did they, really…?
Well, the answer hit with Google’s Penguin update: Those “experts” may have known what works, short-term, but their long-term advice wasn’t red-hot.
The result of following their excruciating, by-the-numbers approach to SEO? For many people, it was a disaster.
If your SEO is just a little too perfect (and more than a little unnatural), you’re banished to outer darkness, aka the supplementary index. So — like many people — I scaled-back my SEO efforts, big time. I’m paying far less attention to IM “gurus” who are trying to game the system.
In a nutshell: Common sense rules.
People often ask me what keywords I use when I write my articles. Keywords can be important, but I won’t pretend they’re the single most-important doorway to success.
- In some cases, I use keyword lists. Generally, those lists are compiled with Micro Niche Finder, keyword-related software I’ve been using since forever. (“Forever” being defined as: Since around 2008.) [Click here for a video of Matt Rhodes using Micro Niche Finder.] I’ve tried other keyword products that have come out since then, and none of them are as reliable as Micro Niche Finder. (Also, I don’t use any “samurai” products, “spy” products, etc. I prefer a product that I buy once, and it’s updated regularly to remain current with trends. Micro Niche Finder has been doing that, reliably, for over three years. In Internet years, that’s incredibly long.)
In most cases, I know what I want to write about and… well, I simply write.
I may check Google’s free Keyword Tool to be sure my main keyword or phrase is the one most people are searching for, but that’s all. (When I use Google’s tools, I always log into Google so I get the maximum number of results. The Captcha results can be okay, but if I’m bothering to research at all, it makes sense to get the best results.)
However, I usually just sit down and write my article. There’s nothing fancy about that. I make sure I write at least 300 words (500 is better), and I trust that I’ll naturally include enough related words and phrases as cues for latent semantic indexing, aka LSI.
- Latent semantic indexing means that the article includes a lot of words and phrases that are related to the main focus of the article. For example, if I’m writing about dieting, I’ll probably include words like exercise, aerobics, calories, carbs, fat, weight loss, and so on. (Before the Google “Penguin” update, most IM experts would recommend targeting a phrase like “best healthy diet” and use it in the title of the article, the first and last paragraphs of the article, and as the “alt” description of your illustration. In addition, they’d tell you to use that phrase in bold type once and in italics once, and then make sure you use that exact phrase enough so it represented at least 3% of your content. (That is, for every hundred words in the article, you used the phrase “best healthy diet” at least three times.)
I tried that in some of my articles, but seriously… it looked fake to me. Usually, I rewrote those articles so they looked more natural and read more smoothly for my website visitors.
And, in my own tests, I can’t say that my by-the-numbers SEO efforts produced better results than the articles where I just selected a topic and wrote about it.
From my viewpoint, writing articles and building websites requires more of a “common sense” approach. It all boils down to this: Provide useful information to your readers, and convey it as clearly and honestly as you can.
So, as I’m redesigning the websites I’ll be selling, I’ve removed most of the pre-Penguin SEO-related plugins. I didn’t use them on my personal sites, and — from now on — I’ve decided to sell sites designed the way my own, successful websites are. It all comes down to common sense.
This article was sparked by one at Yoast’s website, Common sense for your website. I recommend reading it. (Yoast’s SEO plugin is among the only SEO-related plugins I use on most of my websites… and I don’t even use most of its features. It’s a free plugin, too. )
Keywords can be important. Micro Niche Finder is on my computer’s quick-start toolbar, and I use it at least once or twice each week. I wouldn’t try running a lot of websites without it. It’s especially useful when I’m brainstorming ideas for sites where I just don’t have a good idea for a fresh article, and I almost always use Micro Niche Finder when I’m choosing domain names.
However, for most articles, I start with an idea for something I want to say about the subject… and then, I just write it.