The Google machine found my site about a week ago. Finally, one of my articles was worthy of notice and is now being found by masses (like 10 people actually) who want to know how much money to spend on a gift for a high school graduate. While, it’s awesome to see my hits increase, I must admit that I’m a little conflicted about the success I’ve found in Google readers.
In truth, this blog is my…6th site? I don’t currently have six blogs, but over the years, I’ve started and stopped 5 previous sites. I’m a monogamous author; what you get here is my undivided effort, guaranteed. Over the years and the blogs I’ve changed focus. I’ve written to advance causes. I’ve written to get noticed by the media. I’ve written to inform. My most recently departed blog, I mostly wrote for Google.
The Perks of Writing for Google
It’s not bad writing for Google readers. There was a great deal of satisfaction knowing that when a searcher found my site, they were getting reliable and interesting information about financial decision making. There are plenty of other reasons:
- Marketers pay those that are popular on Google, better (It’s practically rule #1 in making money on a blog)
- Google allows you to easily market outside your immediate social circle
- Lots of people (most of them in fact) use Google so there is no limit to your reach
- There is a certain knack to catching Google readers, but once you’ve figured it out, it’s not rocket science
- You don’t have to really be a good writer or make an effort, you just need SEO. Google just gives you an article title, it doesn’t tell you if you are about to read junk.
Google is a pretty easy customer, if you know how to steer it to your website. However, I don’t usually aim for easy.
The Downsides of Writing for Google
From my experience, there are plenty of reasons to ignore Google in your blogging:
- SEO often makes for poor reading and formulaic articles that bore regular readers
- You have to write stupid titles that aren’t likely to attract new readers
- Google searches aren’t very sticky. I’m not saying that someone who finds your site couldn’t become a regular reader. However, most people are looking for a piece of information. Once they have it, they don’t come back
- Their propensity to be bad readers usually hurts your reader statistics like time on site and average number of pageviews
- They don’t usually comment or spread articles on social media
- Google is always making rules and changing the way readers will find your site. In fact, what Google giveth it also taketh away. The only way to guarantee your readership is to get your own readers
Google readers aren’t unwanted guests. I’m just not sure if I want to focus on attracting them. This time, I might write my blog for my readers and not the searchers, but I haven’t decided yet. Making lots of money definitely has its advantages.
Should I write to attract Google searches or to get long-term readers? Do you try and attract Google searches? Have you found balance between regular readers and Google searchers? Is Google traffic overrated?
Top Ten Family Finance Posts
- Hope to Prosper lost hundreds of thousands in home equity and 40% of his retirement nest egg. Yet, he has thrived since the recession. It’s definitely worth reading why.
- The cost of buying electronics has never been lower; a $500 laptop was unheard of even 5 years ago. However, families are spending more than ever on electronics because of service plans. Finance Yoga has some tips on lowering your phone bills.
- Does Don’t Quit Your Day Job really read Senate Committee Testimony? Yes, yes they do! Now I know that I’m not alone. They feature three very basic economic rules to staying out of poverty. I can’t wait to bust out the latest nugget of information I found at the Fed, but I’ll wait until later this week.
- I recently talked about the importance that time and money play in better managing family finances. Investor Junkie talks about the importance of time and how to find a reasonable value for it.
- Who doesn’t like getting free things for doing what you already do? 20-Something Budget has 5 common ways to earn rewards while you go through your normal day.
- My take is that care cost is only going to go up in the next 40 years. Long term care is something worth considering over at Squirrelers .
- Unfortunately, most people find themselves needing COBRA at some point in their lives. Money Q & A keeps families abreast on what it is and how it works.
- I’ve had the same emergency fund for over decade and have only tapped into it while my wife was on maternity leave. Money Life and More covers emergency funds and why you need to avoid the temptation of using it.
- My Broken Coin has found an actual pharmaceutical pill for treating shopaholicism…er shopaholics disorder…er whatever is the correct technical term. Shopaholism?
- Money Councelor has average credit scores broken down by various traits. Is anyone surprised that grandma probably has a better credit score than you?
Round Ups and Carnivals that Featured My Family Finances
- Carnival of Fin. Camaraderie at The University of Money
- Carnival of Retirement at Making Sense Of Cents
- Fin. Carn. for Young Adults at 20s Finances
- Canadian PF Happy Hour at Canadian Personal Finance
- Y & T’s Weekend Ramblings at Young and Thrifty
- Yakezie Carnival at See Debt Run
- Carnival of MoneyPros at Broke Professionals
- Free From Broke: Health Care Refrom on the Line and Links
- Don’t Quit Your Day Job: The DQYDJ Weekender
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SB @ FPR says
One thing I have learned in blogging for over a year, do not write for SEO, rather write for your general audience and you’d be surprised to see how Google like it too in a few months.
It’s very true. If you write enough, something will catch with google. But, for me at least, there’s always a temptation to get google readers on every post.
I don’t write for Google, up till about 6 months ago I didn’t even know what SEO was! Somehow, I have articles that get hits everyday that I just wrote because I wanted to write them, not for a search engines.
It’s best to do as you’ve done and stay focused on your readership.
Bret @ Hope to Prosper says
I write to inform on finances and pay only basic attention to SEO. I have have written a couple of articles with unique keywords that attracted a lot of page views. But, as you said, it didn’t convert into many new long-term readers.
Do you feel that the posts with unique keywords are as readable to your regular readers?
Bret @ Hope to Prosper says
The posts I wrote weren’t optimized for SEO, so they were very readable to humans. I don’t believe in constantly repeating keywords, because it’s innefective for search and annoying to readers. You are way better off putting the keywords or phrase in the title and permalink.
These posts just had a unique subject that people were interested in. One was about Prosopagnosia and the other was about the Iraqi Dinar Scam. I didn’t write them to get Google activity. I wrote them to cover the subject. The subject was of interest to many, which brought the search activity.
Thanks for the mention! I really try to write for my readers but if I can write for google at the same time I don’t think it’d hurt.
Kurt @ Money Counselor says
Thanks John for including “Traits Signal Credit Score” in your Top Ten.
Write for Google or people? Everyone has different motivations for writing on the web (aka blogging). Nothing wrong with making money, but for me, at least with Money Counselor, my aim is to provide truly valuable content that real people can use in their everyday lives, and by doing that, build a following of regular visitors. I like to think making good money and that aim are not mutually exclusive, but maybe I’m naive about what ‘sells’ on the web.
One day I may build sites with the strict aim of making money. If I do, I won’t tell any of my friends or relatives about it. 🙂
John @ Married (with Debt) says
I struggle with this as well. It’s a lot of work to write for an audience of regular viewers. I’m more of a writer than a blogger, so I’m sorta trapped in a weird place.
Paula @ Afford Anything says
Personally, I think “writing for Google” and keyword-tactics are overrated, and here’s why:
Google rewards, and highly ranks, sites that have visitors who spend a long time on the site and click on many pages. The way you get a visitor to spend a long time on your site is by writing awesome stuff, so they’ll want to click on pages and read it.
Conversely, the way you drive visitors away from your site is by FREE CREDIT CARDS stuffing your posts with a bunch of irrelevant, obvious keywords FREE CREDIT CARDS in ways that don’t make sense. FREE CREDIT CARDS. See what I mean?
So I think it’s a win-win … write for your audience, and Google will reward your efforts naturally.
I agree. I dislike reading over SEO’d articles. But thanks for getting all that Free Credit Cards keywords into this post 😉