My WordPress template is optimized for Search Engines. I carefully structured my template having learned quite a few tips from quite a few people. Everything from page titles to tags have been tweaked to squeeze as much as I can out of it.
Optimizing my blog template works – virtually 50% of my visitors come by way of Search Engines, primarily Google. Although my blog is optimized for Search Engines, SEO experts will note that my posts are not.
I don’t repeat my headline in my first few sentences. I don’t use a ton of links in my posts. I don’t often link to my own posts unless it’s truly relative. Having read a ton of SEO articles, I could write a checklist of items that I should do with each post.
I won’t do it because I’m not writing for Search Engines, I’m writing for readers. It simply seems insincere to change the style of my dialog so that some software application on some web crawler can pull my information and index my articles for keyword searches. I don’t care if the search engine can find me easier… I care that the reader enjoys my blog posts.
Since I’ve been reading those articles for a while, I can really notice when other bloggers are doing it. Just a word of warning to those bloggers – I skip reading a lot of your posts because of it. On occasion, I even stop subscribing.
Another way to tell these bloggers are by their commentors… you tend to see different commentors each week you go to their blog. No conversations… just a comment here and there and the readers never return. I really enjoy seeing the same folks back at my blog over and over. I’ve grown to become friends with many of my visitors – even though I’ve never personally met them.
Those of you with direct marketing backgrounds know that research on any medium tells you that it’s more difficult to obtain new readers than to keep existing ones. It’s a self-defeating strategy when you write to build Search Engine placement but your readers don’t enjoy or stick with your blog. You have to keep optimizing and keep tweaking to gain more hits from Search Engines.
Don’t write for Search Engines. Write for your readers.