Your Not-So-SEO-Friendly Writer
As I have begun writing more frequently and for an audience, I have come across the struggle of finding what works and what flops. If you’ve read any of my other work, you might notice how I tend to take a more personal and artistic approach to my topics. My titles aren’t informative or popular, so I won’t appear in a search bar unless I’m what you’re looking for and let’s be honest, that’s not happening. That’s where SEO comes in.
What does SEO mean?
It’s short for “Search Engine Optimization”. It refers to improving your site’s/article/social media’s visibility when people search for products or services related to your business on the internet. The more visibility your pages have in the search results, the more likely you will gain attention and attract customers to your business.
With trillions of searches happening online every year on oversaturated platforms, being “SEO-Friendly” gives you an advantage in the market.
Why do writers write with SEO?
It is understandable that a significant number of writers that write for money need to do this because no one wants to read that niche self-reflection on the trials and tribulations of talent vs hard work…Yeah, it may not seem like a smart idea if you want to get readers, views and all that other good stuff. In all honesty, I love reading about weird niche things and articles that people pour their souls into. Sadly, some of those pieces will never come to light because unless you are an already established writer, it’s very rare someone will want to read about them, and that’s if they can even find you buried under more popular/trendy topics.
For example, I write on Medium and Vocal, and between the two, there are different audiences. Medium users lean towards a demographic that is into digital marketing, business and ways to “get rich quick” (or at least my home page is filled with this despite it not being in my interests). You may have to actively dig a little deeper to find something personal. Vocal seems to allow for more creatives to get noticed with its communities and challenges, although getting noticed requires you to get Top Stories. Either way, you can’t stand out unless you blend in… and have followers.
Stay in your box
Another tip I see when trying to gain an audience is sticking to a niche. When someone tells you to “find your niche,” they mean you should find the very specific topic that sets you apart and in which you can find success and fulfilment. This can be hard for many writers and easy for others, the idea of writing what you want can be overwhelming. If you have an already established audience based on “travel photography” and you want to start posting about “cocktail recipes” you’ll most likely lose engagement and followers. That’s scary.
If you’re a new writer perhaps try creating a larger box so you have room to breathe in the future. Let’s take the example above, what do travel photography and cocktail recipes have in common? They both fall into lifestyle content, hobbies or recreational activities. Don’t fear if you have more than one interest it’s more than likely that they are connected in some way. Don’t be afraid to write about whatever, because holding yourself back because of some algorithm could just lead to a creative block and then no writing will happen.
Algorithms are created to sort the massive volume of content posted every day and show each user the content they are most likely to engage with. These algorithms are mainly run by artificial intelligence because it would be near impossible for a human to look at every single thing posted on the internet, I explore other aspects of AI in my previous article.
|By Markus Spiske on Unsplash|
In social media, algorithms help maintain order and assist in ranking search results and advertisements. Let’s take the Instagram algorithm for example, which is largely referred to as a singular concept, but there are multiple algorithms at play. In fact, Instagram describes it as a “variety of algorithms, classifiers, and processes, each with its own purpose. We want to make the most of your time, and we believe that using technology to personalize your experience is the best way to do that.”
In other words, Instagram’s algorithms have one goal: to make your stay on the app longer by showing content you’ll find relevant and interesting. This of course isn’t exclusive to Instagram, it’s how essentially all social media work.
The algorithm is against you
At times all your hard work, dedication and consistency can lead to nothing. At times it feels as though you are waiting to “blow up” or go viral just so your writing can be seen and appreciated.
When you are someone that doesn’t jump on trends or writes for publications getting noticed is difficult. Although it may seem like I’m carefree and write whatever I wish. In reality, I don’t post everything, I love creative writing, but you’ll never see that posted here or there. As my bio says “I write articles about human experiences with a keen interest in art, psychology and society.” This way what I write about is broad enough that I have freedom but specific enough that people know what they’ll get when they follow me. Similarly, my Instagram is focused on photography and film when it could be hundreds of pictures of my dog, I chose this niche because I want to gain skills to understand photography better and get inspired. As a person who engages with social media, when I follow someone it’s usually for a reason, because I know whenever they post will more than likely be related to the niche or style that they have created.
However, in a world oversaturated with information and just stuff, creating an account, blog, or website that represents a single slice of our lives instead of the whole cake can be refreshing and freeing. Giving us somewhere to focus on the things we love with a community that shares that interest.
The heart wants what the heart wants
I think sometimes we forget that writing is an art form and art is an expression of the artist’s views and values. If you want to make money then that’ll be reflected in your writing, on the other hand, if you want to inform others are share your interests that will also show through and maybe a bit of both will be seen.
At the end of the day, we all write what we want to write. Whether we gain fame or a single follow all support is appreciated when you’re doing something you love. I encourage you to leave a comment and tell me a bit about yourself and what you write or what you like to read about.