As I travel around the intertubes these days, I see more and more articles and blog posts and Google+ conversations about marketing and SEO (search engine optimization, as it turns out) and, while I don't get why so many people spend so much time trying to game the system instead of just doing what they do, I thought I'd give it a go with this post.
I don't really care that much how many hits my blog gets in a day (a week might be a more useful time frame, actually). I know I will never be as popular as Justin Bieber or Jeremy Lin (until a few days ago I’d never heard of Jeremy Lin). I don't write about Apple or iPhones, or about Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. I'm just an as-yet-unpublished author (much like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyer once were) carving out my little space on the internet. Oh, apparently J.K. Rowling is writing a new book. Aren't we all?
I could write about the iPhone, actually. My wife owns an iPhone, and I am responsible for iphone maintenance. We live in China, as you might know, so I am also responsible for jailbreaking the iphone and installing iphone apps on the iphone. I won't write about iphones, though, because I despise that iphone. I've lost track of the number of hours I've spent trying to get that iphone to do what I want it to do rather than what Steve Jobs wants it to do. It's my iphone Mr. Jobs, not yours. I've also lost track of how often I've had to reinstall all of the iphone's apps and media after someone plugged it into a new computer and itunes wiped everything from it. Stupid iphone.
After owning an iphone and an ipod touch for a few years now, I will never buy another Apple product, so no writing about Apple and iphones, and certainly nothing about the ipad, the ipad 2, or the ipad 3. I'm writing this post on my ASUS eeepad (Transformer TF101), which suits my needs more than an ipad 3 ever could. The transformer has a keyboard and USB ports, the ipad 3 does not. The transformer runs flash, the ipad 3 does not. The transformer allows me to work with common document formats and actually create content, the ipad 3 does not. No, I have nothing to say about the ipad 3, so I won't write about them.
I could write about Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Ron Paul, and Newt Gingrich, but writing about politics makes me too angry. I think Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are both insane, Newt Gingrich is a liar, philanderer and a waste of skin, and Ron Paul isn't even a real conservative (I’m halfway convinced he’s not a real human – he certainly looks like some sort of zombie puppet). Also, my politics are generally well left of center and I'm not American, so I find it difficult to care very much about Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and their friends.
I could write about Jeremy Lin. I live in Zhejiang province (in China). Jeremy Lin’s mother’s mother was born here. She moved to Taiwan in the 1940s, married Jeremy Lin’s mother’s father and then gave birth to Jeremy Lin’s Mother. I am not sure when Jeremy Lin’s mother’s parents moved to the United States, but that’s where Jeremy Lin was born and raised. This doesn’t stop everyone in Zhejiang province from claiming that Jeremy Lin is also from Zhejiang province, of course. People are weird.
As to Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Stephanie Meyers; well, I really just included their names to get hits. Of course, if your only goal is to get hits, the best word you can try to work into your writing is “porn”. I did a quick check on a list of search word trends, and porn was far and away the most searched term in the whole world. Porn, porn, porn as far as the eye can see. I guess it’s true what they say about the internet having been invented solely to distribute porn. I don’t know if pr0n is as popular as porn… it looks like it isn’t. Porn is absolutely the king of search. Hooray for porn!
I'm not sure why anyone would bother with this sort of thing, though. Anyone who gets here as the result of searching for the keywords I've included will almost certainly be disappointed by what they find. Unless you are only trying to turn a quick buck through ad revenue (good luck, by the way), tricking people into landing on your page is a useless endeavor, and actually does more harm than good to your brand or image. A much better strategy would be to provide something of value to your target market/audience, and grow that audience organically.
I'd rather 10 people read my blog regularly because they enjoy what I write than have 10,000 people glance at it once and decide that I’m a douchebag; even if none of those 10 people is Jeremy Lin.